So you’re just about ready to quit your day job. Perhaps your boss finally has you at breaking point, or maybe the monotony of that same 9 to 5 routine is drilling into your skull, but you’ve had enough and you can’t take any more. You’ve been mulling over this brilliant business idea in your head for weeks, but you just can’t find the missing link, the magical idea that will bring it all together and kickstart your empire.
If this sounds like you, then you’re definitely an entrepreneur waiting to break out, and you’re not alone; in the US, around 15 million people are self-employed, while the UK has around 5 million self-employed people (roughly 15% of the workforce). It might finally be time to quit that lousy job and start your business. How, though, does one go about becoming an entrepreneur? We’ve assembled 10 handy tips and ideas to finally release that entrepreneurial side of you below.
1. Quit your job (if you can)
Around 53% of people in the US are unhappy in their jobs, which should tell you something about the good company you’re in if you aren’t satisfied with your work. Squirrel away some money every month until you can safely quit your job, then walk away with no hard feelings, knowing that you’re one step closer to starting your own business.
2. Examine your personality
Okay, so you’ve had this dream for a long time. Is it really you, though? Sometimes, being an entrepreneur isn’t for you, even if you think it is. Some people walk away from dream jobs only to realise that the long hours, self-reliance and unpredictable schedule don’t make for a satisfying working day. Make sure you know you want this before you embark on it.
3. Be passionate
Sounds obvious, but you should definitely be passionate about the industry you’re going into. It’s no good starting up a greetings card business if you don’t care about greetings cards; your attitude will leak through into your business, and before long your customers will stop calling and your business will be in trouble.
4. Find an industry that suits you
Some people are perfect for the creative industries, and some aren’t. Others would fit in perfectly in data analysis or financial consultancy. Know your strengths, your weaknesses and your skills before you start planning. You might have had an idea for a great website, but if you’re not a web developer and you don’t understand the Internet, it might be best to shelve it. Of course, the tech industry is huge and there are many fields in this area to explore.
5. Minimise workload
Once you do have your crazy business idea off the ground and it’s actually starting to gain traction, there are lots of ways you can make sure you’re not overworking yourself. Delegate tasks to employees, or – depending on your industry – automate. If you’re a foreign exchange trader, for example, check out this list to find out how you can get AI to do your work for you.
6. Research your demographic
Whatever your business idea might be, there’s going to be someone on the receiving end. Put simply, you’re going to need clients, or you won’t have a leg to stand on. Research the market in which your type of business exists, understand the kind of people who consume it, and tailor your content or product – whatever that might be – to said demographic.
7. Build a social media profile
This is a stumbling block for a lot of businesses; you’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs fall at the first hurdle because they don’t understand social media outreach. If you’ve got products, find Instagram influencers to sell them; if you have services, use LinkedIn and Facebook to spread the word. Social media is key to a good entrepreneurial strategy.
8. Don’t sweat the losses (too much)
You’re going to lose money. It’s inevitable. Some businesses go a very, very long time before doing so, while others aren’t profitable for a long while into their existence. Spotify, for example, is still not technically a profitable operation. There are going to be losses, there’s going to be downtime, and you will need to realise that it doesn’t mean the end of your business.
9. Understand scale
What is your business idea? Write it down in a pithy one- or two-sentence phrase to help yourself see the bigger picture. Do you need employees? What’s your pay scale? These are all things you’ll need to understand about your business if it’s going to succeed. Looking outward to your market is all well and good, but some introspection is great, too.
10. Enjoy yourself
Okay, it’s work, but work can be fun, too. Remember why you’re quitting your dreary job in favour of something more exciting and minute-to-minute. Don’t let the work turn into more drudgery, because if you do, then there won’t have been any point quitting your 9 to 5. It’s not all going to be sunshine and rainbows, but enjoy the moments that are.