Do you remember your first job? Mine was as a retail salesperson at Lerner New York (now known as New York and Company). I helped customers pick their outfits and rang them up at the cash register (I loved that part). It was a great experience and taught me to work hard and that customers always come first, but I knew I wouldn’t work at Lerner’s forever because my dream was always to open my very own business.
In 2008, I started DM Accounting, which you now know as Brigade Bookkeeping. Ten years later and my business is successful now. But getting to this point in my business career hasn’t been easy and took a lot of hard work.
If you’re considering starting a lifestyle business, there are some things you should consider:
- IS THERE A NEED? – There are hundreds, if not thousands, of duplicate businesses in the world. The question is, can you do it better and is there a greater need for what you plan to do? Do some research and find out. Then try to offer a product or service that is better than your competition.
- SET UP A COMPANY – Having the desire to open your own business and actually doing it are two different things. If you’ve researched and know there’s a need for your product or service, then set up an LLC or Limited Liability Company. This requires filling out paperwork and paying a fee, but it also marks the start of making your dream of owning your own business a reality. This is also necessary to separate your business and personal finances and taxes.
- KEEP YOUR JOB – Unless you’re a millionaire or have a rich uncle who is funding your new venture, you will have to have money coming in, so don’t quit your job just yet. Instead, set up timelines or goals for yourself, like working on your business 2 or 3 hours after work. Think about going part-time or quitting only after your new business has broken even or made a profit. Remember, that could take years.
- BUSINESS PARTNER OR TOTAL EQUITY? – If you and a friend have been considering opening a business together, don’t make it 50/50 unless you both bring the exact same assets to the table. If not, make a list and split the business according to what each of you is going to contribute, monetarily, intellectually, and in sweat equity as well. Having a bigger stake in your company gives you the freedom to do what you want with it. Also, make sure to include a shareholders agreement that lists terms and how much it will cost if your partners or shareholders want out.
- GO FOR IT! – Once you have your research, your product, and company structure in place, go for it. This means every spare minute you must network, network, network and sell, sell, sell. Statistics show that most small businesses fail within the first five years. It will take a lot of work to get your business off the ground, but in the end, it’s worth it.
In August 2013, actor Ashton Kutcher delivered a speech at the Teen Choice Awards about opportunity and how it looks like hard work. He described how every job he ever took was a stepping stone to the next one. Keep this in mind when opening your own business. I’m glad I did! Push forward, work hard and you will succeed!