One thing I’m passionate about is helping people, especially parents, earn a living, so they can do the activities, trips, etc that they want to do with their families. I started my own side business, Editor 911, back in 2006, and it’s still going strong. I also have a blog post series on here titled “Reluctant Parents at Work” because I know how hard it is for parents to 1. go back to work after staying at home with their kids 2. go back to work after a gap in their career. I had to do both.
Today, I welcome Eva Benoit, who wrote the post below. She has written before for “Look to the Western Sky”, and I’m happy to have her back–this time discussing how to start your own business if that’s what you think is best for your working life.
Guest post by Eva Benoit
When it comes to a business, it always starts with an idea. Whether it’s a new product or a way of improving a type of service, all it takes is a spark of inspiration to get you going. With that being said, no business can run on ideas — you have to patiently work toward reasonable objectives to accomplish overall goals while your operation grows.
If just reading that sentence gives you a stomachache, it’s understandable. The amount of work and risk that goes into being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart. By breaking down the very beginnings of a startup into feasible goals, you can ease your way into it — and before you know it, you could be CEO of your very own company.
By breaking down the very beginnings of a startup into feasible goals, you can ease your way into it — and before you know it, you could be CEO of your very own company.
Setting Up a Workspace
Anyone who wants to start their own business needs a workspace dedicated to their idea. For most of us, creating a home office is the only affordable and accessible option. To make sure you’re productive in your home office, communicate your boundaries with your family or roommates. Establish working hours, where you don’t wish to be disturbed, and close your door if you need to be left alone outside those hours. Keep yourself motivated by making sure you have enough natural light and supplementing with accent lighting where you need. Eliminate distractions like the television, and invest in quality equipment that won’t waste your time.
Finally, create a smart filing system for your business where you can organize receipts, invoices, communications, and any other pertinent paperwork. You can modify your system as your business grows and evolves, but starting out with some sort of organization will save you time, money, and headaches down the road.
Identifying Your Market
A business gives and takes. In order to do that, you need a market where such exchanges can occur. To identify your market, it always helps to check out who you perceive will be your competition. Pay attention to the audience they market to, but also be aware of who they’re leaving out — could your business somehow scoop up that neglected market, or is your product or service a niche? When in doubt, you can always start small and build up as your operations and resources grow. Think about your products or services. What benefits do they provide that help you stand out in the market? Depending on what your product or service is, your idea may not stand out on its own. In these cases, you’re going to have to sell yourself as the face of your company, so think about who wants to buy what you’re selling.
Building a Business Model
Remember when you were in grade school and you had to learn how to write an essay? The teacher always told you to make an outline showcasing your ideas and arguments before you actually executed the prose. Well, a business model is kind of like an outline for your company — it’s simply a bigger scale and higher stakes. If you’ve never done this before — and most of us have not — it helps to start with a template. A business model wheel is a simple illustration that helps you make your complex ideas succinct and comprehensive for others.
If you fancy yourself an entrepreneur, you need a great idea and a whole lot of work. It can be intimidating to start, but working through the beginning step by step can help you get the ball rolling until there’s a momentum that keeps it that way. First of all, designate a workspace where you can get things done without interruption or distraction. Second, make sure you know what you are selling and to whom you are selling it. Finally, make a business plan wheel so you have a solid foundation on which you can build. Before long, you’ll discover the road to success!
Margo’s online WOW! Women On Writing class, Individualized Marketing for Authors and Writing Industry Professionals, is currently on sale for $99. Check it out here.