For some it looks like entertaining. For some it looks like motivational speaking. For some it looks likes marketing, public speaking, training, finance, dance. And the list goes on. The point is…there are many things that many people are passionate about. Then there are those, myself included, who take their passions and turn them into a full-fledged business. I’m not speaking of a side hustle where you’re looking to gain a few extra dollars. I’m talking about a full, bonafide, licensed business. If you’re one of these people, raise your hand. This post is for you.
Now that we’ve separated the serious from the…ummm…the not-so-serious, here are 3 key points to consider in order to build a solid foundation for your business. (Note: this isn’t a comprehensive list you need to approach, but this will get you started.)
1) Determine whether or not you’re ready. Am I ready to do this? This is the first and most important question you need to ask yourself. Operating a business costs money, is ridiculously emotional, requires sacrifice (when your friends are playing, you’re working), will take lots (I repeat LOTS) of hours, and requires an immense amount of work. You have to be self-motivated, be able to take criticism, and be able to pick yourself up when you you get discouraged or receive the answer “no.”
2) Develop a hustler’s mentality. After you’ve determined you’re ready to operate a business, then it’s time for you to develop a hustler’s mentality. No, I’m not speaking of a motive of stealing and cheating people out of their money. The hustler mentality that I’m speaking of is the one where you’re constantly on your grind, doing what you need to do to gain business. Hustlers are on their grind whether it’s raining, snowing, sunny or hailing, not letting anything stop them from growing their business. This is exactly the same for you. You gotta be out there pushing yourself, realizing that every encounter is a possible opportunity to for business. Every waking hour is an opportunity. (This doesn’t mean to take time for rest or fun. It just means that even in rest and fun, the potential for a client may be under your nose.)
3) Deal with the boring stuff. Accounting, financing, business structure, licensing, marketing, legalities, taxation….most of these aren’t “sexy,” and most aren’t fun. However, are all issues you need to address. Since what you’re doing is no longer just for fun, you want to make sure you’re protected and organized properly. You don’t want to be had, or operating an illegitimate business. If any of the above are out of your realm, CONSULT OR HIRE A PROFESSIONAL.
Here’s a head start on some of the questions you will need to answer:
- Will your business be for profit or not?
- Will you operate your organization as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation?
- How will you finance your business? Will you be paying for costs out-of-pocket, will you be looking for a venture capitalist, will you take out a loan, or a combination of the above?
- Who’s your target market?
- Will you require contracts?
- How will you accept payments?
- Will customers be required to pay in advance, at the time that services are rendered, later, or a combination of the above.
These are just a few questions that you need to answer. A business plan provides a great foundation to these questions, and if you’re looking to get a loan, you’ll need to complete a one. There are a lot of great resources for developing a business plan on the web and potentially, in your local library. In addition, the Small Business Administration through the US Government, your state government, and your local SCORE chapter are also provide free resources for those inquiring about and operating their own business.