Like so many people, I really never intended to go into business for myself. I went through high school, and my college days thinking I would always work for someone else. I was trained to think success was finding a good company to work for and progressing up the ranks.
Then I met my husband, and my world shifted. He was committed to the US Navy and we would spend the first five years of marriage in a couple of places while he trained and the Navy told us where to live and, when he would be home. Pretty cool stuff, but being assigned to coastal communities didn’t match up well with my degree in Agricultural Economics and my quest to rise up the ranks anywhere. Life happened and we adjusted, started our family and I became the “stay-at-home” mom that I really never envisioned being.
After we decided to leave the Navy, I had a variety of careers but felt as though they either didn’t fit with my family life or didn’t match up with what I wanted to do professionally. I began working on websites while at one of my positions twelve years ago. I really never envisioned it could be a full-time gig. As time went on, I continued helping small businesses with a variety of their marketing needs.
Small businesses need marketing help and they do not typically have the time or resources to employ someone full-time. I began to have people ask for help continually for about four years before I finally decided that it was time to make the leap. I very much had a part-time gig before I decided I could do this full-time.
Four years later, I would not change a thing. I love being able to help others build their business. I really love being able to pick the talent that I work with, my team is awesome! And I love the flexibility that this type of work gives me with my family.
Here are some of the things to consider before you make the leap:
Are you passionate about what you do? Are you ready to eat, sleep and breathe your business? There are not breaks, you represent your business when you go to Wal-Mart and at family reunions. Do you crave learning more about it? Does it wake you in the middle of the night with new ideas? If so, you might be edging closer to the leap.
Have you started, if even on a small scale? I highly advocate that at the very least you walk through your business, operate part-time or at least run the business plan by several friends that are in business for themselves. Gather feedback and figure out if it is sustainable.
What kind of financial commitment do you need to make to get started? Can you start buying into your business before you walk away from your day job? Realistically your income will be inconsistent at best, and potentially nonexistent at first, how will you survive that?
Who are your competitors? If you think that you don’t really have competitors, you are not looking hard enough. Look at what they have to offer and evaluate why they offer it that way, how is their pricing different, what is their longevity? Looking hard at your competitors can help you position your business to be successful. There is a ton you can learn by looking at what they are doing.
What will your marketing look like? How will you let the world know that you are open for business and that you have a product or service that they need? Break down your target market and think about your typical customer, develop a plan that makes your marketing work for you. And make it something you can accomplish! How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time!
If you can answer 1 through 5 then you are well on your way to getting your business off the ground! You can easily take what you have discovered and start putting together your business plan.
There will be ups and downs. There will be months you don’t hit your mark or goal. Other times I have been totally knocked down by former clients who I couldn’t make happy or competitors who bad-mouthed me. But I believe in what I do, I believe that I can help others, and I believe that this is an amazing adventure! Find a tribe of believers to help support you, talk you through the low points, and then cherish the challenge!