The American Dream…it’s something that is defined by the essence of the ability to become anything you want to be. Whether or not you are speaking to Americans, the desire to follow one’s dream and be successful is shared across all cultures. But what does it take to actually take the leap from “working for the man” to doing your own thing?
Here are five basic things that are needed at the basis of any entrepreneurial pursuit to set one up for long-lasting success:
- Choose something that you would want to do for free. Starting a business that is going to have staying power takes doing something you are passionate about. Imagine being five years down the road, making a moderate amount of money- would you still want to do it? If the answer is no, this isn’t your “forever” thing.
- Be prepared for the business to take time to grow. Different business coaches lay out different timelines, but most say you should be prepared to not be profitable for a year to two years’ time. That means your business may operate on the side for you to make it financially. As long as #1 is in place, it’s a doable way to live for a certain amount of time.
- Be prepared for some criticism. Your friends & family may not love that you are going into business for yourself- and that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Have the grace and understanding to recognize that not everyone has followed your path, so perhaps there may be a lack of understanding there that results in unwanted advice (including suggestions to try to get a job here or there, where “you could make more money”).
- Make a business plan. There are many, many businesses that fail within their first five years in operation. A good chunk of those failures could be contributed to a lack of planning. A business plan provides you with ways to forecast ahead of where you are, so you lessen the chances of making poor decisions with your business.
- Recognize that your business will require sacrifice. The phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” is very applicable here. You aren’t going to be able to keep all of the proceeds of your business (and you will likely be pouring a lot of money that isn’t coming from the business into it at first); you are going to have less time available (at least for awhile); you are going to have to allow your beliefs about business-building to be challenged, stretched, and changed. These are all positives that may be very hard at the time, but it is absolutely part of what it takes to begin your own business venture.
These five things are essential foundations to anyone truly desiring to go into business for themselves, whether by starting a company with employees, starting a business venture with skills, or becoming an independent contractor of some sort, even with work-from-home businesses. If you are ready for all five of these, go for it, and enjoy the ability we have in our society to easily begin our own business ventures!