Working long hours year after year to make someone else rich can be draining and demoralizing. Are you ready to take charge of your own future? Do you want to do work that you are passionate about—and reap the financial rewards?
Sounds like you want to be your own boss.
Entrepreneurs blaze new trails, do work they love, and answer only to themselves. If personal and financial freedom appeal to you, check out this guide. We’ll walk you through the first steps and show you how to be your own boss.
1) Identify Business Ideas that Fit Your Passion
Before you can start, you need an idea. You’ll be happiest working in a field you’re passionate about, so identify your passions or discover a new one. Consider different aspects of yourself such as your personality, hobbies, current work, college degree, age, and social identity group.
Once you identify what fields you might like to work in, you can start brainstorming business ideas. Many entrepreneurs take one of these three approaches:
- Go solo: Consider the line of work you’re in now or what you’ve done in the past for someone else. Being your own boss might mean repackaging your skill set and turning it into a solo practice. Check your employer’s non-compete clause first, though.
- Do it better: What business models already out there interest you? Choose a type of service or product and find a way you can do it better, differently, or in a different market.
- Solve a problem: What is missing from the world around you? Identify a customer pain point or a gap in the market, then decide how you can offer a new service or product to satisfy customers with that problem or who are in the gap.
2) Conduct Market Research for Your Business Plan
Once you have a business idea, the next step is market research, which involves identifying your target customer and studying the market. You’ll have two goals: to make sure there is a space for your business idea and to fine-tune it into something that people will pay for.
Identify your target market
Who will buy your product or service? If your answer is “everyone,” think again. Spell out everything about your ideal customer, including age, gender, education, income, location, interests, and habits. Determine how large your market is.
Decide what you want to know
What would you like to know about your customers? Here are some ideas:
- What do your ideal customers use or buy now?
- Why do they buy it?
- What will make them buy from you?
- What are ideal price ranges for your customers?
- Does your business idea offer a viable solution to their pain points?
Talk to potential customers
Get feedback from customers fast. Sell your product or service as-is, even if it’s flawed. Then, chat with customers, asking why they did or did not make a purchase. Finally, revise your offer. Or you could run a focus group.
The information you are looking for may be readily available online. Get creative in looking for and leveraging these resources. Check out negative reviews of competitors, ask questions in relevant Facebook groups, and explore conversations on Reddit or Quora.
Find out what your ideal customers are currently using to solve the problem or pain point that your business solves. Then, determine how your business solves it in a different or better way.
3) Create a Successful Business Plan
An actionable plan will take your idea to market. Follow this outline to create your business plan:
This includes your pitch to sell potential investors and partners on your business. Detail a problem facing customers and how you plan to solve it, and include evidence from market research, crowdfunding, or early sales information to prove there is an interest in what you are selling.
Discuss results from your market research here. Who are the people who will buy your product or service, and who is your competition? What sets your brand apart, and is there room for your business in this market?
Outline your strategic plans for logistics and operations in running your business. Include information about:
- Expanding the market for current products
- Plans for boosting sales
- Plans for acquiring new customers and retaining current customers
- Product pricing, supply chain costs, and profit margins
- Manufacturing information and product delivery plans
- Key metrics used for evaluating success
Who are the people behind your company, and what is your origin story? Detail the background and qualifications of each member of the founding management team.
Outline the numbers in this section, including:
- Profit and loss projections
- Cash flow tables
- Balance sheet
- Sales forecast
- Employee wages
- Budget and overhead costs
4) Pinpoint How to Get Funding for Your Business
Eventually, your business will turn a profit, but until that point you are going to need funding to pay for market research, employees, supplies, rent, and other overhead costs. Consider these sources of cash until the sales roll in:
Many entrepreneurs foot their own bills in the beginning. If you have a big enough savings account or can stick it out with your day job for a few more months or years, you can avoid debt or sharing equity with an investor.
A small business loan can make up for the gaps in your budget. You’ll need to apply for and qualify for this type of loan.
If you are launching a tech startup or something you hope to scale big and fast, you might need to look for cash from an investor. You’ll have to pitch investors and prove that you and your idea are worth taking a chance on. If you succeed, you can secure up to $1 million or more in funding.
Launch Marketing for Your New Business
Now it’s time to get the word out. Marketing will generate interest in your new business. It’ll bring in the customers who will bring in the dollars you need to be your own boss for years to come. We recommend these marketing techniques:
Build a Website
Invest in a professional-looking website that is pleasant to visit and easy to navigate. Use SEO keyword optimization so people searching online can easily find your website.
Utilize Influencer Marketing
Influencers are people who have built up a personal brand and following on social media and who sometimes make money by reviewing, endorsing, or collaborating with businesses. Reach out and discuss collaboration, or provide freebies for them to review.
Build a Social Media Presence
Create accounts on social media platforms most frequented by your ideal customers. Create visually interesting and engaging posts that showcase your brand. Invite others to follow you and engage with your posts.
Offer Deals and Freebies
Offer deals and freebies online or in person to reward your loyal customers and get your name in front of their friends.
Ask for Reviews
After providing great service for new customers, encourage them to leave a review of your business or product on Google or Facebook. Share their reviews on your website.
Be Your Own Boss
You won’t get to be your own boss overnight, but these steps can jumpstart your career as an entrepreneur and get your small business going. Entrepreneurship can be rewarding and challenging, and you’ll need plenty of support. Find your community and more professional tips for entrepreneurs by signing up for a Daymond John’s Success Formula event today.