By Ruchira Agrawal (CEO, InnerVeda Communications) After 19 years of corporate work experience in marketing and recruiting, the time finally arrived when I found myself in a position to be able to take my part time effort and turn it into a full time lifestyle business.
As I began planning, I got clear on a few things. I knew I wanted to build something around my passion and talents, create work that was enjoyable and that made a difference, and at the same time provide flexibility to work from anywhere. Getting this clarity helped me to launch my consulting and coaching business.
Three years into it, it may be safe to admit that I have caught the entrepreneurial bug. The journey has been strewn with all kinds of learning experiences, some I wish I had known about before I embarked on this journey. Having walked down this path, I hope to share some of what I’ve learnt along the way with aspiring business owners.
Here are 9 lessons learned about entrepreneurial glamour:
- Don’t forget your personal life goals -- As you are planning your business, make sure you have an alignment between your personal and business goals. Take your finances, health and family life into consideration as you think about starting a business. Everything and everyone needs to be on board with you making this leap.
- Get ready to eat, breathe and sleep work -- I don’t want to scare anybody here but starting a business and making it profitable takes full dedication. It’s like nurturing a new born baby that requires 100% of your energy, love, time and patience and more.
- If the timing isn’t right for whatever reasons, don’t quit your day job -- Everyone’s situation is different with regards to their finances and personal life, so you will have to see what works and how much risk you can take. It may be prudent to work your business part time until you feel your business can build, grow and sustain before you go full time.
- Chat with some real life entrepreneurs -- Although there is so much great information out there but sometimes one on one interaction helps get an inside look into a business owner’s life.
- Don’t think about doing it all by yourself -- I thought I could do it all but quickly realized otherwise. You want to make sure you have the necessary support so you can focus on sales. If you can hire employees, that’s great, if you can’t, there are many virtual assistant services available that are not that expensive and you can hire on a need basis, so it’s not a big investment either.
- Are you suited for this career path? -- So many want to start a business, but not all people are cut out for it. Find out if you are before you do anything else. Prepare yourself for this career path. Many are unable to handle the pressures, risks and uncertainty that com es along with being self-employed.
- Have a passion for your services and products --Passion will be the only thing that will motivate and keep you going especially when your sales are taking time to build, despite working 80 hours a week.
- Listen to your customers -- You may start with an idea but your customers will tell you what they want and perhaps you may have to modify your original thoughts. Be flexible and don’t be afraid to ask them for feedback.
- Don’t get caught up in what I call "entrepreneurial glamour" -- These are the perks, flexibility, unlimited income potential, and so forth. You can get all of these but it takes a lot of hard work and time to get there. Be realistic in your approach.
No matter what size or kind of business you decide upon, the experience that one gains by becoming an entrepreneur is invaluable; it stretches you in professional and personal ways that a day job can’t.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, that is a part of learning, nobody gets everything right all the time.
Just prepare well on various aspects, be realistic, find out if being in business is your cup of tea and move forward with confidence.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Ruchira Agrawal is the CEO of InnerVeda Communications, helping aspiring women business owners take their idea to business. She holds an MBA and 21 years of work experience. Ruchira writes for several online and print media and has been published in NYDailynews, Examiner, More, Yahoo’s Associated Content and major job boards such as Monster and SimplyHired. Read more about Ruchira at her blog. Follow her on Twitter at @ruchiraagrawal.