Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Entrepreneurial Tips for 2020

With February here, we are now firmly into the year 2020. At this point, you may finally be readjusted to working a full five-day week (good for you!) and fully back in the swing of things. Even so, if your dream of launching your own business has not dissipated in the new year, we have a few high-level tips for you on how to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur. 

Develop your skillset. As an entrepreneur, you will likely need skills you might not have acquired yet. Right now, you may be excellent at your job. If you are a high school guidance counselor, for example, your skills likely include an ability to work with youths, create and implement a plan with actionable school-to-career steps, develop a guidance curriculum, coordinate with social services agencies and parents, and maintain records. So you are adept at performing a handful of tasks within specific boundaries, but you haven’t ever had to run an entire organization from top to bottom. You likely don’t have experience in forming an entity (we can help!), hiring practices, payroll, bill collection, or managing human resources. As an entrepreneur, especially as a new entrepreneur, you will likely be responsible for all of that and more.

Prepare to keep learning. Running a business will require continuous learning as technology, consumer trends, market standards, and customer or client demands change. Daunting though it may be, you don’t have to go it alone. Early and continuing success can be fueled by online, and sometimes free, business courses and seminars. 

For example: 

  • LinkedIn Learning offers a range of courses relevant to entrepreneurs and business leaders, including “Learning Data Analytics,” “Time Management Fundamentals,” “Strategic Thinking,” and “Project Management Foundations.”
  • Women Who Code has a list of ways to start learning how to code right now for free, which include iTunes U, Kids Ruby, Mozilla’s Developer Network, Google’s Code University, P2PU, and Net Tuts+.
  • Coursera offers hundreds of free courses, including Business Foundations, Business Analytics, and Excel Skills for Business, among many, many others.

Your area community also may have support groups for entrepreneurs or business-minded people. Unless you have worked long enough in a large operation and been privy to the inner-workings of building and growing a business, you will most likely have a steep learning curve to overcome. Take advantage of the tools and resources available to you to make your transition from employee to entrepreneur smoother. 

Don’t be afraid to work alone, but keep connecting. Entrepreneurship can be lonely, especially if you are used to the cubicle life of endless work neighbors. We suggest thinking twice before you drop your daily coffee run or weekly lunch date. Continuing to engage with people will not only keep you from becoming too stuck in your own head, but may also aid in the expansion of your network. You might consider co-working spaces, which may help alleviate feelings of isolation.

Acknowledge and prepare for the financial risks. Ah, here it is: money. As a general assertion, for which I have no supporting empirical data, I would bet that receiving a stable paycheck and maintaining health insurance are two of the biggest reasons entrepreneurial-minded individuals stay employees and forego entrepreneurship. I get it. Finding the “right” time in your life to start a business is important. If you have a family, you may not be able to take an entrepreneurial risk unless you have another means of financial support. Even if you don’t have a family, you should consider whether you have someone in your financial corner that can support you through your entrepreneurial endeavor.

Protect your physical and mental health. You are going to be pulled in every direction. Never forget that your health is of the utmost importance. Make sure to get a lot of exercise and sleep and to eat well. Consider engaging a mental health specialist in executive leadership that will understand the complexity of demands that you face as a blossoming business leader.

Regardless of whether or not now is the right time to move forward in launching your own business, keep these tips in mind as your consider the transition from employee to entrepreneur.

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