By Kyle G. Kirschbaum.
First, unless you’re independently wealthy or a trust fund baby with full access to money, don’t quit your day job…at least not yet. Learning how to become an entrepreneur and getting everything up and running in a new business takes time and you probably won’t start making money for a while. So, limit the financial stress and continue getting your regular paycheck while you spend your off-work hours doing what it takes to set up your business right. Yes, that means you’ll be working a lot of extra hours, but hard work is an unavoidable element of turning dreams into reality.
1. Determine Your Area of Interest
Do you know what you want your business to be? Before you can learn how to become an entrepreneur, you need to identify your area of entrepreneurship. Once you determine what type of business you want to pursue, start studying the competition. Who offers a similar product or service? What do they charge for it? When you know those answers, you’ll know what you need to accomplish before you can even start to think about quitting your day job. That’s important. Those two answers will also let you know if you need to go back and decide on a different or additional product/service to develop and offer your clients to become profitable.
2. Identify Your Market Demographic
Figure out what your ideal customer looks like. This means you need to know who your target market will be. After you decide, which isn’t just about who you think has the cash to buy what you offer, but who is interested, who can afford it, and if it makes a difference to them. Once you have determined your ideal customer, then find some people who fit that bill and start asking those questions. You might offer to buy them lunch while you pick their brain for 30-60 minutes. During that time, find out what they want in an item similar to what you’ll offer. What are the problems with current items on the market and what they really love about what’s already available? While you are there, ask if they will test your product (free sample) when it is ready. Will they honestly share their thoughts and any problems they feel should be solved? They might also be willing to give you a review to post on a website or social media page when you are ready to start actively marketing.
3. Form a Business Plan
Whether you are a seasoned, successful entrepreneur, or still learning how to become an entrepreneur for your first time, planning is essential in creating a profitable business venture. So investigate how successful people plan their day, and learn how to properly plan out your business – your marketing plan and your business plan. Your marketing plan includes advertising, any ideas you have that would generate positive PR, and third party (not paid for) publicity for your product or company. This might be supporting a charitable cause by manning booths at a larger event, or supporting a youth team by paying for their uniforms, equipment, and the team party at the end of the season. You’ll need to decide which social media platforms to develop and how often you will post, as well as what you will post. When it comes to your business plan, it doesn’t need to be particularly formal. But, you need to include information about your operating structure and present/future product development. Also, include how you plan to deliver your products and any plans for future expansion that you envision.
4. Carefully Evaluate the Risks and Benefits
When learning how to become an entrepreneur, you will encounter obstacles that require leaps of faith in order to continue on the path to entrepreneurial success. It is important to balance your healthy fear with healthy risk taking. In a perfect world, you would be fearless and every risk you took would yield amazing results …in the real world, not so much. Becoming an entrepreneur is risky and most of the time you won’t have much of a safety net. But, even with the risk, is it worth it to you? The answer to that question is very much dependent on your circumstances and what is most important to you. If you need safety and security, then transitioning to a situation with the stress and uncertainty of bringing in clients, and waiting for them to pay your invoices for work you’ve completed, then you’ll need to build some financial stability before you leave your day job. You’ll probably be financially uncomfortable for some time after you launch your startup, at the very least, so the more savings you have, the better. However, when you consider the job security issue, remember no matter what job you do, there is no job security better than when you are the boss. Remember, if you have a risk-taking gambling personality, you will be in charge if something goes wrong. If taking risks is easy for you, you need to establish a plan for the worst situation as well.
5. Study Resources on How to Become an Entrepreneur.
Study and learn. Do as much research as you can on how to become an entrepreneur and what successful entrepreneurs and corporate heads do to build and add to their success. Find out about tax laws or services that will help you with payroll requirements and taxes. Study up on current marketing and social media trends. Read blogs and magazine where you can find information to build your knowledge base. One thing that is truly amazing about this time in history – you can find instructions and help for virtually any topic you can dream up…all at your fingertips. And, you can do it almost anywhere since smartphones give you access.
More Resources from Kyle G. Kirschbaum: Best Youtube Channels for Entrepreneurs
6. When First Learning How to Become an Entrepreneur, Take it Slow.
Start out small – test mode. If your business idea can be done on a mini scale, do that. When you start really small, it gives you the opportunity to test your ideas and marketing strategy and determine what works best at a minimal cost. You won’t have to deal with the major stress of a large time and financial commitment up front either. And, when it comes time that you scale up your business, you’ll have a working model. This allows you to show investors or financiers how you have tested everything and how earning projections have been determined.
7. Establish Your Team.
After you have worked out the kinks, decide who you will need on your team. You’ve figured out what will work and what needs tweaking. You’ve even tested the tweaks and fine-tuned it all. Now it’s time to take a serious look at what you bring to the table and where you will need help. Get used to this part of the process. You’ll be doing it every time you decide to increase your staff in the future. So learn the best hiring practices. Sure money is likely to be tight as you start out, but some services can be contracted out at very little cost, and it will be worth the assurance that certain matters are handled properly. When you start out, check with friends and family. If you have a CPA or attorney in your immediate family, they’ll probably be willing to help for little or no cost to you because they want to see you succeed. But, always be looking at what you don’t do well, or hate doing, and figure a way to get someone on your team who likes doing that task to take charge.
8. Be in the Clear
You’re almost there …before you quit your full-time job, read the fine print on your employment agreement. This is a particularly big deal if the new business you will be moving forward with could be considered as competition for your current employer. Check for any non-compete clauses. Also, only talk with those who are the customers of your current employer about your new business if you are certain your boss will be okay with that. Customer lists are built with a certain expectation of confidentiality. You don’t want to start your business with a dark shadow of dishonesty or unprofessional behavior.
9. Quit Your Day Job
Take a deep breath and quit that day job. You’ve studied it all out, tested what works, maybe even gotten financial backers, so don’t be shy. Go ahead and turn in your notice. BUT, when you do it, be courteous and professional. Even if your boss was the biggest pain anyone could imagine. Resist the temptation of saying anything negative about or to your previous employer. You never know when you will cross paths with people again. And, sometimes, if you’ve kept things on a friendly basis, you may even find that they want to contract your services even if it has nothing to do with their products or services. Always leave the door slightly open for future possibilities.
So, once you have learned how to become an entrepreneur, you will realize that transitioning from employee to entrepreneur is a matter of having a good idea and then following some basic steps. After that, it’s all about the work you put into your business. Good connections and lucky breaks can be helpful too, but you’ll be surprised how many more of those come along when you are working hard toward your dreams. Talk with potential customers, set up your plans, and take some risks. Try your ideas on a small scale and then when your income from your business is sufficient, turn in your notice and start working your dream full time.
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