July 23, 2010

Start Your Own Business: A Quick Guide to Breaking Free From the Cubicle

BY John Paul Narowski IN Small Business 0 Comment

Chess, King, BossThe dependability of a steady paycheck from your job is great, but no matter how much you’re getting paid, you’re still trading in your own hours to make money for someone else. If you want to truly be free and reap the all of the benefits of your work, you should consider starting your own business and be the boss.

Can You Wear the Crown?

They say, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown,” and they weren’t kidding around! When you’re “the man” the buck stops with you; there is no one else to blame if things go south. If you’re up to tackling this challenge, you need to put some serious time into planning out what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it and how to make a business grow.

Despite the challenges it presents, being your own boss is extremely rewarding personally and financially. If you’re ready to dip your toes in the pool of entrepreneurship, then check out this quick guide to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Find Your Niche

The very first question you need to ask yourself is, “What service/goods am I going to offer?” What you decide on should not only be lucrative and have a market but should also interest you. When you work in a field that you truly enjoy, it feels a lot less like work. Make a list of things you are good at and that you really enjoying doing. Go ahead, I’ll wait. 🙂

Take your list and make sure there is a viable market that you can enter. You can do this by Googling the names of the market or terms that are commonly used in it. If paid ads show up in the search engine results, then you know people are making money doing this. You can also check Amazon and your local bookstore for magazines that are devoted to your field of interest. Look at the ads in the magazine and see what people in your market are buying and what they are interested in.

What’s Your Business Model?

The next thing to consider is your business model; how are you going to make money doing what you enjoy? There are a thousand of ways to make a buck, here are just some:

  • Create a website or publication that makes money through advertising.
  • Sell some sort of service.
  • Sell a physical or electronic product.
  • Consult and show others how to become as great as you are at whatever it is you’re great at.
  • Be the middle man in an interaction and take a percentage or fee from one or both parties.
  • Sell other people’s products and make a commission per sale, for example internet affiliate marketing.
  • A mix of the above.

Make it Legit

Unless you want an unpleasant letter from the IRS one day, you need to make your business legitimate. The first thing you should do is create a separate entity like a LLC or Corporation. Research what situation works best for you given your individual situation, your business and where you live. There are tons of resources out there that can help you with this.

Next, make sure you get a Tax ID number from the IRS and pay your taxes when you start making some money. I know this seems like an obvious statement, but you would be amazed at how many people don’t. If you’re working from home, make sure you get a post office box where they will sign for your packages. You can list your home address but you generally want to separate your personal and business activities as much as possible.

Finally, have a business number where people can get a hold of you. Even if your business does not require one-on-one contact (i.e. Internet based), you still need a phone number to enhance your credibility and receive calls.

Cover Your Bases, And Then Round Them

If something is confusing, make sure you talk to a professional. Do-it-yourself services are all the rage these days but don’t risk your financial future or your business’s existence by just winging it. Accountants and lawyers are worth the money they charge and it never hurts to have a professional weigh in on your plans.

Now you are ready to rock! In the next part of this series, I’ll discuss using the Internet, social media and word of mouth advertising to get the customers streaming through your door, website or phone!

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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