Starting Your Own Business
By Michael T. Robinson
Are you ready to run your own business?
Many of our career counseling clients have expressed a strong interest in owning their own businesses.
Have you ever wanted to run your own business?
Do you dream of being self employed?
At CareerPlanner we have decided to help people move towards owning their own businesses. There are just too many benefits to ignore. Plus the declining world economy is going to eliminate thousands of jobs in larger companies.
If you own your own business you are much less likely to be fired or outsourced.
Are you already fairly well paid, but hate your job?
I think most of our career counseling clients fall into this category. They are making a decent living but something about their job is killing them.
If you are making a good salary, but you work for someone else, you can probably identify with at least one of these "employee" problems:
- You are probably living beyond your means
- You are paying too much in taxes
- You are not far from living pay check to pay check
- You can't see a clear path to retirement
- Your hard work, your contributions and your results are not well recognized
- Changes in management are not working out
- The new boss wants you to prove yourself over and over again
- You are worried that you might be fired due to age
- You are an "employee" what is also known as a "wage slave"
Why don't more people become self employed?
The fact is that once you become successful in your career, you will find yourself in a position where you can not afford to quit and start a business of your own.
You've got the mortgage, the kids education, back taxes etc.
Like most people in our modern consumer culture you have probably become used to spending most of what you earn.
So there is no money left to support you while you start a new business.
So what do you do?
First, Determine If Owning A Business Is a Good Fit
Do you know if you are an entrepreneur and if you have the personality for owning a business?
A lot of people I know think they are entrepreneurs. They talk about starting businesses, but they never quite get around to it.
The purpose of this article is not to sell our career services, but I do have to suggest that you take our career test to determine if you are suited to the entrepreneurial type.
Our career test will show you how you rank based on six different career types. If you get a high score for the "Enterprising" career type then you probably do have the entrepreneur gene. If you have a low "Enterprising" score, keep your day job or find a partner who can compensate for your weakness.
As a second step we need to figure out if your personality is a match for owning your own business. Sorry for this sales pitch, but you should take our Free Personality Type Test to ensure your personality is a good fit.
Why is this important? Running a business involves a lot of other skills than the ones you are used to using. Specifically there are a lot of marketing and sales activities. If you are highly introverted (as determined by your 4 letter personality type) then you will want to find a partner who can compensate because you just won't feel comfortable doing the type of work that an extraverted person loves.
What Kind Of Business Can I Start ?
Here are your choices:
- Develop a unique product or service of your own
- Buy a franchise
- Buy an existing business
- Start a home based business
Develop a unique product or service of your own
This is my personal favorite because you can end up with a highly differentiated product to sell. However it takes lots of creativity and vision.
Try to self fund your idea so that you truly own the business. If you have to go out for venture capital funding then you won't be the owner, they will. Working in a start-up funded by VC's is just another form of employment.
Buy A Franchise
Never having done a franchise I can only report what I have seen.
Once while on vacation in Maui I met an ex high school principal who owned 7 Baha Fresh fast food franchises. Needles to say he was quite happy.
He got the funding from a bank. He said his secret was that he was very good at writing proposals and business plans that the parent company and the banks just loved. Also, he was very good at picking locations.
Another friend of mine bought a 31 Flavors Ice Cream Franchise. Unfortunately, the location was not very good. It was a dated strip mall that was losing traffic due to newer malls. My friend described this experience as working real hard to make money for someone else.
With franchises, it's location, location, and location.
Also, I have been told you need to own three or more stores to make it work.
Start a Home Based Business
One solution that many people have been trying is to start a part time business of your own and run it out of your home.
Many of these are Multi Level Marketing (MLM) business, otherwise known as Network Marketing.
Basically for a small fee you buy into an established company with an established product or service. Then you market and sell that.
The beauty is that the parent company sets you up for business.
Some of these MLM's look a lot like pyramid schemes, but others look like they have more substance and potential for generating income. The verdict is still out, but we will suggest a few that might work for you.
Watch out for those that require you buy a truckload of inventory to sell.
(Recent Update )
OK, the verdict is in. Most Multi Level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing businesses will only waste your time, energy and money.
I haven't studied all Network Marketing opportunities, but what I can tell you is this:
Over the years I have seen a number of friends, associates and friends of friends go into Network Marketing / MLM's. They always try to recruit me.
In most MLM's you get paid for recruiting. If you don't recruit, you don't make much money. The product or service is usually just a front to allow the company to sidestep "pyramid" laws.
After my friends have done MLM for a year or so, I ask them how they are doing. In every case, they have had to move on to something else. In many cases they invested a lot of time and even some money.
So here is what I have to say:
If you have a few extra hours each night, and you want to earn some extra money, I suggest you learn a brand new skill that will then give you a better career that will let you earn enough.
Don't waste your money, your time, and your life on Network Marketing. For the most part, it's for scam artists, fast talkers and con men.
Instead learn a tangible skill. For example, get trained to be a medical technologist, a nurse or a bookkeeper who runs Quickbooks for small firms.
But stay away from Multi Level Marketing / Network Marketing programs, regardless of how good they sound and regardless of any celebrity names that are attached.