The rise of new technologies encourages Millennials to find success in entrepreneurship. This is an amazing opportunity to challenge the existing standards, make a difference, and bring your passions and ideas to the world.
However, being an entrepreneur is not all rainbows and butterflies. Thinking about the benefits of being their own bosses, many inexperienced startup owners overlook problems, sacrifice, and anxiety they will be facing when starting out.
Here is how to overcome these obstacles and succeed as an entrepreneur.
1. Do what You’re Passionate About
Things you love to do may serve as an amazing source of inspiration for your future business ideas. If you’re passionate about something, you probably know a lot about it. So, instead of having to learn about your industry and business management from ground zero, you have an opportunity to use your existing knowledge and experiences to get your business rolling. Most importantly, you will be able to understand the major challenges your target industry is facing and tailor your product to their needs.
For example, if you’re in the content marketing industry, then you probably know that content developers waste time on repetitive tasks, such as keyword research, reporting, or KPI tracking. You may want to focus on building a tool that will automate these aspects of their jobs and save their time.
2. Find Yourself a Mentor
The knowledge you gained at college is usually not enough for you to succeed as a business owner. You need to understand how your target markets work in real life and know how people will react to your products.
Don’t be embarrassed to connect with the people in your industry and talk to them. Take advantage of alumni networks, industry-related conferences, and other relevant events and resources, where you can meet industry professionals. Find yourself a mentor – an experienced person that has already gone through the problems you’re facing right now and are eager to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
3. Never Underestimate the Power of Cash Flow
Did you know that one of the main reasons why startups fail during the first five years is the lack of resources? To succeed, you need to focus on keeping your cash flow positive.
For starters, think about your business expenses.
Say you’re running a beauty salon. First, you need to think about the salon supplies, inventory, and equipment you will need to operate your business. Second, think about fixed expenses, such as your rent or insurance plans. How much will you allocate to website building, SEO, PPC, or your printed materials?
Based on your business’ expense, you need to secure your funds on time. Even though many entrepreneurs decide for bootstrapping and asking friends or families for help, this is usually now enough to grow your business. You need to have a plan B. For example, you could take out a bank loan, apply for a government grant, find an angel investor, or even take advantage of crowdfunding.
Most importantly, you will need to invest in a financial forecasting tool that will tell you when your money comes in, when it goes out, and how much of your revenue remains when you cover all expenses.
4. Support your Ideas with Solid Market Research
Your business idea is only your starting point that needs to be based off thorough market research.
Ask yourself who your average customers are? Ask for customer feedback regularly in order to understand their most common problems, frustrations, fears, as well as their habits, interest, and objectives. Observe customers’ demographic data, such as their age, gender, location, marital status, etc. Based on the information you gather, you will need to segment your audiences based on the traits they share and create realistic buyer personas.
You will also need to observe the major players in your industry. For example, if you’re a vegan restaurant in LA, who are your major competitors? As you’re probably targeting the same groups of customers, observe their marketing efforts. How do they tailor their brand messaging to their audiences? What do their menus look like? What customer support services, deals, and loyalty programs do they offer? Ask yourself whether there are any gaps the industry isn’t addressing right now and how you could turn that to your advantage.
5. Take It Easy
Working for someone else, you had vacation days, sick days, and weekends. You enjoyed long lunch breaks with your colleagues and had always had time for water cooler chats. Now that you’re jumping into the entrepreneurial waters, things will change for you.
Being an entrepreneur means working longer hours to kickstart your business properly. It also means new responsibilities, higher pressures, and fears. Many inexperienced entrepreneurs that are afraid of failure are ready to sacrifice their personal life and health because of career ambitions. And, the saddest thing is that you won’t even notice how the quality of your life deteriorated.
When was the last time you worked out, ate something healthy, or went out with your friends?
You get the point.
Research says that burnouts are spreading among entrepreneurs like wildfire. Did you know that 72% of entrepreneurs suffer from mental health issues? To avoid that, try to take it easy. Disconnect from your work for a while. Visit a friend. Spend time with your family. Gain new experiences. Go out. Sleep more. Join a gym. Do anything that helps you relax.
Over to You
Pursuing an entrepreneurial career is not easy. However, if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur, the problems mentioned above won’t discourage you. Being your own boss can be deeply rewarding, you just need to get accustomed to your new responsibilities and lifestyle.