Are you capable of being your own boss? Don't kick your feet up too fast. Owning your own business takes hard work and dedication.
I started my first business selling handmade jewelry at age 12, long before the days the Internet became an integral part of our everyday culture. Everything from the jewelry tags to my business cards were made from scratch, and I relied on a door-to-door sales approach to get my product into local gift shops. Although the business is non-existent today, those formative years taught me something that would be crucial in shaping my career path: not only did I want to be an artist, I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Fast forward... I'm now 27 living in an era filled with Internet media tools like Facebook, eBay, and My Space. If you have a product or an idea, you can share it with a vast viral audience. Our world has expanded through the Internet, and it is imperative you be a part of it as a business owner. While I am by no means an expert, I have gathered some useful information over the years that has helped me greatly as a young entrepreneur.
FIND YOUR PASSION
It doesn't matter what you do, it's how you do it. What excites you? What will you get up early in the morning for? What gets your heart racing? Once you discover your passion, everything else is easier. I was fortunate to know early on that art is my passion, and I was able to build my business and career around the thing I love most. When you love what you do each day, it's not work anymore.
IS THERE A "THERE" THERE?
People will respect you if you know your stuff, and are quick to smell a phony. Does your product, service, or business represent the truest essence of who you are? Do you understand what you do best? It's not only about putting out a product, but putting out a good product... or better yet, a great product! You'll find clients and customers gravitate towards you if you keep producing your best work.
DON'T GIVE UP!
I believe many entrepreneurs fail in their
start-up years because they don't have the patience or follow-through.
Success takes time, and you need to put in the hours to achieve it.
This is especially true for entrepreneurs who run their business out of
their home, like me. While it's tempting to sleep till noon and
shuffle around all day in your pajamas, you've got work to do! Stay
disciplined and dedicated to your cause. If you ever need a wake-up
call just think, Would I rather be working for myself or someone else?
I find keeping a "daily goal" journal is useful in holding myself accountable. Instead of making rambling never-ending lists that have no priorities, pick out the number 1 thing that you NEED to get done each day. If you don't get it done, you get a big fat zero!
Before wading through the high-tech jargon of widgits, favicons, and HTML code, get started with some business basics. I think all entrepreneurs should purchase their own name as a domain, in addition to their business name. You can link the two together at some point in the future. With sites like Go Daddy offering domains for as low as $9.99 for the year, you can afford to register multiple names.
Having a website that is clean, professional, and easy to navigate is key. Out of all your start-up costs, a good website design is something you should set some money aside for. Find a local designer who can sit down and work with you face-to-face, to ensure your vision is captured.
START A BLOG
Blogs are a great way to reach an audience on a global level. Although websites are imperative for business owners, they can often become static. Blogs provide an interactive ever-changing format that gives readers the latest news on your business. You can link a blog to your website, so they feed off of each other. Both Wordpress and Typepad are good options for beginners, offering a flexible, easy to understand interface. It's all about starting a conversation with people who take an interest in you and your business.
We are living in a viral age where the Internet opens doors for you as an entrepreneur. Creating company profiles on Linked In, Facebook, and My Space can vastly broaden your audience. Whether they're friends from kindergarten or your old college roommates, they represent one more person in your network staying posted on everything you do.
But don't just make friends in cyberspace. Get out into your community, attend conferences and workshops, donate your time and/or services, and shake as many hands as you can. Building a real-life network will help people connect a face with your business, and establish your presence in the community.
And lastly, always keep a positive attitude! Because if you don't believe in yourself, no one will.
-By Renee Coates