I remember sitting at my desk a few years back in a dead-end job that didn’t challenge or fulfill me in the least. I spent those days dreaming about doing work that I loved and that would make a difference. I also wanted to be able to ditch my long commute, calmly see my kids off to school in the morning and have flexibility to work on projects that excited me. Dream on, I thought for a long time.
But then I began learning everything I could about starting my own business. Because of new technologies in communications and marketing, there has never been a better time to start your own business on your terms. However, there are still many possible pitfalls to look out for. Here are a few suggestions for how to avoid them.
1. Start small
If you need income to survive, you can’t give up your day job without knowing your business is viable. One way to test the waters is to start dabbling in your dream job on the side.
For instance, if your goal is to open a bakery, don’t quit your marketing position and go all-in on a storefront. Maybe start by letting coworkers know that you’re available to create confections for birthdays and weddings or talk to a local caterer that may want to outsource baked goods.
2. Be flexible
You may make the best cupcakes ever, but if everyone is clamoring for cake pops, you’ve got to give the people what they in order to stay in business. In my case, I am enthusiastic about educating people about how to make the best food choices for optimal mind and body wellness, and I had tested the market and found there was interest.
However, the number of people willing to spend time and money on a guided cleanse were far outnumbered by the ones who were interested in simply buying healthy treats. I made the decision to focus on building my business and revenue through selling healthy desserts first, to allow me to then work on writing and speaking to reach more people.
3. Surround yourself with the right people
You are giving your all, day in and day out, because this business is your passion. But not everyone is going to be as excited about what you’re doing.
When choosing whom to work with, it is incredibly important to seek out people that are going to help drive your goals forward, and not drag you and everyone else on your team down. You must find people who share your vision.
4. Continue learning
No matter how knowledgeable you are about your niche, there is always something new to learn. You might be the best graphic designer ever, but the nuts and bolts of getting the word out on new social media platforms or figuring out the logistics of getting your product to market might surprise you.
To stay on top of your game, you have to be open to constantly learning new things. Whether that means a weekly mastermind group, finding a mentor in your field or online education, increasing your knowledge base is important to growing your business from passion to profit.
5. Find balance
One pitfall many eager entrepreneurs don’t anticipate is the loss of the passion that made them want to start their business in the first place! No matter how much you love what you do, if you want to keep loving it, you can’t work 24 hours a day. Make sure to take breaks to enjoy other activities, spend time with family and friends and take the time to take care of yourself
through regular healthy meals and getting enough rest and exercise. Because if you’re not operating at your peak, neither will your business.
6. Don’t give up
You will find some daunting hurdles on your road to success—some so big that you may be tempted to quit. But if you love what you’re doing, it will always pay off. Remember, Colonel Sanders got turned down 1009 times before he found someone interested in his chicken recipe; Walt Disney had to hear “no” 302 times before getting the funds to create Disneyland, and Gone With the Wind was rejected by 38 publishers.
So follow your dream, and bring along patience, persistence and perseverance for the ride to success!
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