Running a small business runs in my blood. My dad took a major risk to start his own flight school. My mom owns her own photography business and my father-in-law, who is incidentally a modern day Paul Bunyan, owns a roofing and painting business. I set out to be an attorney but I ended up starting a furniture refinishing business recently (you can read about how God opened that door here). It is thrilling and at the same time incredibly time and thought consuming.
So, are you interested in starting your own business? Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
1. How will my business make money?
This seems obvious but it isn’t. Ask yourself, how am I going to convert a product or service into, in the words of the Old Man in Pawn Stars, “cash money“? What talents do you have that other people would pay their hard earned money to secure? Are you really good at cleaning? Do people always say, “I’d pay you to come clean my house.” What if one day you answered that sentiment with “okay, when should I come over?”
Do you make incredible custom desserts for parties? Consider offering this as a service for busy moms. As a military spouse, I am totally blown away by the ingenuity of spouses who make their own businesses work while moving around all over the place. Some make dream catchers, some offer organizational services, some offer pay-by-the-hour services for new moms in which they run errands for new moms during those crazy first days after birth. When you find a talent that you think others will pay for, test it out on a small scale. Write a blog post (if you blog) or post a status update on Facebook saying that you’re offering X. Include a nice quality photo of the product or a written description of the service and request that those interested comment or email you for a quote. You might be surprised at the positive outcome!
2. What are my financial goals?
Work isn’t all about but money, but it kind of is. Figuring out how much money you need to bring in to support yourself and/or your family will determine if you can start a business and the nature of that business. If you are married or single and need your full-time income to survive, you may need to start your business after hours while still working full-time until your business grows to the point that you can quit your day job.
If you are starting your business as a stay-at-home mom or wife who already lives on one income, then you won’t be under as much pressure to turn out the big numbers right away. Don’t get my wrong, you can be the sole income earner and start your business from scratch without any other income. My dad did this and is now successful. He also spend seven long, hard years struggling to pay the bills with three little kids until the business regularly started turning a profit.
Conversely, when we got to Hawaii, we were already living on one income. I invested around $400 of our own income into getting my business set up. I then used my profits from the furniture I refinished with that $400 to dump back into the business (buying supplies and paying start up expenses). Starting my business was extremely low risk for us – if I would have failed, we’d only be out $400. But the risk level matched my income goal level. The goal of my business is to save enough profit to put a good chunk of money on a house when we move to the mainland while only living on my husband’s income and being the main care taker of our baby.
There are many ways to start a business and I hope these questions got you thinking about the numbers and what you are willing to risk or not risk in starting your business. Fun!
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