What you need to know on blackboard with businessmanIf you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you’re venturing out on your own into the world of entrepreneurship, or you’re considering it. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in an age where being your own boss and trailblazing in small business ownership is becoming more desirable. In fact, after weathering the Great Recession of 2007 through 2009, America’s entrepreneurs are on the rise, most specifically among women, minorities, and millennials. Regardless of what demographic you fall into, you’ll want to keep a toolbox of useful advice to guide you through your journey that all entrepreneurs could use – continue reading below to begin filling it!

1. Make all kinds of connections whenever and wherever you can

It sounds simple, but you may be surprised as to how many people neglect opportunities to forge important business relationships.The chance to make valuable connections can happen anywhere: the grocery store, post office, a high school reunion, your child’s school orientation, or even at the dog park! When you’re just starting a business, it’s in your best interest to remain as optimistic as possible about where your prospects could come from, and prepare yourself to shake hands with people anywhere. It’s also never a bad idea to carry a stack of business cards with you, and to have any social media profiles for your business (such as Facebook or Linkedin) ready for referral. Networking is crucial for your career growth, so make sure that if an opportunity for business arises, you pounce on it!

2. Develop and nurture your personal brand

What exactly does it mean to have a “personal brand” you ask? It means cultivating a brand image and reputation that will set you apart from others in the industry in which you aim to succeed. When thinking about how you can nurture your personal brand, ask yourself: “What is it that makes me special? What about my business should make others want to work with me? What can I do to obtain referrals and positive references from my customers? How will my business continue to differ from my competitors in the future?” Asking these questions will not only help you to establish your business’s identity, it’ll help you effectively prepare for when others ask you these same questions as an entrepreneur.

3. Use all available resources to your advantage

Does your brother-in-law know people who would would be interested in doing business with you? Is your best friend well versed in the industry you’re entering? Does your sister have a valuable skill set that can be an asset to you while you’re getting off the ground? As a small business owner, you’ll need all the help and support you can get, so it’s a good idea to use all the resources available to you. If you have family, friends, acquaintances or co-workers who are enthusiastic about helping you – don’t turn them down! Building your book of business will take a lot more than collecting names and phone numbers, and in the times when you may feel discouraged or downtrodden, having help will only solidify the foundation for your entrepreneurial efforts.

4. Immerse yourself in learning

One of the worst mistakes you could ever make as a business owner is the assumption that you know everything. You’ll be hard pressed to find a relevant and successful industry that doesn’t rely upon emerging technologies and innovation, so anticipate that you’ll have to maintain a vested interest in continuing to educate yourself. Whether you decide to audit a local community college class, keep your nose in the latest books, or take an online certification course, continuing to learn about your industry will only help you. One of the easiest way you can learn new information is to do a few searches every day on the internet, and keep tabs on the latest news and trends relevant to your business – you probably do it relatively often about other subjects anyways!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help

Often when starting a new business, we can can become convinced to go it alone and not ask for help from a place of pride – don’t do it! It’s understandable that you may encounter obstacles, setbacks, or disappointments, but accepting help from those willing to give it to you could get you on your way much faster than if you decide to rely solely upon yourself. Remember…”Professionals built the Titanic, amateurs built the ark.”

6. Instead of using your age as an excuse, use it to gain mentors and learn new things

Are you younger or older than most in your field? Either way, you can use your age to build your foundation of support by attracting mentors who can teach you and encourage you in your entrepreneurial ventures. By remaining open to the idea of allowing others to teach you what they know about the industry you’re getting into, you’ll be giving yourself access to other perspectives and approaches to your business. Mentorship can not only provide a wealth of experience you may be lacking, it puts yet more people in your corner when you’ll need it most!

