My wife, Meg, and I never set-out to be entrepreneurs after college. It was never part of the plan for two music education majors. But as the saying goes, life happens when we’re busy making plans. Meg was the first to start a business when she launched her own music lesson studio while we were still in college. To say she has been successful would honestly be an understatement.
And in the last year six months I have been steadily building this blog and my real estate business with the end goal of replacing and eclipsing my current teacher’s salary. Both business pursuits are great fits for my personality and skills. I enjoy teaching people and helping them solve problems so much that both jobs rarely feel like work.
That’s the beautiful thing about the decision to start a business. It can free you from a stressful, draining job and give you a greater sense of purpose by allowing you to make money doing what you love.
You won’t be able to start a business overnight – at least not a business that replaces your full-time income. But if you’re willing to put in the hours in the early morning, late nights, and weekends, you can do it!
Key Tactics to Start a Business the Right Way
In this post, I am sharing with you the exact tactics we have used recently in our businesses. They have put us on a path to have the freedom to quit our current day jobs in the near future.
If you’re planning to start a business soon or simply looking to improve your existing business, we’re confident they will help you.
Keep start-up costs low
The decision to start a business can be very emotional. Many business owners have undoubtedly gotten excited, gone all-in, and put the cart before the horse over the years when it comes to spending money to support their launch.
To be honest, I have never understood why. Yes, it is necessary to spend money to make money in many cases, and I get that. However, it is never a good idea to push to spend more than is necessary on start-up costs.
For example, I watched a client in one of my former consulting positions doom their new family business because they spent way too much money right out of the gate. From material costs and marketing to staffing costs, they were spending far more money than necessary for a new business.
I no longer am a consultant with this business, but I ran into a mutual contact of ours last week. The business is no longer open after only a few months of operation.
If you can minimize your start-up costs, you’ll fare much better. If you can make it work, start your business at home and also take advantage of the home office deduction at tax time.
Use your knowledge and skills to your advantage
When many people decide to start a business, they overlook the obvious. I don’t mean to insinuate that you should start a business doing exactly what you’re doing now. It’s not a bad idea if you can make more money working for yourself, but you have other options, too.
You don’t necessarily have to do what you already know, but you can use those skills in a different way.
For example, I’ve always had a knack for writing since high school. My classmates complained about writing long papers, while I was able to crank out long papers in short time and actually have fun doing it. I also have had a successful teaching career. This blog is the perfect way to leverage and combine these skills.
Side note: If you are open to sharing your unique skills with others and helping them solve problems, you need to start a blog. I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help start your blog. It includes help with the technical components of building a blog from scratch, creating interesting content that will get noticed and shared, and marketing your new blog effectively. As a FinanceSuperhero reader, you can use this link to start a blog with Bluehost for only $3.95 and receive a FREE domain name for one year.
Get your finances in order right away
When you start a business, many things can get lost in the shuffle if you’re not careful. Depending upon your niche and services of your business, the paperwork alone can be a full-time job just to complete.
After all, you need to open separate checking and savings accounts, along with a credit card, for most businesses. This can take several hours for even the most experienced business people. And if you plan to form an LLC or other business entity, you’re in for hours and hours of paperwork.
Fortunately, there are a few good companies out there who aim to help make starting a business easier.
Checking out Spark Business is a smart move for anyone who starts a business. Unlike most local banks, who want to charge outrageous fees to business owners for simply starting a checking and savings account, Spark is all about the customer.
Check out just a few of their benefits for business customers:
With no fees, no transaction limits, 40, free ATMS, free online bill pay, and free online invoicing, it doesn’t get any better! You can open an account with Spark by clicking here.
After you’ve separated your personal finances from those of your business, the next logical step may be to form a legal business entity. In the past, formation of an LLC or other legal business entity was extremely time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive in most states.
The team at MyNewCompany has made the process as simple as three easy steps in many cases. Their Basic Package starts at only $79 and includes the preparation and filing of Articles of Organization, which many people consider the most stressful aspect of forming an LLC. They can also help you form a Federal Tax ID, secure Registered Agent Service, help you create a personalized LLC Operating Agreement, and much more.
Market yourself everywhere
If you disregarded all of the tactics shared so far, be sure you don’t miss this one. It truly has the ability to make or break your efforts to start a business the right way and achieve success.
The simple truth is that when you start a business nobody knows unless you tell them! It is critical that you do everything you can to get the word out about your business.
The following suggestions can help you get started:
- Tell friends and family in person, over the phone, etc.
- Create a social media presence for your business (start with Facebook)
- Create your own website (or hire someone else to do it if you don’t have time)
- Create business cards, pens, magnets, calendars, etc. and give them away
- Formulate a plan and send out mailers locally
- Sponsor a local team or event
- Join the local chamber of commerce or business groups
Finally, this must be said: no, marketing won’t be free. It won’t even be cheap. But investing even a small amount of your start-up costs in this area will pay dividends.
Be efficient with the small things
When you start a business, it will feel like a million tasks are constantly competing for your time and attention. It is important to maximize your time and productivity in every way possible.
Start by taking an inventory of all of the apps on your mobile device. If you don’t have Waze, Google Calendar, Personal Capital, Evernote, PayPal, and MileIQ (if you drive frequently your business miles will add up in a hurry, and the IRS requires you to track them rather than estimate them) you should download them right away. These simple apps will help you save enormous amounts of time each week.
Hustle, hustle, hustle
If anyone ever told you it was easy to start a business, they were lying. It is hard work, and it often requires sacrifice.
Work other jobs if you need to pull in cash to support your start-up. You can make money driving for Uber, taking surveys, pet sitting, mowing lawns, or even delivering food on your bike. This is the time to get creative and do what ever you have to do to make it!
For most people, it will make sense to launch your business while still keeping your current job. The sad reality is that you won’t know for sure if the new business is viable long-term right away – at least not in most cases. You might have to cut out watching TV, going out every weekend with friends, and playing fantasy football.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
Engineer Your Layoff!
Of all the steps involved in starting your own business, this one may be the most important: for goodness sake, don’t just quit your day job – engineer your layoff instead!
This bold strategy is exactly what allowed Sam Dogen, the founder of FinancialSamurai, to leave his corporate job and avoid the pressure of finding another job. Instead, a steady stream of severance money allowed Sam to focus on building a stream of passive income through wise investments and also create a profitable blog that welcomes millions of readers each year.
You can download Sam’s newly-updated book, How to Engineer Your Layoff eBook, using this link. The cost may be tax-deductible for business owners (check with your CPA to be sure), and if not, it is still well-worth every single penny. If you can gain severance money it will help you stay afloat during the early stages of your start-up.
Get started on your business plan today!
You won’t be able to start a business that becomes a well-oiled machine overnight, but if you have the determination, desire, and willingness to do whatever it takes to grow, you can be successful! The above tips have helped my wife and I build three profitable businesses.
The best part of our choices to start our businesses is that we may soon have the choice to walk away from our day jobs and experience an incredible new level of freedom. You can have that opportunity, too, but like all journeys, this one starts with a single step.