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Becoming an Entrepreneur

There are easier paths than becoming an entrepreneur.  If this weren’t the case, then everyone would be looking into entrepreneurial careers.  After all, for some people the notion of striking out on one’s own without a guarantee of a steady and reliable paycheck can be extremely daunting.  For those who have a family that depends upon them financially, becoming an entrepreneur can be doubly the case.  However, there are many ways to approach being an entrepreneur. Only you can decide whether or not an entrepreneurial career path is right for you.

Entrepreneurial Careers- Not Your Typical Job

One of the first ideas that you will need to part with is that of the “regular job.”  Becoming an entrepreneur means that you are the boss in every sense.  And while this comes with some upsides, such as making your own hours, it also has some significant downsides. 



If you become an entrepreneur, all the risk is yours.  Most entrepreneurial careers require that you personally put in a large amount of investment.  And don’t let the dollar amount needed to start your business fool you.  The dollar amount will be only one aspect of your investment, as you will also be investing time (and lots and lots of it!)  If you look at becoming an entrepreneur as though it is “just another job,” then you very well might be setting yourself up for a quick and impressive failure. Being an entrepreneur is most definitely not like another other job.

Normally you can turn to various job sites on the Internet when you are looking to find work.  But, of course, this fact does not apply when you are seeking an entrepreneurial career.  While this point may seem very obvious, it serves to underscore how different becoming an entrepreneur is in comparison to simply “finding a job”.  As an entrepreneur, YOU create the job for yourself, pure and simple.

Considering Your Entrepreneurial Career Options

The first place to begin when considering becoming an entrepreneur is to consider your own skills.  What skills have you learned in the past?  If you’ve spent fifteen years building and repairing windows, then the odds are you might have what it takes to strike out on your own and open a window repair company.  Considering your options isn’t just about how much money or time you can give to your entrepreneurial venture.  It is also about properly thinking through what your available options are, which ones you think will work, and which options you think you can do with a smile on your face. 



Also it is very helpful if you are passionate about the work you will be doing. Because you will most likely be spending many long hours working on your entrepreneurial career, being passionate will keep you charged up and dedicated to your work. For example, if you hate widgets and start-up a small company selling widgets, your enthusiasm might wane in the early days of the business. When the going gets tough, you may be more likely to throw in the towel. However, if you are a person who is passionate about widgets and wakes up every morning happy and excited to look at them, you are already one step ahead of the game.

Finding Your Entrepreneurial Career Path

Deciding upon your entrepreneurial career direction is a great deal like deciding upon your career or education path.  There is an endless array of options to choose from when becoming an entrepreneur. But some will be better than others.  Whether or not you are able to go to college, for example, often boils down to money.  Being an entrepreneur can be much the same way, especially depending upon the entrepreneurial career path that you select. 

If you have very little in the way of resources, then you might not want to try and become a real estate mogul that builds sports stadiums.  That does not mean that your day as a real estate mogul will never come, it just means you might have to work within your current resources.  Picking your initial entrepreneurial career path can thus be key to your success.  It is much like laying the foundation of a building.  Choosing a path that does not work for you because you lack the expertise or the money to properly compete, may not end your life as an entrepreneur, but it may send you back to square one.

Working Around Your Lack of Entrepreneurial Knowledge

Let’s consider, just as an example, that you have been involved in window repair for fifteen years and you want to build a start a window repair business.  You certainly know how to build, repair, install and probably even sell windows.  However, you might have less of an idea of how you would promote your services.  No matter how great, fast or cheap your window repair business may be, if no one knows you exist, you are in trouble.  This fact means you must advertise; you must get the word out. 



In the “olden days,” before that new fangled Internet, getting the word out might have meant handing out lots of fliers or advertising in the phone book.  Now those strategies might still work, but in the Internet era, most people do Internet searches for everything.  This means your entrepreneurial endeavor likely needs it’s own Internet presence.  There is a wide array of resources for launching an Entrepreneurial Internet presence. First, you will need to register a domain, and get a website hosting company. A site like Godaddy.com allows you to do both for a nominal fee.  Many small businesses and entrepreneurs also launch a blog along with the website. It is free to use blogging software like Blogger and Wordpress.com.