7. Break the mold

Whether you’re new to the industry you’re in (or will be in) or you’re simply new to being an entrepreneur, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go outside the model now and then! While there’s sure to be tried and true “rules” or guidelines to follow, breaking the mold could lead you down a path you might not otherwise take. Ever heard of Steve Jobs? How about Joy Mangano? These entrepreneurs took anything but the conventional road to success, and you can bet that it was fraught with hardships, risk taking, and the ability to dust themselves off and try again when things didn’t go their way! You can always play it safe, but playing it safe may only get you so far while others get further by breaking the rules. As an aspiring entrepreneur, this is the time to test drive all the ideas you’ve been stockpiling and mulling over.

8. Supplement your income, if possible

If you’re able to work a part time job or supplement your income – do it! It’s unlikely you’ll meet anyone that will tell you being an entrepreneur is easy, and that includes the financial aspect of being a small business owner. If you can find a gig that will further enrich your main entrepreneurial efforts, it’ll only add to your skill set and could come in handy later on. Do you have a hobby or crafting ability you can profit from? Being able to earn extra income from something you are good at and enjoy will not only help to take the pressure off of using your small business as your main source of income, it can also provide a sense of security while you’re getting your feet wet as an entrepreneur. Websites such as Etsy and Uncommon Goods are great places to sell hand crafted goods or vintage items, and their communities are particularly inviting to newcomers and creatives.

9. Give all your ideas the stage, regardless of how crazy they seem

Are you a dreamer? Do you have what many would otherwise deem “lofty” ideas? If you haven’t encountered it already, you may be surprised to find that many entrepreneurs are met with the social stigma of failure – it’s nothing new. You should anticipate many people attempting to detract from your efforts, in fact, some can be downright rude and negative! Unfortunately, it comes with the entrepreneurial package. Those who detract and take away from your efforts as a small business owner aren’t always right, and you should know that some of the greatest minds of our time (Alexander Graham Bell, anyone?) had ideas met with severe criticism. As crazy as your ideas may seem, the impact you could have on the rest of the world could be unprecedented if you’re willing to let them see the light of day.

Learn about starting an insurance business with AmeriLife

What you need to know on blackboard with businessmanIf you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you’re venturing out on your own into the world of entrepreneurship, or you’re considering it. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in an age where being your own boss and trailblazing in small business ownership is becoming more desirable. In fact, after weathering the Great Recession of 2007 through 2009, America’s entrepreneurs are on the rise, most specifically among women, minorities, and millennials. Regardless of what demographic you fall into, you’ll want to keep a toolbox of useful advice to guide you through your journey that all entrepreneurs could use – continue reading below to begin filling it!

1. Make all kinds of connections whenever and wherever you can

It sounds simple, but you may be surprised as to how many people neglect opportunities to forge important business relationships.The chance to make valuable connections can happen anywhere: the grocery store, post office, a high school reunion, your child’s school orientation, or even at the dog park! When you’re just starting a business, it’s in your best interest to remain as optimistic as possible about where your prospects could come from, and prepare yourself to shake hands with people anywhere. It’s also never a bad idea to carry a stack of business cards with you, and to have any social media profiles for your business (such as Facebook or Linkedin) ready for referral. Networking is crucial for your career growth, so make sure that if an opportunity for business arises, you pounce on it!

2. Develop and nurture your personal brand

What exactly does it mean to have a “personal brand” you ask? It means cultivating a brand image and reputation that will set you apart from others in the industry in which you aim to succeed. When thinking about how you can nurture your personal brand, ask yourself: “What is it that makes me special? What about my business should make others want to work with me? What can I do to obtain referrals and positive references from my customers? How will my business continue to differ from my competitors in the future?” Asking these questions will not only help you to establish your business’s identity, it’ll help you effectively prepare for when others ask you these same questions as an entrepreneur.

