Dreams of never having to answer to a boss again are inspiring, but anybody who has tried — even those who later became billionaires — will tell you that visions of grandeur quickly become grounded by real-world obstacles.
Fortunately, today’s entrepreneurs are more enterprising and daring than ever, and the rewards of taking the plunge are undeniable. But as you begin your journey to becoming independent, self-sustaining and — ultimately — rich, you must remain realistic. The “soon to be an entrepreneur” planning phase will be key to your future success. Don’t over-extend yourself and get deep into debt before making some headway to determine just how much potential your fledging venture actually has.
Some investments will be necessary right off the bat. This is unavoidable. But without pre-existing financing or a trust fund, you have to be frugal. The following tips will prove invaluable as you try to get your enterprise off the ground:
Don’t Quit Your Job — Yet
To truly turn your idea into a global juggernaut, you will need to dedicate all your time to growing your business. But don’t get ahead of yourself. The early legwork should be done before you quit your day job. Devote nights, weekends and vacation time to your passion. Not only will this give you a stable runway — and some ongoing income — to take off from once you’re ready, it will also give you time to ensure that this is really the concept and lifestyle you believe in. Everyone has motivation at the beginning. But you will actually realize whether or not this is for you over the first year as you sacrifice sleep and leisure time to build the foundation of your company.
Secure 24/7 Connectivity
Don’t over-invest in unnecessary technology. Especially in the early days, most companies don’t require a whole array of devices and gadgets to run operations. Really, all most people need is a smartphone and a laptop these days, and your phone will be the most critical in terms of remaining connected 24/7. As the driving force behind all operations, you must be able to address any concerns in real time, meaning that features like Wi-Fi calling are critical when you find yourself in areas with spotty service or during business travel overseas.
Trade and Barter When Possible
No matter what business you’re in, it should be capable of providing value. In the beginning, use this to your advantage. Let’s say you are starting a catering company. You will need a website. But if you’re a food expert, chances are that coding and web design aren’t your forte. Rather than paying an expert to create your website, consider trading programming for catering services. Find an independent provider who is willing to build your page in exchange for catering their daughter’s birthday party or similar event. This way you’ll only be giving up your time — not your limited capital — while also getting some valuable experience hosting an event.
Leverage the Gig Economy
Some things can’t be bartered for and will require cash layouts, particularly ongoing services like accounting, graphic design and other aspects of running a company outside of your core competency. Whenever possible, try to get the best price by using the so-called “gig economy.” You may need logos, marketing materials and packaging, for example, but it is too early to hire someone for this. Instead, look for qualified pros on networks like Freelancers.com or Upwork.com who can provide deliverables on a one-off basis. You can get great results and save money — then reinvest those savings back into your budding million-dollar idea.