Are you bored of your corporate career? Feeling stagnant in your current job? Or simply ready for the adventure of being an entrepreneur?
Starting your own business could be a great step towards writing your future and live the life you desire. One of the most common questions I hear is how do you become an entrepreneur? It’s not so easy and not for everyone, but I have a few steps to get you started.
Keep reading for my top tips on how to become an entrepreneur!
Before you can take action and become an entrepreneur, you can’t simply jump out without an idea or a direction. As much as we love an action taker, it’s super important to nail down the important stuff ahead of time whenever possible.
Now is the time to get clear on your vision and ask the big questions, like what your passions are, who you want to work with everyday, environments you thrive in, and even things like the impact you want to have. You may be looking at taking skills earned in corporate and turning it into a business, or a total career change.
It’s important to be really clear in this step of the process, even if you still have a lot to figure out. Something we always want to keep within view is the vision. The true goal of being an entrepreneur isn’t making the big bucks (even though we love seeing women writing their futures and having financial freedom!). It’s having the life you want to have, the time off and flexibility you desire, and the ability to make an impact on people.
“Entrepreneurship is ultimately about having the life you want to have, the time off and flexibility you desire, and the ability to make an impact.”-MILA YOLI
Now that you have an idea of your vision, we’re ready to validate your idea. At this point, you may have some thoughts around what you’d like your company to sell, whether in the realm of products or services. You may know others offering the service you have in mind, and in that case, you may be further along in the idea process. However, for those with more experimental or niche concepts, you’ll want to be sure people are ready to buy what you’re offering, when you offer it.
For example, if you wanted to be a wedding stationer, you could easily look online and identify other companies offering this service. You may do a quick Google search and see that there are many, many people doing the same thing you want to do, but that’s actually a good thing. That’s because it means there is demand for what you’re offering.
While there are the kinds of people who will order invites from a company like Minted or even Hallmark, there are clients out there spending big on their wedding budget who would prefer a custom invitation with calligraphy, for instance. So those are your people, not the ones ordering on big-box websites.
In a way, the existence of such companies is as much of a validation as anything. Still, I always preach the importance of leveraging your network, reaching out to people in real time, and having conversations with people to zero in on your brand clarity.
One thing to keep in mind? Don’t take everything people say as gospel. For example, I’ve found in customer research, it’s not always helpful to ask people how much you should charge for something.
More discerning clients will have an idea of what is valuable to them, but more often than not, you may get people telling you to undercharge so they can get the service they want. When it comes to things like pricing, you’re better off consulting a mentor, business coach, or even a brand strategist like me!
In the course of conducting research and establishing what kinds of services or products you’d like to sell, a business plan is a great way to begin to understand your brand’s direction in terms of offerings, pricing, marketing strategies, and delivery methods.
Once you have some clarity around what your business will sell, you can then pursue branding. With my clients, we go through a comprehensive process of defining your offer, creating your business brand, building a client attraction plan, and cultivating a personal presence that makes people take notice.
However, you can also hire agencies to help you with brand strategy, messaging, visual and creative direction, your website, and more. I recommend investing in these things earlier in business to set the course right and build a foundation, but you can also bootstrap to validate your concept and then invest larger as you grow your business.
Whether you’re planning an exit strategy from a corporate job or simply turning this into your full-time career right from the start, these steps will get you in the direction of your dreams.
Take the first step.
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Mila Yoli is a brand and image strategist who helps creative entrepreneurs to create a brand that makes a lasting impression.
Mila Yoli is a psychology-rooted brand and image strategist who helps creative entrepreneurs to create a brand that makes a lasting impression.