Driving this trend towards entrepreneurship are the droves of people tired of the 9-to-5 grind and the monotony of working for someone else with no control over their time and decisions.
Starting a business venture is often quite costly, though, and even if you do have the drive to do it, you may not have the finances. However, here in the U.S., there are opportunities everywhere for the budding entrepreneur and ways to overcome any obstacles that stand in your path. Success is attainable—those who have come before have proved it.
It’s the American dream to own your own business and be your own boss. The great news is you don’t have to start from scratch. Many affordable franchises can get you up and running quickly for under $10,000, and include everything you need. Some of them provide training as well, so you don’t have to necessarily know the ropes before diving in and starting your own company.
If you are starting small, the best franchises for you to research are those that you can run out of your home. You can avoid the extra expense of renting space or storage and keep all overhead costs under control. One type of franchise that you can operate out of your home is a travel agency. The initial investment can be as low as $9,800 and ongoing expenses are very light. It’s a low-risk opportunity for you to test the waters and see if entrepreneurship is for you.
Franchises that have no inventory or require specialized equipment are ideal for the business person just starting out, with limited funds. Other low-cost franchises to consider are tax preparation, accounting, fitness, health, education, financial services, professional services, and even child-care type businesses. Do some research and find franchise opportunities that fit your skills and your lifestyle.
If you decide to open a traditional business, you will want to take some time to determine all the expenses. Often there are hidden costs that you don’t realize until later. When budgeting for your new business, you should interview competitors and ask a lot of questions so you can get a complete picture of the financial responsibility you will be taking on.
During the planning phase, be sure to consider medical costs and insurance. In some cases, it makes sense to add additional coverage such as short-term and long-term disability or even key man insurance to your policy. Then, if you are injured in a car accident or become ill, your business won’t suffer financial destruction during your recuperation.
Don’t forget about the digital aspects of your business either. Having a website as well as a blog are crucial if you want customers to find you and discover the services you provide. If you want a professional looking site and a continuous stream of attention-grabbing content, you’ll have to invest in options that may not be as economical as others.
Always plan for the worst-case scenario and expect to be in business for at least 1-3 years before making a profit. As long as you budget for any contingency, you will have a much better chance of success, and if things go wrong, you won’t be left without any options.
If you still have doubts, consider Warren Buffett, the third richest man in the world who is worth over $75.6 billion. He started trading stocks at age 11 and made his fortune slowly through investments. He built on those meager beginnings and formed strategic partnerships and now owns 60 different companies.
Everyone knows the story of Jeff Bezos, who is the wealthiest man in the world, worth $100 billion. Bezos, the founder of the online retail giant Amazon, started modestly with just a website selling books. His dream child has now grown into one of the largest e-commerce destinations in the world. His example could inspire even the most skeptical entrepreneur.
Larry Ellison started the software company Oracle back in 1977, long before technology was what it is today. Ellison rode the technology wave and with it became a billionaire worth $62.1 billion. Ellison’s secret is that he continued to evolve the company as technology changed. He acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010 and fully embraced hardware and cloud technologies to take his initial ideas even further.
Carlos Slim Helu is another excellent example of a successful entrepreneur. Worth $70.7 billion, his success came from diversifying his operations into many different areas like retail, media, energy, real estate, education, technology, and financial services. When you take the risk of going into business for yourself, diversifying is always a good bet as illustrated by the success of Carlos Slim Helu.
Successful people don’t just magically become that way. They work hard and create healthy habits to promote continued wealth and success. A professor at Harvard Medical School believes that many entrepreneurs have some level of ADHD. Their minds work quickly, and thoughts come fast, and to counterbalance all this energy, these people structure in daily workouts.
Many entrepreneurs stick to rigid eating (five or six small meals throughout the day) and sleep schedules to regulate their physical condition and stay alert and healthy. People in business for themselves cannot afford to be sick all the time. Strict habits help to keep you on track and maintain areas of your life that can result in significant problems if left unattended.
It also helps if you find a mentor or coach to guide you along your business journey. If you are just starting out, consider apprenticing to learn all the ins and outs of the business before you go out on your own.
Becoming an entrepreneur is exciting but also scary. You can prepare ahead of time, test the waters and go at your own pace. No one has to follow any specific rule or timeline. You can trailblaze your path to success however you want, just like the giants of industry have for decades.
By Devin Morrissey
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zig zag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.