8 Things to Do Before You Become Your Own Boss
If you were working or going to college during the 2008 economic downturn, you know how it feels to do everything the “safe” and traditional route, and still come away without a steady career. However, this era has brought about some positives, like allowing people to explore alternative options and become their own boss.
Many people believe that becoming their own boss would be a dream come true. And rightfully so — those who own their own business get to set their own hours, make their own rules, and have total autonomy when it comes to decision making. Luckily, the internet age makes becoming your own boss easier than ever. Businesses can pop up with much less overhead cost, and there are infinite resources to help you get started.
Along with the freedom of becoming your own boss comes responsibility, so if you’re thinking about taking this path, there are some important steps to making sure the decision doesn’t result in disaster. Here are 8 things to do before you become your own boss.
1. Assess your financial situation.
The most important aspect to consider when becoming your own boss is how you will support yourself financially. Most businesses aren’t profitable right off the bat. In fact, the average time before becoming profitable is two to three years. For this reason, you want to make sure you have funds to get you through the first couple years. Start saving money, look for investors, or go in on the business with a co-founder. You can also try the popular route of setting up a Kickstarter or GoFundMe page to get financial resources from friends and family. These platforms can be a great way to test the waters and see how much interest people have in your idea.
2. Start out part-time.
One of the best ways to fund your first years of business is to start out part-time. Becoming your own boss can be risky, but if you continue working for another company and start a side-hustle, you’ll greatly reduce risk and gain some peace of mind. Entrepreneur.com advises highly against the romantic notion of quitting your day job and risking it all to become your own boss. Though the idea sounds exciting, the statistics simply aren’t in your favor. Yes, you’ll have to work hard and put in a lot of hours at first, but then you’ll know the business is really worthwhile.
3. Have a fall-back plan.
Even if you start out working part-time as your own boss, you’ll still want to have a fall-back plan if this business doesn’t work out. In reality, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months. This shouldn’t discourage you, but serve as a reminder; you may have to “try, try again” before you find the right fit. You may need to try several business ideas before finding one that really takes off.
4. Get a business degree.
A great way to become your own boss is by obtaining a business degree. A degree in business will give you a huge advantage in learning the tools of the trade. You’ll learn how to write a business plan, manage finances, learn basic business structures, and more.
5. Find the right business for your personality.
Not every type of business fits every personality. Make sure your area of business is the right fit for you before investing time, money, and energy into making it happen. Great business people find their niche by working under a mentor, creating something in their area of expertise, or by solving a common problem. Think about your strengths, interests, and social connections before you get started.
6. Make a business plan.
A good business starts with a sound business plan. Aside from being a huge help in gaining investors, a business plan will help you think critically about the logistics of your business. What is the business concept? Who is your audience and how will you get their attention? How will you fund your venture? What is the potential for growth? Doing the research well in advance will prevent hiccups down the road.
7. Build a network.
We all are familiar with the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” This may not always ring true, but it sure is helpful to have connections in the business world. Be sure to maintain good relationships with everyone you meet, and it will always pay off in the long run. Once you have a business idea, consider who can help you get it off the ground. If you don’t know anyone personally, ask for introductions for other powerful people in the industry.
8. Understand your target audience (and how to market to them).
Effective marketing can truly make or break your business. Some of the greatest ideas in the world have probably gone unnoticed because the creator just didn’t know how to spread the word. Before you even think about starting a business, consider how you’ll market the product. Social media and internet advertising can get you a long way, but there’s nothing like word-of-mouth marketing to really get a product off the ground. So make sure you’re selling something worth talking about.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming your own boss. The more research and planning you do, the more confident you’ll be as you enter the realm of entrepreneurship. Keep in mind though that some people never feel totally ready to take the plunge, so the best thing you can do is just start moving.
If you’re someone who needs to build a foundation by obtaining a business degree, Stevens-Henager College is a great option. We offer flexible, affordable, and quick routes to obtaining a degree in business. Request more information about our degree programs here.