Whether you call it a side-gig, a side-hustle or a passion project, there’s no denying the fact that in the small-business world, it’s easier than ever before to chase your dream and start your own thing.
Right now, 44 million Americans have side businesses and 53 million Americans work as freelancers or independent workers.(1,2) In fact, Forbes.com predicts that by 2020, 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancing in some way.(3) I’d be willing to bet that you’re reading this article because you might be wondering if you could or should be one of them! Read on, because I’m going to help you figure that out.
There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start a Business
Thirty years ago, business was vastly different. And—in my opinion—what defined an entrepreneur was also different. An entrepreneur was seen as a certain type of person. Starting and running a business wasn’t for everyone. But now things have changed.
The barrier to entry into the marketplace is lower than ever before. You don’t have to have an MBA, a bunch of investors or a brick-and-mortar store. You don’t have to do months of planning, hire a bunch of people, or start with a big grand-opening. You could start your business tomorrow with nothing more than your idea and a Facebook page.
And you don’t have to be a certain “type” of person to start a business anymore. In fact, I see more “accidental entrepreneurs” than I do people that set out with the goal and intention to start a business! Here’s an example of a scenario I see all the time:
A woman sews a quilt for her sister’s new baby and shares the picture on Facebook. She gets likes, comments, and even requests from friends to make them one. After more and more requests, she has a light-bulb moment and thinks, Hey! I could make money doing this! She sets some prices and posts a few more pictures. She’s helping people and making money, and—boom!—she’s in business. It happens that easy, and it happens every day.
Or how about the mom and daughter that wrote a little children’s book just for the purpose of bonding over a fun project together? They wanted to carry on their family tradition through this novelty book, and now they’re sharing it with the whole world! Years ago, that’s just how Elf on the Shelf was born.
So if you’re wondering, “Can I start a business?” let me just tell you: Regardless of how big you want to grow this dream, there’s never been a better time to go for it.
Should I Start a Small Business?
Because it’s become so easy to start something, there are a lot of people getting into business that may or may not be a good fit for running a business. Let’s talk about who should start a business and who shouldn’t. That way, you’ll have a better idea if starting a business is right for you.
You might be great at running a business if:
1. You want to help people.
If you don’t really like people or helping them, then starting a business is probably not right for you. If you do want to help people in some way—if you want to improve their lives, meet their needs, solve their problems, or listen to their complaints (because, let’s be honest, there will be some!)—then starting a business might be right for you. And if you already have in mind how you want to help people, that’s even better!
2. You want to make money.
There’s a difference between a hobby and a business: A business makes you money while a hobby costs you money. So many people pursue their hobby as a business and then end up broke because they didn’t really, truly want to make money. If you don’t want to make money, then you don’t want a business. You want a hobby. That’s okay, but you need to decide.
But you may not know if your idea or business can make money. In the video below, I’ll help you figure that out!
Now, if you do want to make money but you have some weird, squirmy feelings about money, that’s okay. That’s actually really normal. I coach women every day to help them face their fears around pricing their product, charging customers, and paying themselves. Just because you have a love-hate relationship with money doesn’t mean you can’t make it! It just means you need a little help.
I wrote two chapters in my book, Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves, dedicated to money. I teach you how to make it, how to keep it, and how to not feel bad about it in the process. So if you need a little help with making money, that’s okay. Most people do. But if you don’t want to make money, well then, you don’t really want a business.
3. You want to work hard.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: Business is hard work. It just is.But if you want it bad enough and are willing to work hard enough, you’ll make it work. You don’t need a business degree, all the answers, all the money, or all the bells and whistles to build a successful business—but you do need a whole lot of grit.
The most successful business leaders aren’t people who had a smooth path to the top. They were just willing to get knocked down over and over and still get back up, dust themselves off, and keep going. You’ve got to be willing to fight and persist and persevere and get right back after it—before you’re even ready to. And that brings me to the fourth quality you need to have if you want to start a business.
4. You want to start a business even before you’re ready.
So many people have the dream in their heart to start something, but they stay stuck because they are scared. They aren’t “ready.”
What if I fail? What if someone else is already doing it? What if no one likes it, or worse . . . what if no one likes me?
These are all real fears entrepreneurs experience every day at every stage. But you know what? The successful ones do it anyway.If you’re waiting until you’re ready to try it, you’ll never try it. Ready is a myth. Seth Godin says, “[If you] require success before commitment, you will never have either.” See, you’ve got to commit before you’re ready! Successful people aren’t committed because they are successful. They are successful because they committed.
Successful people aren’t committed because they are successful. They are successful because they committed.
Don’t wait until you’re not scared to do the thing you want to do. Do it scared. Ready is a myth—so go for it, ready or not!
I Want to Start a Business, but I Don’t Know What to Do
If you’re still reading, then I bet you do want it. I bet you want to help people, make money and work hard. I bet you’re even willing to do it before you feel ready. But what’s next?
Whether you’ve got lots of ideas circling in your head and you don’t know which one to choose, or if you’re simply having trouble thinking of ideas, Business Idea Bootcamp will guide you through my four-step process of choosing your best business idea.
In Business Idea Bootcamp, you will:
- Begin the course. Once you join, you’ll have immediate access to the course and can complete the lessons at your own pace.
- Explore your ideas. In the four video lessons, I will guide you step by step as you explore and test your ideas to find your best business idea.
- Kick-start your plan. Once you know your best idea, you’ll be ready to turn your dream into a reality. And I’ll show you how!
Here’s what one of our customers had to say after completing the course:
“I have loved Business Idea Bootcamp! It helped me take all the ideas floating around in my head and really figure out which ones I liked, would be good at and would make for a decent business. When I started the course, I wasn’t sure if I would end up with a solid business idea that I could implement anytime soon. When I completed the course, I was amazed at how well it worked for getting a realistic idea for starting a business! I know I could have never come to the same conclusions on my own. This was for sure that this is one of the best investments I have ever made and look forward to starting my very own business for the first time!” – S.B.