Stress-Free Guide to Becoming an Entrepreneur
According to statistics, there are more than 528 million entrepreneurs in the world. If you are planning to become one of them, it is understandable if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process. This guide will help take the stress out of becoming an entrepreneur.
Use Your Network
There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. Every entrepreneur got some help from someone along the way. Make things easier on yourself by taking advantage of your network from the start. Friends, family, coworkers, former classmates, teachers and mentors are all good sources of support, financing, ideas and other assistance. Keep building your network by joining professional organizations, attending industry events, and signing up with your local chamber of commerce. For example, you can attend a GET Phoenix event and network and share ideas with like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs.
Choose the Right Business Structure
You can operate your new business as a sole proprietorship; however, even if you have no partners, this may not be the optimal choice. Structuring your business as a limited liability company provides you with tax advantages, can save you paperwork and is more flexible than some other business types. Additionally, it protects your personal assets from any liabilities your business may incur. This could be very important if your business were to struggle financially or become liable for a large settlement.
Identify a Profitable Business Idea
Take the time to research your business idea to ensure there is profit potential. Too many people fall in love with an idea and start a business that never had much chance of success because there was no market for what they were trying to sell. Save yourself this potential stress by thoroughly researching your idea and doing a profitability analysis. If it doesn't seem likely you can make money, choose a different idea.
Set Up Your Work Space
The idea of running your business out of your garage or from the kitchen table may be a romantic one, but it isn't always the most practical. You will be more productive if you set up a separate work area that is free from distractions, comfortable and has everything you need to efficiently operate your business. This could be a space in your home, or you may want to rent a space or investigate shared workspace options.
Set Up an Invoicing System
Customers who pay late or don't pay at all can create a lot of financial stress for a new business. Making sure you can get paid is another important early step. The easier you make it for your customers to pay you, the less time and effort you will spend chasing late payments.
Sending every customer an immediate invoice increases your chances of getting paid on time. Use an invoice generator to easily create professional invoices. Choose a pre-made template and then customize it with text, your logo, photos and whatever else you want to include. Make sure the invoice generator you choose allows you to download your completed invoices in your preferred format.
Send an initial invoice when you first make a sale and then send a reminder when the due date approaches. Consider including an incentive, such as a small discount, for customers to pay early.
Becoming an entrepreneur is a big step that can be anxiety-inducing. However, following the process in this guide can help you progress toward your business goals without stressing out. Choose a profitable business idea and structure, network with other entrepreneurs, set up your workspace, and develop a process for invoicing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mindy Bartley is a former community college business instructor. Today, she is a consultant who also dabbles in e-commerce startups. She created Startup Steps to bring her business knowledge to a wider audience, build a community of entrepreneurial-minded souls, and help connect first-time entrepreneurs with experienced mentors.