Jason, I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit, and your desire to have the flexibility to live the life you desire. Entrepreneurship can be a very rewarding path. It can create freedom for you, inspire a sense of accomplishment, engage your innate talents and passion, and most importantly, add value to your community of clients.
It can also be a very long and lonely trek to the top. For that reason, I want you to do two things:
Seek out a mentor
Seek out support
One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is to try to go it alone. No one who has accomplished anything great does it alone. We all need support – especially when tackling something new.
Your learning curve will be significantly shortened if you seek out the counsel of those who have gone before you. A mentor will help you jumpstart your journey, ensure you sidestep traps, save you time and energy, and connect you with people you need to know. They can become a great resource for you!
Find someone who has gone there before you. Find someone you respect. Ask them to mentor you. Ask them to share their wisdom with you. Come prepared for these mentoring conversations with questions. They will not be able to help you if you don’t know what you need. And don’t shy away from asking for help. People love to help!
I would also recommend you seek the support of a business coach. There are so many leaders who are more than willing to share their expertise, often for free. Travis Greenlee comes to mind, as does John Assaraf from One Coach. You’ll find these people on Twitter and the internet. In fact, pick up the book “The Answer” by John Assaraf if you want to put yourself in the right mental space for entrepreneurship.
You will also need to surround yourself with like-minded people. These don’t necessarily have to be people in your industry, they just need to be people who can propel you on your path. This can include friends and family, people in your community, fellow entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship requires mental toughness, and you will need these people to lift you up on those days when you are doubting yourself. And Jason, make no mistake about it, those days will come.
Now, on the practical business side, you will also need to:
Make a Plan
Jason, as an entrepreneur you will need to understand the mechanics of business ownership. Things like how to register your business name, whether or not to incorporate, establishing a tax account (ie GST for Ontario), getting a master licence so that you can open a business banking account. Look for SBEC (Small Business Enterprise) in your local community. They are a valuable resource! Sign up for local classes on relevant topics. Also consider taking small business classes in your local community college if that was not included in your school program. There is a lot to learn.
Once you have the basics under your belt, you will need to make a plan. One of my favourite resources is the best seller by Jim Horan “The One Page Business Plan“. It streamlines a tiresome, complicated business planning chore into a easy-to use process. It will help you capture your vision and translate it into concrete results. In fact, order it today! It will help you answer the What, Where, Who, When, Why, How questions of your business.
Clarity is key!
And one last piece of advice, don’t expect your efforts to pay off financially right away. The biggest myth of entrepreneurship is this: “Build it and they will come.” It’s not true Jason. It takes incredible energy and focus and work work work to get this off the ground. Be patient. Early days will be a struggle. The work you do now, may not pay off until months from now. So in the interim you may need to find other employment to pay the bills. Be smart.
My parting words of wisdom – Believe in yourself! Be persistent! Keep the faith!
All the best to you Jason, keep checking in as your journey unfolds. I am here for you….Deb