This is a guest post by SharleneT
Is Entrepreneurship for You?
First of all, I want to thank Stacy for the opportunity to be a guest blogger while she is busy adjusting to new mommyhood! I’m sure there will be lots of great blogs from her, in the future! My blog is about bringing solar cooking to the mainstream cooks and you can find me, here.Â But for this posting, I’m going to stick to her available topics and focus on entrepreneurship, something I’ve been all my life.
Ask someone why they want to run their own business working from home, and you’ll not only get a variety of answers but insight into whether or not that person can, in fact, run a successful home business. The most frequent responses:
“I can work when I want to and call the shots.”
“I’ll make more money.”
Truth is, if you don’t keep solid accountable hours just as the 9-to-5-ers do, you won’t be in business long. And, unless you’ve really invented a better mousetrap, when you own your own business, money goes out a lot faster than usually anticipated in the first few years and not everyone can handle having months of no income.
What is an entrepreneur?
There are so many sites available, today, to help young entrepreneurs that I’m not going to waste anyone’s time with the nuts and bolts of setting yourself up in business. I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life starting with selling the Punch-out Boards (considered gambling, nowadays), moving on to the annual Burpee’s flower and vegetable seeds, a newspaper route, safety-pin dolls… the list goes on.
So, how do you know if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? To me, the answer is basic: How often have you tried to sell your products or ideas to the public, from childhood to today? A true entrepreneur has been doing this from the time they’re old enough to ring a doorbell. They like to make money and be in charge of their own business. But, will they be successful?
Many entrepreneurs start out as ‘idea’ people. They have great vision and can seem to create products or services on the spot. Give them a new trend and they’ve got the banners, t-shirts, what-have-you, ready to go.
But, idea people aren’t necessarily the same people who can run a successful business. While they have what it takes to get things off the ground (it’s still a novelty with plenty of excitement happening), they often lack the personality that enjoys the daily grind of running the business.
More importantly, can you work alone? Do you have to have other people around to give you the old “kick in the pants” to get you started? You really have to know yourself and your limitations.
And, two problems arise at the outset: the need to know how to run a business and the need to know the difference between gross profit and net profit. If you have a problem with business management, you’ll be closing your doors within a year, or so. And, if you confuse gross profit with net profit (and I’ve had many friends who did this) you’re in a countdown to closing the doors.
An entrepreneur has to wear every position hat for the first few years of the business. And, the business that was started in the home on a shoestring can grow very quickly, if the product is worthwhile. This is the time to learn everything you can about small business management. If you’re the kind to hide your head in the sand and say you don’t have time to go through reports or meet with your accountant, you make yourself vulnerable to financial mismanagement.
Unless you have a lot of money set aside to cover salaries and matching payroll taxes, don’t hire someone until you literally cannot meet your deadlines. While the Internet gives the illusion of instant access, some businesses simply cannot deliver product the next day. Give yourself time to do a good job, so that customers return. And, if someone wants it done faster than your standard delivery rate, make sure they understand that you will be charging a Rush Fee.
There is nothing more exciting than starting your own business and watching it thrive and support you and your family. By just a little planning in the early stages and making sure you know where all your money is going, you will begin a business journey that is exciting, fulfilling, and something that will be a great source of pride for you and your family. And, you will, of course, be an entrepreneur.
With forty-plus years of entrepreneurship running service, retail, and consulting businesses, retirement meant crafting, gardening, and cooking to my heart’s content. But, then, a garden of fresh vegetables and a desire to do my share of saving the planet led me to solar cooking. Everything changed!
After three years of focused solar cooking, I wrote “A Month of SUNdays – Solar Cooking at Home” to show mainstream cooks that it was easily incorporated into their lives as a viable, immediate, solution to saving fossil fuels and it can lower utility bills up to 20% a month.
My readers suggested an online column for more solar recipes, tips and techniques. Voila! this Blog was born.Â Goodbye, retirement . . . Any questions? e-mail me at sjthomas[at]solarbaking.com