Breaking out of the corporate world and starting your own business can be a terrifying concept. However, the path of an entrepreneur is one of the most fulfilling paths you can take. It requires smarts, planning, and, most importantly, guts. And in exchange, your career becomes an extraordinary vehicle for self-expression in sharing who you are with the world.
As the owner of an online coaching business, I get to see a lot of people achieve their dreams. And I also see people make unfortunate mistakes along the way. You have to fail to learn, but why not try to dodge some of the easier bullets?
As the founder of a ghostwriting house for influencers, and an online coaching company, I’m excited to share how you can take the leap from employee to entrepreneur.
1. Be Specific With Your Goals
And be honest with yourself. Not everyone wants to be a massive operation. Sometimes this clarity will only come after taking big action and learning. For example I created an online business with customers in 25 countries, and through that, I realized that I’m more of a small operation gal. That inspired my founding of Cake Publishing, my ghostwriting house.
Obviously, your approach to building a small, local business will be different than that you take when you’re aspiring to build a large operation. This impacts your legal decisions (about how to structure the company) as well as your financing decisions (bootstrapping versus securing funding).
2. Build A Client Pool
Especially if you are going the smaller business route, you need to make sure people actually want or need your service. Do some research on products your ideal customer is buying in your niche — read their reviews and see where they’re criticizing the product or service. Can you fill that gap in your offerings? Customer feedback is everything, and if you can learn from other companies’ mistakes, you’re golden.
From there, consider taking on free clients. Offer yourself up (set boundaries, of course), and let them know you’ll offer them free services or product in exchange for an honest testimonial you can use both for yelp and your website. Customers are happy to provide feedback when you give them freebies, and the testimonial will serve you well in building credibility with potential clients who hit your website later down the road.
Plus, some free clients will become paid clients if they love your service and it comes to an end.
3. Don’t Be Too Proud To Learn
You’re taking a huge step that many others have tried and failed to take. And that means you need to be able to humble yourself. Seek out those that have done it already, and consider hiring them for mentorship or coaching (if they’re open to it). Whether it’s simply a close friend or someone offering business advice at the professional level, support is everything.
If I had gotten no advice when I was starting my company, I probably would have fallen on my face (and sometimes, I did anyway).
Like they say, If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.
4. Know Your Enemy
Researching the competition before you make any major moves is key. And by the way, I don’t really believe in competition, because the truth is everyone is uniquely different, and uniquely positioned to support their own audience.
Nonetheless, you need to be aware of your unique selling propositions (USPs)… Maybe you can do it cheaper. Maybe it’s pure quality. Whatever it is, you’re not going to know what makes you unique unless you do your research.
It’s also key to see what’s being offered in the market, and what looks like it’s thriving. A common mistake entrepreneurs make is creating products or services that inspire them, versus being mindful first of what their customer wants.
5. Be Bold (And Passionate)
If you’re taking the leap of faith required to start a business, you need to make sure you love what you’re doing. If you’re quitting a reliable job you hate in order to start an unreliable job you also hate, don’t bother. Success takes natural skills, passion, vision, and work. If you’re missing one, the rest won’t follow.
You’re about to embark on a long, fulfilling adventure. There will be challenges, and you will make mistakes, but with the right guidance, and a strong passion, the reward will be amazing.
From one entrepreneur who left corporate to another. I’m rooting for you.
Article By: Ashley Stahl
For More: Forbes.com