Starting your own business is something to consider with clarity and understanding about what it will actually mean for your life. Though it may seem glamorous or cool to run a biz, there are some things you should know. First, it’s not a game and it’s not always fun and “cool”. If you want to be successful, that means, actually making money, you will work your ass off. You will fail more times than you can count, and you will get back up stronger and a better businesswoman. When I took private business coaching clients, my goal was to help each one get the best start she could with what she had. I learned a few things along the way, too. Here are some of my pre-launch steps before starting a home-based business.
#1: Get Clear
That business idea of yours may or may not be clear in your head. I recommend that you know exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it, as well as where you want to go. This will take some thought, time, and mentorship from someone who has been around the block a few more times than you. Write your vision and understand your goals clearly before you proceed. After all, it’s easier to steer a large boat straight and change trajectory gradually than to turn it around completely mid-course.
#2: Understand Value/Money
One mistake that I’ve made and seen many other women make is not understanding the money aspects of a business. We must know what our products and services are worth in the market and who our buyers are. It’s easy to undersell yourself when you first start out because of lack of knowledge and experience. And, yes, sometimes, you have to give some stuff away, but that has to end at some point. Believe it or not, people view higher prices as higher value and quality.
#3: Dedicate Space
Once you know what you’ll be doing, dedicate a space for your home office. This is uber important if you want to keep your sanity through this process of building a business. You will need privacy, quiet time, and a safe place to keep data, products, files, etc. This space needs a set of rules that the entire family knows and follows willingly.
#4: Set Your Work Schedule
Just as with dedicating space, it’s imperative to dedicate time to your business. This means setting up a calendar with blocks of time just for working in and on your business. Keep this schedule as if you had a job outside the home. Do not allow yourself to slip into a poor habit of working only when you feel like it. Honestly, if you adopt that mentality, you won’t get far, and you will not succeed. Do, however, be reasonable with yourself and your family. Schedule time you can give without putting too much stress on yourself and everyone else.
#5: Ask for Help
Starting a business isn’t always something we can or even should do alone. There are legal aspects that must be addressed. I recommend consulting an attorney or accountant if things get complicated. Some reasons to hire an attorney or accountant might be setting up a corporation, taxes, partnership, payroll, hiring staff, loans, etc. I also recommend consulting a business coach or specialist in your field for the most recent marketing information and trends.
#6: Seed Your Market
Starting a home-based business is a huge accomplishment for anyone. And, most of your friends and family will be proud of you and want to support your efforts. That said, you will need more than that small group to launch your business effectively. In other words, you will need to get some attention by putting yourself out there.
Without revealing too much, too fast, seed your market by dropping bread crumbs about your upcoming plans via social media and other networking platforms. Talk about how excited you are to launch your new business and share your goods or services with the world. This is really important…I mean REALLY important! If you drop a business bomb on your social media followers, their heads will spin and they won’t be as engaged as you want them to be. But, if you tease them along the way, it’s like inviting them to be a VIP at the swankiest CHOCOLATE party ever!
#6: What about that Day Job?
I am all for entrepreneurship, but make sure you have your finances covered. Quitting your day job too quickly will only put a greater strain on your efforts and could even break you. If you are lucky enough to have a two income family, your new business will have time to grow into a money maker as you lessen your hours at your job. This all can be looked at by an accountant or someone savvy with money. Make a plan and work it. Fortunately, many home-based businesses are inexpensive to operate and can be quite profitable quickly and do so without burdening the family finances. Not to mention, it’s all tax-deductible.
Business ownership is an exciting adventure that can bring joy, income, and fulfillment to your life. However, it can also bring stress, financial strain, and lots of headaches. Let’s hope it’s a balance you can handle like a boss. Keep your head clear and do what is right for you and your family. Get help when you need it, and don’t let it get away from you. Do feel free to ask questions or make comments! Good luck!