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The thought of starting your own business — especially if you’re already balancing other commitments — can be overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you find the time?
I’m something of a serial entrepreneur. I’m not afraid to fail or decide something’s not working for me, and I’ve done everything from selling Pampered Chef and running my own home daycare to subcontracting transcription work and more. I’ve always chosen low-investment opportunities, so I’m afraid I don’t have any advice on finding investors, filing patents or such, but these tips will help you move toward your goal of starting a new business in 2010 no matter what that business is!
1. Follow your passion.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to make money. Money makes the world go round, and there are a lot of great things you can do when you have money. That said, you are much more likely to be successful if you follow your passion than if you spend time chasing money. Starting a new business takes a lot of hard work and endurance to make things happen. If you’re in it just for the money, you’re much more likely to give up too soon. On the other hand, your passion will help you brainstorm and dream, which is where most great businesses are born from.
If you haven’t yet discovered your passion, make a list of things you love and add to it every time you feel that rush of excitement. For some it may be sewing, painting or jewelry-making. For others, like Tanna, it may be organizing. For still others, it may be running a business behind the scenes and helping others to be succesful. There are millions of possible business opportunities. Start with your list of things you love and see what businesses you could pursue that encompass your passions, talents and skills.
2. Expect setbacks.
Few people achieve success without a few failures along the way. You will make mistakes, have months with no sales, waste time on an idea that never takes off and spend time wishing you’d done things differently, but each of these experiences is an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. After a setback, pick yourself back up and get back to work pursuing your goal.
3. Look for inspiration.
Successful entrepreneurs are always looking for new ideas and brainstorming ways to take their businesses to the next level. Read books, biographies and blogs by people who have achieved their goals and built successful businesses. Join a support group or forum of like-minded entrepreneurs. Keep a list of the things you accomplish to remind yourself of the successes. Write down quotes that inspire you to pursue your dream.
4. Find a mentor.
Running a business is hard work, but there are many people who have gone before you to build successful businesses. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and ask them to mentor you along the way. They might say no, but they might say yes, and you don’t have anything to lose by asking. Once you find a mentor, be willing to really listen to what they have to say, constructive criticism and all.
5. Prepare to stick it out or shut it down.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I’ve started more than a few different businesses, which also means that I’ve walked away from quite a few as well. I don’t regret a single one because of the things I’ve learned while pursuing each of them, which I think has ultimately prepared me for the things I’m doing now.
The truth is that any successful business involves a lot of hard work and effort and there comes a time when the balance tips and you begin to reap the rewards of all that you’ve invested in it. Giving up too soon means you miss the opportunity to see your dream come to fruition. But continuing to invest in a business that will likely never succeed isn’t something you want to waste your time doing either.
How do you decide? This is another area where having a mentor or support group will benefit you. It’s important to take a critical look at what’s working and what’s not to decide what your next steps should be, and sometimes it takes an outside perspective to do that.
Be prepared to stick with a business for a long time before reaping the benefits, but don’t be afraid to shut it down and pursue something new when it becomes obvious that it’s not working!
Have you thought about starting your own business? What’s holding you back?
The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Make 2010 the year you get organized and achieve your goals with the Life & Goal Organizer, the ideal system for organizing your goals, plans and life!