News Flash! You do not have to spend the rest of your life working in a cubicle from nine to five every day. Neither do you have to settle for working in a miserable profession that barely pays the bills. Have you ever thought about turning your passions into a business? Is there something you enjoy doing so much you currently do it for free? Have you every thought about how much income you could earn from your hobbies? Passion is one of the key ingredients to becoming a successful entrepreneur! When we are passionate about something , we find enjoyment in sharing our talents with others. So, why should we stop there when we can start making money doing what we enjoy? Let¹s explore what it will take to turn your hobby into a business. With the appropriate planning and an entrepreneurial mindset, you can be on your way to starting a successful business with passion as your foundation.
Tip One: Save! Save! And Save!
Before you decide to leave a corporate career or any job to start your own business, be sure to save at least 12 to 18 months of salary. As an entrepreneur, the checks will stop coming every two weeks and there may be times when the checks wont show up as planned. If you have sufficient savings, you will be prepared for those "Rainy days" which are almost guaranteed to happen. In addition, most of the capital that will be used to start your business will come from your own pockets. You want to make sure you can appropriately fund your business with the start up funds needed to get your business off the ground.
Tip Two: Create a Business Plan
A business plan is a snapshot that potential investors and banks look at in order to predict where your business is headed and what it will look like in the future. "If you Fail to plan, you Plan to fail". Most businesses are unsuccessful because their business plans were incomplete or ineffective. In addition, Your business plan sets the strategic plan and direction for your business to help you make appropriate decisions with the end goals in mind.
The Main Components of a Business Plan are:
- The Mission Statement/Vision Statement
- The Organizational Plan
- The Competition
- Market Analysis/Market Plan
- The Financial Plan
- Executive Summary
The Mission Statement articulate the purpose of the company¹s existence, their target audience as well as the products and services.
The Vision Statement is the guiding force behind the mission statement that focuses on the values, aims and the future direction of the company.
The Organizational Plan - is a description of your business, products and services and the goals of the company. In this section, the long term objectives for the company are recorded along with the formulation of the company¹s strategies, tasks and functions.
The Competition - refers to researching other businesses that offer similar services and products within market. This is comparing prices and other marketing techniques.
The Market Analysis is the study of the market in its entirety that relates to the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats that may arise when launching your business.
The Market Plan - is an essential part because this is where you develop strategies on how to solicit consumers and business. THIS IS WHERE YOU ADVERTISE!!!!! Use all public relation resources and social media to market your brand. Social media has become the voice to the general public to connect with current and prospective clients. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube allow you to create a presence in the google domain, which will help customers find you on the web. Incorporate social media in your strategy and invest in a good publicist to let the media know about your business.
The Financial Plan - is the spine of the business plan because it is a blue print of your business' current and future financial state. It is based upon the business' balance sheet, income statement and cash flows. In other words, the financial plan captures how much money is needed to start the business including all start up expenses. In addition, the financial plan will forecast proposed revenue for years to come to assess growth potential.
The Executive Summary - is the final piece of the puzzle, and the most important part because it summarizes all the sections of your business plan by extracting the main points. Prospective investors determine whether your business is profitable based upon this section of the document. Make sure that your main points are clear, concise and creative!
Tip Three: Hire an Accountant
From day one, you need to make sure that you are recording all financial information pertaining to your business. Exceptional book and record keeping skills is essential. An accountant can help you with tax planning, business plan review, bookkeeping, payroll and other functions that relate to the disbursement of money. As mentioned earlier, the financial plan is important because it is a blue print of your business, therefore having an accountant allows you to maintain order not only in your business but it also gives you a piece of mind that your finances are in good hands.
Tip Four: Live Your Dream!
Now it's time to live your dreams. Take all the tips that you have been given above and make your dreams come alive. Businesses are built based on creative and innovative ideas that were given wings to fly. Let your passion, ideas, skills and hobbies allow you to spend your life doing things you love to do as an entrepreneur. Your hobby may be the stepping-stone needed to start a successful career as your own boss!
[About Akilah C. Thompson: Akilah C. Thompson is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Carolina A & T State University where she earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Business Economics. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, Certified Life Coach, Licensed Zumba Instructor, and Inspirational Speaker. She is the Founder & CEO of her trademark company ACT Inspires Inc and nonprofit, Generations Inspired Inc. Akilah is also a model, actor, and author. Her life goal is to inspire and empower others to be Ambitious , Courageous & Talented. For more information, please visit Act Inspires.]