I have a very simple view of the working world. There are the clock punchers and those that dread the thought of being a clock puncher. Neither is better than the other. They just are what they are.
Clock punchers have an innate need to know that on Friday (or whenever) they are going to get paid. Having a consistent weekly, bi-weekly paycheck gives them comfort and a certain sense of safety and security. They tend to be more risk averse, and they don't mind the typical 8 - 5 schedule. Society needs clock punchers.
The non-clock punchers are those that are a little more entrepreneurial. They love the challenge of taking their vision or passion and turning it into a profitable venture. They would never settle for a specific weekly paycheck. Their idea is that they can make as much money as they are willing dedicate their efforts to. Some weeks, that might mean no check, but in two weeks it might mean a huge check. They also like the freedom of choosing their own schedule.
If you're a non-clock puncher with a vision and no business, you may dream of being in your own business, but you don't know how to get started. Let me give you a few ideas that might help create a springboard for you.
- Define what it is that you want to do as a business.
- Can you get into the business with little money, equipment or space - or will it need to be well financed, well equipped and housed somewhere? If you want to do lawn-care you may be able to start part-time with a push mower. It doesn't take a lot of equipment or money. Other businesses take a lot of money, equipment and a place to operate from.
- If your business needs to be financed, have you looked into grants?
- Do you have adequate expertise to create the business you envision? You can own a real estate brokerage and not be an agent or a broker, but you will need a licensed broker to oversee the real estate specific operations. You can bring people on board with you if you don't have the expertise to launch on your own.
- Is it something that needs employees before you can launch?
- What are you bringing to the market that isn't being adequately serviced already? You only need to be 10% better in your field to take over a huge portion of the business. Just ask IBM what happened to them when PCs became available to the consumer market.
- Do you have a niche product or a niche market?
- Can you start small and maintain your current source of income while building the business? A service business, such as lawn-care, house cleaning, consulting, even flipping houses can be done while you're still employed full-time elsewhere.
- Do you have a business mission statement that clearly articulates your business? Your mission statement should be 25 words or less that captures the essence of what you're about and what you're going to do.
- Have other similar businesses started and closed in your area? Would you feel comfortable talking to the previous business owners about their experience? The first frozen yogurt provider in our area failed (TCBY). Why? The area wasn't ready for it yet. When the next company tried it - it was a huge success. TCBY was just a little too early for this area. They would be a smash today.
- Can you ever imagine doing anything else?
Most new businesses fail in the first 5 years. That makes preparation all the more important. The greatest cause of failure is lack of capital or lack of access to capital. Those two issues can be overcome by starting your business part-time, by yourself and with limited cash outlays.
All money that comes in during that initial start-up phase should be set aside for a future launch into a fulltime business. Some businesses cannot start this way, but for those that do, it's a great way to protect your current resources while you build equity in your new venture. At the right time, you'll be ready to go.