So you want to be an Entrepreneur?
Being your own boss. Having flexibility and more money. Sound like a dream? These are just a few reasons to pursue being an entrepreneur.
It’s not all sunshine and roses though. More than 50% of startups fail within the first five years. Why? Because it’s hard work and requires sacrifice. Just like all things worth your time, it requires hard work and being an entrepreneur is no different. But the good news is if you're enjoying your work, it's easier to put in the effort to be successful.
Enough of the negative. If you're going to be an entrepreneur, it’s all about having optimism. If you believe it, you can accomplish it! Are you good a problem solving? Want to build something larger than yourself and providing purpose for others? Then becoming an entrepreneur may be a good fit. Let's look at 5 tips for being an entrepreneur.
1) What company should I start?
Find a problem and try to fix it! Think about a problem that annoys you and fix it. Can’t think of anything? Ask your friends and family what problems annoy them. Chances are they're not alone and there may be a gap in the market for that solution. For example, after having trouble getting a cab for a reasonable price, Travis Kalanick developed the concept for Uber.
2) What makes you different in your industry?
What’s your differential? What makes you different than others around you? This may be a skill you have like photoshop or experience in marketing? Maybe you come from a different background than those in your industry. For me, it was my graphic skills I learned in college while studying Landscape Architect. When I first started in real estate being able to provide birds-eye graphics with a simple overlay was my differential. I realized not everybody in my industry had these graphic skills and I capitalized on it. I showed future customers my graphic skills that enhanced their property appeal and I got more listings because of it.
Networking is one of the most critical parts of growing a business. This may seem like and easy task but developing relationships to create future customers takes time. You will spend a lot of time as an entrepreneur pitching you and your ideas as a company. Mark Cuban once said in an interview “Sales cure’s all”. He’s right! Do you see many companies out there crushing their sales goals then closing their business? No, because with high sales, it’s easier to fix the other problems. Without sales and establishing an appropriate profit margin is why a lot of businesses fail before they even get off the ground. Things like culture, building size and not enough employees can all be done if there’s capital to work with.
4) Lean = More Green
Keep your expenses low when you're starting a company. One of the best ways to increase your profit margins is to reduce overhead. Don’t need a brick and mortar building? Good you just saved 1,000 a month in rent! Working from home can allow you more flexibility and with the amount of co-working spaces available in today’s world there are plenty of monthly based options.
Keep staffing low! If you don’t need a large staff, then don’t over hire. Contract out as much as possible and keep an eye on the overall profit margin not your operating budget. With websites out there like upwork, let freelancers help you without having to hire more employees.
5) Do you have what it takes?
Ready for long hours? It's said that entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week for somebody else. Being a business owner requires a huge time commitment. Entrepreneurs are constantly either thinking about their business or talking about their business. Doesn’t sound very glamorous but there are some positives.
With all that said, once you get hooked on starting your first company you'll never go back to your day job again. The knowledge learned when trying to start or expand a company is priceless. Sometimes this knowledge is learned through making mistakes but those lessons are not often forgotten. If you think of yourself as a Jack of all trades, being an entrepreneur could be a good fit!
Create a list of interests and turn that idea into a desire to build a better future for yourself.