Talking tech since 2003

Entrepreneurship can be incredibly rewarding. It isn’t necessarily easy, but many find that the rewards more than make up for the challenges that it poses. If you are looking to become your own boss – whether on a full-time basis or in a part-time capacity – you may find these tips helpful. They can give you insight on where to focus your energies and how best to accomplish the goals you set for yourself.

Finding an Outlet for Your Talents

Perhaps the first thing that you should do if you’re thinking of becoming your own boss is determining what type of business will be right for you. Do you want to provide a product or a service? If you design your own jewelry or are an amateur photographer who is looking to monetize your talent, the answer to this question may already be obvious to you. But what if you don’t have a particular talent or product to sell?

If this is the case, you still have choices, believe it or not. Companies like Amway provide an easy pathway to business ownership through their diverse product catalogs. If you are interested in getting into direct sales but have no product to sell, this path may be right for you. Choosing the outlet that is best for your needs – Amway, Etsy, Ebay, or a service of your own – is the first step in becoming your own boss.

Staying Organized

Once orders start coming in and appointments start getting scheduled, you’re going to need a way to track your increasingly busy schedule – particularly if you continue to maintain a full-time job during the work week. You may try to simply remember your obligations, but this is likely to prove difficult to impossible. Thankfully, there are a whole suite of mobile apps that can help you organize your life.

For handling your finances, you may want to consider apps like Mint or Quickbooks (both owned by Intuit). Proven platforms that are easy to use, these apps can even help you create and send invoices, which is a crucial component of bookkeeping. For managing your daily tasks, apps like Todoist make it easy to create and check off tasks as you go. Staying organized will allow you to focus on what matters most – finding new business and selling yourself. Which brings us to our next tip.

Marketing Yourself

Selling yourself involves marketing. Thankfully, social media makes it easier than ever to connect with your audience. Don’t be afraid to start small; if you are expecting thousands of followers overnight, you are going to be disappointed. However, if you are patient and willing to grow your follower base slowly over time, you will likely find that social media is a terrific – and incredibly affordable – marketing platform.

To market yourself effectively, pinpoint what it is that you want to say, who you want to tell it to, and then determine the best way to go about doing it. You may be inclined to start a Twitter or Instagram account, simply because those platforms are so well known, but does your product or service lend itself to these platforms? Do your customers use these platform? Tailor your marketing efforts around your audience; don’t force your audience to tailor their online behaviors around you. Find where they are and go to them.

Know When to Take a Break

Running your own business, even on a part-time basis, is often a full-time job. You will at various times find that you are tired and overwhelmed. For your own good, remember to take time off for yourself – otherwise, you may not be able to give your company the time and energy that it deserves (and needs to succeed). If you are “on the clock” at all hours of the day, you could be doing yourself more harm than good.

To ensure that you are maintaining a healthy and sustainable work-life balance, consider taking advantage of sleeping aid apps, like Sleep Cycle. Being well-rested has a host of health benefits, including improved energy, stamina, and mental aptitude. For the best chance of success, your company needs a stable captain at the helm – you can’t fulfill this role unless you are well-rested and mentally sharp.

Developing a Financial Plan

Obviously, you’re going to want your business to make a profit. This requires sound financial planning. The apps discussed above – Mint and Quickbooks, to name just two examples – can aid in invoicing, budgeting, and money tracking, but it’s important that you look at your finances not just from ground level, but from 30,000 feet as well. For example, what are your expenses? What is your monthly income? What is your debt? All of these metrics will factor into the ultimate sustainability (and feasibility) of your company.

To get a quick overview of what your finances look like – and what sort of revenue may be needed on a monthly or yearly basis to break even – use a budget calculator to run quick calculations. With such a tool, you can gauge what your monthly costs will be, how much you can afford to pay yourself, how much money should be held in reserve for expenses, and other crucial financial decisions. Once you determine these fundamentals, you can then use money management tools to dive into the details.

You Can Be Your Own Boss

It may seem daunting, but starting your own business isn’t out of the realm of possibility. There will certainly be challenges along the way, but you can help your chances of success by leveraging the right tools and doing some planning in advance. Use mobile apps and software to manage the day-to-day and month-to-month operations, leverage social media for marketing and customer outreach, and remember to set aside time for yourself. Do these and you may be surprised at your success.

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