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So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur? (These Are Your First Steps)

From afar, an entrepreneur’s job seems like the dream. Those who start their own businesses don’t need to wake up early for the nine-to-five grind,  answer to a demanding boss, or take on unwanted tasks. Instead, they have the chance to follow their own schedule, set their own assignments, and bask in their own success. Entrepreneurship is the dream – so why aren’t more people breaking free of the corporate mold and starting off on their own paths?

Firstly, because starting a business is much, much harder than it appears from the outside. According to statistics from Business Insider, over 543,000 businesses are launched each month in the United States by hopeful entrepreneurs. However, findings from the Small Business Administration reveal that only half of those small businesses will survive beyond their initial five years.

There’s no getting around the numbers: launching a startup is risky business. Moreover, committing to the task means agreeing to hard work, long hours, and absolutely no guarantees. However, if you have a passion that keeps you up at night – one that drives you, and makes you want to risk everything in its pursuit – entrepreneurship might be the path for you. Here are the first steps you should take when embarking on the entrepreneurial journey.

 

Lay out your ideas.

You can’t quit your job and decide to start a business just because you want to work your own hours. You need a passion, and a rock-solid business idea. Take the time to sit down and write out your thoughts on what the foundation for your business will be. If all goes well, you’ll be spending years of your life on this venture – you want your root idea to be strong!

 

Do your research

Small businesses fill a need in your community. Do your research – does your idea suit gaps in the local market? Will there be a consumer base for your service or product? Find out quickly – the last thing you want to do is watch the business you’ve poured time, effort, and money into flop because the community has no need for it.

If you have no experience with starting a business, you should additionally consider researching the process to find out what you need to do from an organizational and legal standpoint. Visit the small business associations comprehensive resource page for helpful guides on a wide swath of relevant topics.

 

Build a support system.

Let your friends and family in on your plans. Even in the best scenario, you’ll be spending a considerable amount of time and energy on your entrepreneurial efforts, and need the understanding support of those closest to you. Give them an honest outline of what you expect to be doing, and explain that you may have less available time as you commit to launching your business. When you inevitably face business setbacks, you will need a sympathetic support system to help you bounce back and tackle the problem.

 

Commit to the process.

Building a business takes time. You’ll work long nights, face difficult tasks, and wonder when you’ll see returns on the time you’ve invested. On the hardest days, you might even worry that you should have kept to the security of your previous job.

But after successfully starting several of my own businesses, I can honestly say that passion wins out over entrepreneurial difficulties every time. I love developing and maintaining my own businesses – and it isn’t simply because I work my own hours, and set my own tasks. Rather, it’s because I know that I’m following my passion, and putting in the work to make my dreams come true.

 

Despite the risks, I wouldn’t trade being an entrepreneur for all the job security in the world – and if you have spirit enough to build your own business, neither should you.

 

*This post was originally published on philipwardwashington.com

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