There are lots of advantages to using something you love doing to make money. For one thing, you love it! What could be better than getting paid to do something you love?
But just because you can make money doing something doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes the added pressure that comes with earning an income from an activity sucks the fun out of it. You go from doing it because you want to to doing it because you have to. And a business that isn’t built on passion and enthusiasm isn’t going to last.
So before you start your Etsy shop or blog, here’s what to expect when opening your own business.
Make a decision. Before going forward with your business, you have to make a decision to be a business owner. I know that sounds obvious, but this is an important step people often skip. They “try out” their business or “dabble” and wonder why they’re not successful. If you’re going to have a business, you have to be a business owner, not a dabbler.
Do you research. Before you start find out what need you can fill and what people typically charge for this service. The internet has made this a lot easier because it allows you to look up other sellers or servicers before setting your own price. Ask friends and family for honest opinions about what they would pay for what you offer and start calculating your expenses. Keep in mind that it may take a while for you to earn a reputation to be able to charge what others do.
Know your limits. If you’re a mom of 5 kids under 5 or you work outside the home 50 hours a week you’re not going to be able to dedicate the same amount of time to your business as, say, a retiree. That’s fine, as long as you’re realistic about it. A small business can still be successful, and it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.
Create your product. When you launch you’re going to want to have a product ready to go. If you’re selling a physical product, make a few to have ready for your first few sales. If you’re offering a service, define what you do and price structure and promote it to people who might be able to use it. If you’re a blogger, have a few posts written before you publish.
Market yourself. Don’t wait until you’re in business to start telling people what you’re doing. Create a website, set up social media accounts, get business cards, and start spreading the word to your friends and family. It takes a while for people to discover new businesses, so if you can get a head start, you’ll be better off when you launch.
Launch your business. Congratulations, you’re a business owner! If possible try to mark the occasion with some sort of celebration – wine, a special dinner, etc. You’ve done a lot of work and are taking a big step, celebrate!
Work hard. The best piece of advice I ever received about being a business owner is to do something for my business every single day. I don’t always write. On Sundays I hop on Tailwind to schedule my pins for the week. On Wednesday, I start to share out posts from my weekly link party. Some days I get writing and I can’t stop. But I do something every. single. day.
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Does every business have to follow this same path? Of course not. But as the wise Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And that was one of the biggest reasons I failed at direct sales.
I’d love to hear your experiences as business owners. Share them in the comments.