3. Use all available resources to your advantage

Does your brother-in-law know people who would would be interested in doing business with you? Is your best friend well versed in the industry you’re entering? Does your sister have a valuable skill set that can be an asset to you while you’re getting off the ground? As a small business owner, you’ll need all the help and support you can get, so it’s a good idea to use all the resources available to you. If you have family, friends, acquaintances or co-workers who are enthusiastic about helping you – don’t turn them down! Building your book of business will take a lot more than collecting names and phone numbers, and in the times when you may feel discouraged or downtrodden, having help will only solidify the foundation for your entrepreneurial efforts.

4. Immerse yourself in learning

One of the worst mistakes you could ever make as a business owner is the assumption that you know everything. You’ll be hard pressed to find a relevant and successful industry that doesn’t rely upon emerging technologies and innovation, so anticipate that you’ll have to maintain a vested interest in continuing to educate yourself. Whether you decide to audit a local community college class, keep your nose in the latest books, or take an online certification course, continuing to learn about your industry will only help you. One of the easiest way you can learn new information is to do a few searches every day on the internet, and keep tabs on the latest news and trends relevant to your business – you probably do it relatively often about other subjects anyways!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help

Often when starting a new business, we can can become convinced to go it alone and not ask for help from a place of pride – don’t do it! It’s understandable that you may encounter obstacles, setbacks, or disappointments, but accepting help from those willing to give it to you could get you on your way much faster than if you decide to rely solely upon yourself. Remember…”Professionals built the Titanic, amateurs built the ark.”

6. Instead of using your age as an excuse, use it to gain mentors and learn new things

Are you younger or older than most in your field? Either way, you can use your age to build your foundation of support by attracting mentors who can teach you and encourage you in your entrepreneurial ventures. By remaining open to the idea of allowing others to teach you what they know about the industry you’re getting into, you’ll be giving yourself access to other perspectives and approaches to your business. Mentorship can not only provide a wealth of experience you may be lacking, it puts yet more people in your corner when you’ll need it most!

7. Break the mold

Whether you’re new to the industry you’re in (or will be in) or you’re simply new to being an entrepreneur, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go outside the model now and then! While there’s sure to be tried and true “rules” or guidelines to follow, breaking the mold could lead you down a path you might not otherwise take. Ever heard of Steve Jobs? How about Joy Mangano? These entrepreneurs took anything but the conventional road to success, and you can bet that it was fraught with hardships, risk taking, and the ability to dust themselves off and try again when things didn’t go their way! You can always play it safe, but playing it safe may only get you so far while others get further by breaking the rules. As an aspiring entrepreneur, this is the time to test drive all the ideas you’ve been stockpiling and mulling over.

8. Supplement your income, if possible

If you’re able to work a part time job or supplement your income – do it! It’s unlikely you’ll meet anyone that will tell you being an entrepreneur is easy, and that includes the financial aspect of being a small business owner. If you can find a gig that will further enrich your main entrepreneurial efforts, it’ll only add to your skill set and could come in handy later on. Do you have a hobby or crafting ability you can profit from? Being able to earn extra income from something you are good at and enjoy will not only help to take the pressure off of using your small business as your main source of income, it can also provide a sense of security while you’re getting your feet wet as an entrepreneur. Websites such as Etsy and Uncommon Goods are great places to sell hand crafted goods or vintage items, and their communities are particularly inviting to newcomers and creatives.

9. Give all your ideas the stage, regardless of how crazy they seem

Are you a dreamer? Do you have what many would otherwise deem “lofty” ideas? If you haven’t encountered it already, you may be surprised to find that many entrepreneurs are met with the social stigma of failure – it’s nothing new. You should anticipate many people attempting to detract from your efforts, in fact, some can be downright rude and negative! Unfortunately, it comes with the entrepreneurial package. Those who detract and take away from your efforts as a small business owner aren’t always right, and you should know that some of the greatest minds of our time (Alexander Graham Bell, anyone?) had ideas met with severe criticism. As crazy as your ideas may seem, the impact you could have on the rest of the world could be unprecedented if you’re willing to let them see the light of day.

Learn about starting an insurance business with AmeriLife

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