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My Tips for Starting your Own Small Business

  • February 23, 2014
  • Bradley Taylor

My Tips for Starting your Own Small Business

By Brad Taylor

Startup business concept2001 was the last time I had a “real job”. By real job I mean the kind that you have to clock in and be there for a certain amount of hours. I had a boss. I had co-workers. I had a job.

Since I was very young I always knew I wanted to have my own business. I opened a small “store” in the closet of my bedroom called “NMC Stores” when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I sold silly little things that  I made like cigars (paper bag wrapped around paper towel), lottery tickets (made with cardboard and pen and covered with pencil. The way you scratch them was to use the eraser), and even a Space Shuttle replica that in my head looked awesome (and still does to this day) but probably looked like a tangled mess of paper and cardboard. My brother was my best customer and a few of the neighbor kids would buy something from time to time.

It wasn’t a self-sustaining business but it was my first taste of working for myself. I liked it! I never really knew what I was going to do. The old saying “you don’t choose the job, it chooses you” is pretty accurate. I had to make a website for a class I was taking at the local college and had a good experience with that. I made a few more websites for people that liked my work and the word caught on. Soon people were paying me to handle their web projects. I officially started the current web business in 2002 as simplesitedesign.com and in the 2003-2004 time frame I morphed it into Olympusweb.com. I currently have over 50 active customers and have created over 250 websites. But, web design is small part of what I do. I also handle the SEO (search engine optimization) for about a dozen clients.

If you want to start your own business I have some quick tips for you that may apply to what you are trying to do. These are things that I found essential in starting my company.

1)      Make sure what you plan to do is what you want to do for a job, NOT A HOBBY. It won’t always be fun. So, if you really enjoy cigars, maybe DON’T start a cigar store. There will be days when you will hate cigars after that. It comes with the territory of the word “job”. They always say find what you love and do that for a living. I don’t think that is necessarily true. Find something that compels you and interests you. Choose a field with which you can excel and grow as a person, as well as a business, and do that for a living.

2)      Be prepared to take a loss the first year or two. It takes time to build the customer base. And it takes money to advertise and set up shop. If you are lucky you will break even after a year or two.

3)      Have money stashed away. You need money to be able to survive the start, transition, possible failure and transition back to a “real job” if need be. A good supplemental income is recommended. If you can have a good savings and a source of income while you start this business that is great.

4)      Devote 40+ hours per week to it no matter what. Even if you are not busy. Find something to do. If you are sitting on your hands and watching TV waiting for the calls to start pouring in, you are in for a shock. It doesn’t work like that. Pound the streets. Send emails. Post to social media. Place an ad. Stay busy no matter what. The 40 hour maximum work week does not apply to people starting a business. In fact, it should be considered as business blasphemy.

5)      Make sure you are already well skilled in the trade or craft you provide. Nobody wants to pay for you to learn. They hire you because you are already supposed to know.

6)      Stay positive. Frame of mind is important. People can tell when somebody is unsure or wishy-washy. Don’t listen to the naysayers. The minute that you start allowing doubts to creep in, then they can consume you.

7)      Spend responsibly. Thinking of buying a mass email campaign? Google it. Research it. Find out what others are saying. A simple Google search may save you $2500. Don’t take lavish vacations. You haven’t earned them yet. Don’t have a party celebrating your new business. That is just dumb.

Well that pretty much sums it up. If you are starting a new business or thinking of starting one, Good Luck! I truly mean that.

Brad

February 2014

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