If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, there’s a very good chance it keeps you up at night. And if that same entrepreneurial spirit has you contemplating jumping ship on your 9-5 to pursue your passion full time, you’re likely in the midst of one of the biggest internal debates you’ll ever have over your career.
Being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug can sometimes feel like a bit of a burden, but once you commit to the idea of making your own cash on your own terms, you won’t regret it. When I decided to leave my office job to work on my content marketing business full time, I was indeed afraid, but the opportunity to work for myself felt much more thrilling.
As someone whose made the leap and never looked back, here are my 7 tips for kick-starting your life as an entrepreneur.
Register your business. This is one of the biggest leaps you can make as a serious business owner. Turning your side hustle into a real hustle means legitimizing your idea by starting a company and then turning that company into a brand. Whether you choose to register as an LLC, S Corp or alternative legal standing, this paperwork will allow you to do many things like open a bank account and get a business phone. As a bonus, you will also be exposed to monetary advantages that come with having a recognized biz.
Save up at least three months of common expenses. This is not to suggest that you have to have money to start a business. There are many that begin with little to no money and are still successful. However, it would be wise to not have to worry about a mortgage, rent, or other necessary expenses while you grind to make something out of nothing.
Talk about your business to anyone who will listen.It’s easy to be paranoid that someone will steal your idea, but the reality is that if you did #1 on this list, you are pretty protected. Talking about your business — what types of goods and services it entails, the clients you’d like to service, and other relevant details — will only make your elevator pitch stronger, and in return create more opportunities.
Leverage the experience and skills you gain from a 9-5. The energy and effort you give to employers will help you succeed when it comes time to run your own business. Learning how to send a fax, scan, notarize a document, keep track of budgets and pay people on time is a big part of managing a business.
Become really okay with setbacks. I’m pretty much an expert at failing and getting back up, and so are the thousands of other Black female entrepreneurs who are currently leading the economy as the fastest growing demographic of business owners. Disappointment comes with the territory, but use it as ammunition to keep pushing. With each setback, have an even greater comeback.
Make sure people pay you what they owe you. Forgoing a regular direct deposit is a scary thought, so make sure getting paid by your clients is an easy, but more importantly, quick process. Enter into legal contracts/ work documents that stipulate payment terms and never be afraid to ask for the money you earned.
It’s not a crime to ask for Net 15 or 30 upon completion of the project. You may even want to inquire about a down payment for good measure. Furthermore, following up on overdue invoices comes with your new job description. While it may be uncomfortable, it’s never a good feeling to have thousands of dollars of deliverables go unpaid for because a client is dragging its feet.
Remember you are the boss.Soo that micromanager you tried for years to get away from… yea... that person is now you. You’re in charge of giving yourself the directives necessary to get the job done. And be reminded that the success of your business is at stake. While the shift in mindset can prove to be stressful, try to relax and give yourself credit for the small accomplishments like getting paid on time or getting positive feedback from a loyal client. Even the little wins are bound to pay big dividends.
WRITTEN BY: Melissa Henderson