So you know how we’ve been posting more sporadically than maybe ever before? When we do post lately, we’ve given you ‘what we’ve been up to posts.’ Here’s the grand reveal of it all!
Some of our longtime readers may remember our Divorce Your Job, Keep The House #DYJKTH series. (If you’re a newer Talker, click here to check out the 1st installment from 2014.) So you’ve probably followed our journey from employees to Entrepreneurs while keeping the house. Well that last part ( the 🏠) needed an upgrade and that’s where the pictures and our hit-and-miss postings come in.
Amidst all of the chaos of 2020, we sold our primary residence and bought another larger one that actually came with a smaller home cost. Weird how that worked out! But what’s even better is that with the increase in size and the updates we’ve been posting, we finally have a guest suite to let out for short term rentals.
🎆 We divorced our jobs, upgraded the house, and added another side-hustle! 🎆 We won’t bore you with the step-by-step details unless you TALK BACK 2 US in the comments and say you’d like to read more.
Just know that we’re already expecting our first few guests within a few days of going public 😁 And expect more regular Small Biz/Side-Hustle Saturday posts going forward now that we’ve gotten this hurdle out of the way.
Does anything sound better than being your own boss?
Well, maybe a brand new sports car or free ice cream for life. But even a state-of-the-art fully-decked-out sports car will eventually need routine maintenance, and the taste of mint chocolate chip can get old after a while.
The same kinds of things can happen when you start your own business. There are many details to consider and seemingly endless tasks to keep organized after the initial excitement of being your own boss and keeping your own hours has faded. Circumstances are bound to arise that no one ever prepared you for!
Although this list is not exhaustive, here are 5 things to get you started when creating a business of your own:
1. Startup cost
The startup cost of your business depends heavily on the type of business you want to have. To estimate the startup cost, make a list of anything and everything you’ll need to finance in the first 6 months. Then take each expense and ask:
Is this cost fixed or variable?
Essential or optional?
One-time or recurring?
Once you’ve determined the frequency and necessity of each cost for the first 6 months, add it all together. Then you’ll have a ballpark idea of what your startup costs might be.
(Hint: Don’t forget to add a line item for those unplanned, miscellaneous expenses!)
“Find a need, and fill it” is general advice for starting a successful business. But if the need is apparent, how many other businesses will be going after the same space to fill? And how do you create a business that can compete? After all, keeping your doors open and your business frequented is priority #1.
The simplest and most effective solution? Be great at what you do. Take the time to learn your business and the need you’re trying to fill – inside and out. Take a step back and think like a customer. Try to imagine how your competitors are failing at meeting customers’ needs. What can you do to solve those issues? Overcoming these hurdles can’t guarantee that your doors will stay open, but your knowledge, talent, and work ethic can set you apart from competitors from the start. This is what builds life-long relationships with customers – the kind of customers that will follow you wherever your business goes.
(Hint: The cost of your product or service should not be the main differentiator from your competition.)
3. Customer acquisition
The key to acquiring customers goes back to the need you’re trying to fill by running your business. If the demand for your product is high, customer acquisition may be easier. And there are always methods to bring in more. First and foremost, be aware of your brand and what your business offers. This will make identifying your target audience more accurate. Then market to them with a varied strategy on multiple fronts: content, email, and social media; search engine optimization; effective copywriting; and the use of analytics.
(Hint: The amount of money you spend on marketing – e.g., Google & Facebook ads – is not as important as who you are targeting.)
4. Building product inventory
This step points directly back to your startup cost. At the beginning, do as much research as you can, then stock your literal (or virtual) shelves with a bit of everything feasible you think your target audience may want or need. Track which products (or services) customers are gravitating towards – what items in your inventory disappear the most quickly? What services in your repertoire are the most requested? After a few weeks or months you’ll have real data to analyse. Then always keep the bestsellers on hand, followed closely by seasonal offerings. And don’t forget to consider making a couple of out-of-the-ordinary offerings available, just in case. Don’t underestimate the power of trying new things from time to time; you never know what could turn into a success!
(Hint: Try to let go of what your favorite items or services might be, if customers are not biting.)
5. Compliance with legal standards
Depending on what type of business you’re in, there may be standards and regulations that you must adhere to. For example, hiring employees falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor and Federal Employment Laws. There are also State Labor Laws to consider.
