Earlier this week we discussed motivation (or lack thereof) that we sometimes encounter along our way.
It’s okay – we’re human.
But we need to shake off the rust and get back on track. With any luck you’ve found some inspiration this week and are ready to channel that energy into a project or starting a business.
Have you officially started a business yet?
Starting A Business
You should start with your Why.
Why are you going into business for yourself or with someone else? If your only focus and motivation is profit then I challenge you to search deeper.
If anything, the people or companies you serve should be the focus. But why you do it is important. It’ll mean the difference between burning out and abandoning your project or pushing through your darkest hour because your “why” is too deeply-rooted within you to give up.
As Janet Callaway helped point out to me recently, you have to make the distinction between your “why” and your “what.”
For example, what you’re doing is developing driverless cars to improve highway safety. Why you’re doing it, could be because you’re on a crusade to save lives since you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident.
Consider the amount of time and commitment required to see your business through to its first dollar of revenue. Will you flake out when it takes you several months to make a single sale? Will you accept helpful criticism or will you take it personally and quit?
When your day job requires you to work overtime or the kids get sick and you just want to go to bed and pull the covers over your head: will you find the strength to keep stepping toward your goals?
EXPECT that your business will require consistency and perseverance otherwise you’re going to learn it the hard way.
Business and Legal
This isn’t a course on how to legally structure your business (and I’m not certified to teach one) but you’ll want to give this some thought. If you’re earning money through your online dealings then you’re going to report that income to the IRS (if you’re in the United States).
The type of business you form will impact the taxes you pay, level of liability you assume, and the wonderful paperwork you fill out.
Will you form a Limited Liability Company/Partnership? Perhaps you’re going this alone and feel a Sole Proprietorship is all you need. You might be venturing with someone else and considering a Partnership.
Whatever the case, here are some informative resources to get you going (links below apply to U.S. businesses only):
State Government Resources (listed by State – pick yours from this page)
You’ll also need a business entity name. If you already own a business and name then, depending where you live, you could register to “Do Business As” or pay for a trade name under the umbrella of your main business.
Whether you self-brand with your own name (harder to sell off) or choose some clever one, give it thought. While you’re at it, see if a domain with your business name is available.
How will you know if you’re headed in the right direction with your business? Who can you trust to lead the way and are you familiar with the drawbacks? Consider hiring a coach or consultant to help you get up to speed.
Better yet, find someone that is already doing what you want to do. This person or company should exemplify what you plan to do and what you stand for in your chosen industry.
Warm up to your potential mentor. Show up online where they are. Comment on their corporate site or blog; friend them on the usual social media channels and add to the conversations around them. Or visit them at their place of business (gasp! Real world meeting) or offer to meet them for coffee.
Be bold with your approach. Interview them or ask questions by email (after identifying the point of contact) about the industry. Ask them what you should expect as a newcomer to the field.
Learning from an experienced person will help fill in the gaps you didn’t even know you had in your plan. You may find just a few words from them will give you all the push you need in the right direction (or they’ll send you running for the hills).
If you haven’t started your business yet, what are you waiting for?
Do you have any questions or a “heads up” for newcomers? Share your input in the comments.