Regardless of how you wish to promote your new Entrepreneurial career, odds are that you will need help with designing a company logo, a company website, as well as PR and marketing. This is where you can hire freelancers to do your work for you. This way you can stick with your field of expertise, and hire people who are experts in other areas to assist you in the areas in which you are less knowledgeable.  In the days before the Internet, finding good freelancers could be really difficult.  Today, however, sites such as Elance and Guru.com allow freelancers around the world to bid on the work you need done.  Quite literally, experienced people from around the world will have the opportunity to bid on your job.  You might have someone in Ireland or Japan or Russia design your website or handle your marketing.  

You can’t do it all, and using freelancers is a great way to handle the things you might not know how to do or simply don’t have time to learn.  In this way, you have a potentially vast workforce with professional skills to help you in becoming an entrepreneur

Freelancer Sites


Elance 
www.elance.com

Freelancer
www.getafreelancer.com

Guru
www.guru.com

LogoMyWay 
www.logomyway.com

Project4Hire  
www.project4hire.com

RentaCoder 
www.rentacoder.com


Resources for Your Website

Blogger
www.blogger.com

Wordpress
www.wordpress.com

GoDaddy
www.godaddy.com

HostMonster
www.hostmonster.com

Dreamhost
www.dreamhost.com
 

The Entrepreneurial Business Plan

Many people can get lost in a business plan.  Don’t feel that you have to spend years developing a business plan that is too detailed and involved. Otherwise, by the time you have completed your business plan, you may be too exhausted to actually do any business.  Your business plan should serve to help define your mission, goals and the purpose of your business.  It should answer questions such as:

1) What is my business?
2) Do I need to manufacture a product?
3) Where will my product be manufactured and how?
4) What do I need to have to provide my services?
5) What will I charge?
6) Who are my competitors?
7) What type of employees or assistance will I need?

You get the idea.  Your business plan should help you clarify your ideas and serve as a guideline for your next step. There are some resources to help you with your business plan. For example, the US Small Business Association offers some guidelines at http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html .

Business Plan Resources

Small Business Administration
http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html

Entrepreneur Magazine Business Plans
http://www.entrepreneur.com/businessplan/index.html

Business Plans Kit for Dummies
http://www.amazon.com/Business-Plans-Dummies-Personal-Finance/

Try and SCORE Some Free Help

The best stuff, especially for a person strapped for cash, wanting to become an entrepreneur, is free stuff.  And for your purposes good free advice is a valuable commodity that should be sought out.  Getting some high quality advice from someone who has entrepreneurial career or business experience makes great sense.  If you have a relative or friend that has solid business experience, see if you can pick their brain. 

Yet even if you don’t have a friend or relative that you can depend upon, there are organizations such as  SCORE.  SCORE describes itself as the “counselors of America’s small business owners.”  There are 364 chapters of SCORE in the United States, and they will provide you will both online advisors, as well as advisors that you can meet with in person.  In fact, there are 12,000 SCORE volunteers in the United States, and they helped over 500,000 people last year alone.  Their online workshop has everything from starting a business plan to marketing your business and everything in between to help you in your attempt at becoming an entrepreneur.  For anyone who is looking to strike out on their own, SCORE is a valuable resource in many different ways. 

www.score.org

Making It Work

Becoming an entrepreneur may not be for everyone.  However, if you think through your options and evaluate what your skill sets are and what resources you have available, you might be able to find an entrepreneurial venture that works for you.  Don’t be afraid to dream big, but at the same time be realistic about what your first few steps need to be.  With a little patience and research, you can even land valuable free help from highly experienced business people. You can get talented and accomplished freelancers, who in a sense, have become entrepreneurs themselves to work with you on your business.  There are lots of options as in an entrepreneurial career, and part of the trick is finding which options work for you.

 

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