Not so comfy in your 9-to-5 job? Sure a steady paycheck and shoddy health benefits have their appeal. Who can argue with consistency? Let’s be honest, there’s not much more that’s as unnerving, anxiety-provoking, or stress-inducing, as uncertainty. When we talk about entrepreneurship, about owning and running your own business, there’s a leap of faith that happens there. How do you know when it’s the right time? What can you do to ensure success? While there’s no Magic 8 ball for life, there are things you can do to test the waters and start your entrepreneurial journey without losing your day job.
If your entrepreneurship itch needs to be scratched and you’re looking for some small ways to wade into the side hustle pool. We’ve got the goods to get you started.
Pick your passion.
What do you love about your current job? What can’t you stand? As you take the first step into the entrepreneur world, stay true to what sparks joy in your life and will leave you feeling fulfilled. Running your own business is a labor of love, and if you don’t love what you do then you won’t be successful at it. When evaluating what makes the most sense, keep in mind your skills and strengths. It doesn’t make sense to open a guitar shop if you’ve never picked up a guitar. On the other hand, this could be the perfect opportunity to dedicate time and resources to learn any new skills or abilities that you’ve been putting off.
We spoke with Bethany Tyree, owner of My Beautiful Chaos Boutique (mybeautifulchaosboutique.co), an online and mobile women’s boutique, on what kick started her entrepreneurial drive. Bethany was with a Fortune 300 company when a series of events left her feeling unfulfilled:
“My level of satisfaction was null. I started to brainstorm on what truly made me happy. I’ve always loved fashion and wanted something with a heightened level of customer service. I wanted a boutique experience but didn’t want a brick & mortar store to start off. I’ve always been intrigued by any type of mobile business and thus the research started! I decided it was time to start chasing my own dream and not someone else’s.”
Do your research.
Research is the platform on which you are going to launch (or not launch) your idea. It provides you with crucial information to help navigate your future business and evaluate the market opportunity. Start with audience research. Does your idea solve an existing problem for your target audience? Can they relate or identify with what your product, business or site offers? You don’t need to come up with a revolutionary new idea. Think of a problem that exists in your life and how you can apply your passions to solve this problem. When conducting your research, don’t forget to look into your competitors. Get an idea of the market to estimate potential marketshare. See how companies are marketing similar products and/or services. What are their pricing structures?
When speaking to Bethany, she emphasized the importance of research in her journey:
“You need to have a solid, well-researched business plan assembled. Expect that things will always cost more than your budget. After researching for over a year, I was confident in my decisions.”
Find a customer
At least one. Test the validity of your product or idea by seeing if people will buy it. Of course we agree that your idea is brilliant, but sometimes even the most brilliant of ideas fall flat when introduced IRL. You will want to get real and honest feedback before going too far down the business development path. If your idea isn’t working, don’t give up. Often concepts just need a little retooling to better serve a market need. Feedback, feedback, feedback.
Be confident in your decision.
Following your instincts with confidence and conviction is not as easy as it sounds. The thought of quitting your job can be scary. You’re opening yourself up to uncertainty and the chance of failure. Try to remember, as often is the case in life, there’s no such time as “the perfect time.” So decide you are 100% committed to doing it and hunker down and bust it out! Be confident in your decision and fight the mindset of “not being enough” or “imposter syndrome.”
We asked Bethany what was the best part of starting her own business, she answered with:
“Showing my daughter it’s okay to chase your dreams even if they don’t make sense to everyone else, is the best part of breaking free from my corporate job. They are your dreams. I started this journey at 40. For me, it was the right time, and anyone can do it.”
Starting a side hustle while maintaining your corporate career gives you a glimpse into full-time entrepreneurship. You’re able to keep a sense of stability both financially and emotionally while exploring alternative, and potentially more fulfilling avenues of employment. If you’ve been contemplating starting your own business, a side hustle is the ideal stepping stone to financial freedom.
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