(Hint: Be absolutely sure to do your research on the legal matters that can arise when beginning your own business. Not many judges are very accepting of “But, Your Honor, I didn’t know that was illegal!”)
Starting your own business is not an impossible task, especially when you’re prepared. Get a jumpstart on your preparation at our free class tomorrow, Sunday, August 22nd at 4 PM EST (UTC -5). Save your seat!
*Registration is required. Your information will not be sold or shared. You will only receive invitations to future iterations of this and our other Entrepreneurship classes.
Although mentoring is one way to gain leadership experience, it requires commitment and compassion to stay the course. Simply put, mentoring should not be taken lightly. Whether the mentee is an adult or youth, the individual will be relying on you to be available and to provide guidance. Hence, this article suggests eight tips to ponder before taking the leap.
Consider your motive.
What is your motive? This question supersedes everything. If you lack clarity and do not have a big enough why, maybe you need to rethink mentoring as a strategy to acquire leadership experience. Aside from possessing a combination of skills and qualities, you must care about people and their success. So, reflect carefully on your response to the initial question. At length, making a difference should be the major objective.
Write down your goals.
Deciding to become a mentor is one thing, but creating a plan to make it happen is another. For that purpose, develop SMART goals. As you may know, SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
What do you need to accomplish in the next week or next 30 days? What do you want to accomplish in a year? Use a journal or spiral notebook to record the information. Plan to succeed.
Begin where it makes sense.
Several groups need mentors: young adults transitioning out of foster care, students (high school and college), women re-entering the workplace, women returning to the community after incarceration, troubled youth, first time supervisors, entrepreneurs, etc. Where do you think you can make the greatest impact?
Keep an open mind.
Your mindset will make the difference. That’s why it is imperative to refrain from being judgmental or biased. Both can stunt the growth of the mentor-mentee relationship.
Perform thorough research.
Read literature to discover the mission of the agency, the programs, and services. Who are the clients? What are their needs? Uncover the challenges and/or opportunities. Even though mentors receive training, never neglect your homework.
Think about potential challenges.
Be encouraged to face any perceived limitations or fears. However, brainstorm ways to overcome them.
Seek to maintain balance.
Effective mentors excel in buildings relationships and relationship building requires time. Still, you cannot lose sight of your other obligations. With that said, get a firm handle of your current schedule. Sharpen your time management skills so that you don’t stress out.
Take the next step.
If you’ve done all of the above, then make your move. There’s no time like the present to get started.
It’s simple—the wealthy prioritize passive income because it saves time.
That’s because passive income streams don’t require constant time and effort to maintain. Once they’re up and running, they require minimal maintenance to keep earning.
Let’s consider a hypothetical example…
Sarah and Jim are coworkers and friends. Jim is content to work from 9 to 5, five days a week, in exchange for his paycheck. He trades about half of his waking hours for his income.
Sarah, however, is more ambitious. She wants a more effective way to create additional cash flow.
So, she starts a business selling crafts online. At first, it’s a lot of extra work—she creates the products, makes the listings, runs ad campaigns, and even ships the items herself. But she’s creative and motivated, and her business grows.
It doesn’t take long before she earns enough from her business to hire an employee to help with the marketing and shipping. She can focus on what she loves—making the crafts!
But that extra pair of hands increases her productivity even further. Now, she can hire another employee to actually make her crafts.
Suddenly, Sarah is almost totally uninvolved in her business beyond high level decision making. In addition to her day job, it’s become a source of income that requires minimum upkeep. And she still has time every evening for her family and opening up new passive income streams!
The takeaway? The sooner you can create viable sources of passive income, the better! It comes down to matching your effort to your reward. It’s a chance to create impressive returns over the long-term for an upfront investment of time, money, and energy.
If you’re interested in opportunities to create additional income streams, check out some of our past posts on the topic.
Side Hustle expansion
Passive Income: How It Works
Start that side hustle like a pro!
For a one-on one discussion about potential ways for you to create passive income, contact us!
Millennials, want to catch a 🆓 version of the personal finance class your Boomer parents should have made sure was available to you when you were a kid? Click here to register for the class happening Thursday, July 1sy at 8 PM EST.