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From 9-5 to a Life that's Mine - First Steps as a Small Business

Working 9-5? Not the ONLY way to Make a Living!

Tell us if this is you…

You work the 9-to-5 grind at a job that doesn’t seem to be very fulfilling, but you stick with it because the pay is decent, and it covers what you need. However, you always have that dream to open up your own business, but you are worried that it would be too expensive to start, and worried that it wouldn’t work…

Or is this you…

You’re graduating, or just about to graduate, and you have this idea of starting your own business. However, you are unsure how to get started…

If any of these statements are you: then THIS is something you’ll want to hear!

In a world where the 9-to-5 grind is commonplace, that doesn’t have to be that way for you.

If you prefer to be a trailblazer than following the path, then you might be ready to dive into the world of entrepreneurship!

Entrepreneur, take a STEP towards the future!

Starting your own business gives you a clear step forward on your career journey. You don’t have to worry about endless job searching, and countless interviews only to either be left hanging whether you are even hired or not.

For those who will be graduating into the working world, it can be daunting with so many directions you could take. By being an entrepreneur, instead of searching for that career you are making yourself from the ground up and forging your path ahead.

Plus, being a business owner means that you have tremendous job security. After all, you can't be fired because you are the boss!

What if you don’t want to make your business a full-time investment? That’s OK too! In a study by SEMrush, young professionals (referring to millennials and Gen Z) are more likely to form the business as a “side hustle” rather than a conventional business.

Entrepreneur, be FREE in your work!

One of the best things about entrepreneurship is that you are free to make your business however you want it to be! From a food truck near the park to a café along the street, the sky’s the limit on what you want to create for your business.

You have the freedom to take your passions and make them a reality. Instead of working to pursue someone else’s vision, you can take the reins yourself and follow your vision.

Not sure how to turn your passions into a business? An article by HubSpot provides a bevy of business ideas to help you figure out what kind of business you want to make!

Moreover, having full control of your business means that you can set your own schedule. This makes managing your work-life balance easier as opposed to trying to adjust your time with your employer’s schedule and working your life around that. However, it must be said that the success of the business is determined by how much time you want to invest in it.

Entrepreneur, you are NOT alone!

A common reason why people are hesitant in starting their own business is the lack of resources to start. This reason is perfectly valid because in business “it takes money to make money”.

However, if you do a little research, you can find a wealth of financial aid and organizations that are geared to help people like you get started on your business. Since there are so many, I will only mention the most prominent organizations and financial aid that is out there.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses.

The SBA was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small business concerns, preserve free competitive enterprise, and maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.

The different functionalities that they perform are:

  • Business Counseling – Where you can get businesses advice and mentoring from top organizations and experts to guide you on your journey.

  • SBA-guaranteed business loans – If you need a boost money-wise, the SBA will match you with the right lender for you to help fund your business with an affordable loan.

  • Contracting help – They also help demystify the legal jargon when it comes to contracts so you can gain a competitive edge in the market.

These are just a few of the many services that the SBA can do for you! Visit their website to learn more.

Just like the SBA, SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is another renowned organization geared to helping prospective entrepreneurs. This organization is run by retired successful business executives who volunteer their time to pass on their knowledge and experiences to the next generation of business owners.

The best part about SCORE is that they are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the SBA. Through their generous support, coupled with the selfless contributions of our more than 10,000 dedicated volunteers, they can deliver most of their services at no cost.

The services that SCORE provide include but are not limited to…

  • Mentoring – Entrepreneurs can access free, confidential business mentoring at more than 250 local chapters or remotely via email, phone, and video. All of their mentors are experts in entrepreneurship and related fields who will meet with their clients on an ongoing basis to ensure a consistent support system

  • Webinars and Courses On-Demand – SCORE regularly offers free online workshops on subjects ranging from strategies to marketing and finance. Attendees can watch webinars live, or view recordings online on their own time. They also offer interactive courses on-demand, so you can walk through each module at your own pace.

  • Online Resources – SCORE provides an extensive collection of guides, templates, checklists, blogs, videos, infographics, and more. We strive to provide the most relevant and current educational content to help small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed.

  • Local Events – Many local SCORE chapters hold free or low-cost in-person workshops and roundtable discussions covering a range of topics.

If you feel that you are secure in what you are doing, and all you need is just a boost to get you started, there are grants you can apply for to give you the capital needed to purchase the resources for your business. The best part is that, unlike a loan, you don’t need to pay a grant back! Here is a great source that can help your research to find the grant that is right for you.

  • – This is a comprehensive database administered by various government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sometimes companies (corporate and nonprofit) offer grant money to small businesses. Notable examples are:

  • Grant Program

  • Backstage Capital

  • The Barstool Fund

  • KKR Small Business Builders

  • Walmart Local Community Grants

  • Any many more!

These examples can be found on the CO website which is an organization founded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

However, the drawback is that this grant money is not a guaranteed thing! You must apply for these grants and it’s uncertain that you will receive them. Although since there are so many grants to apply you would be increasing your odds of winning that grant, so they are worth looking into.

Starting your business can be a frightening idea especially when you don’t know where to start or if you ever get the funds you need. With organizations like SBA and SCORE and grants giving you that start you need; You can be assured knowing that whatever business you decide to make, you are not alone!

Entrepreneur, put your SKILLS to use!

When people think about starting a business, they assume that it takes a college degree to do it. While it is a good way to get started, it’s not the only way. Whether you have decided to attend college or not, it’s all about how well you utilize the skills that you have.

Whether it’s a talent that you are born with or a skill that was taught to you, Everyone has the potential to use their unique gifts to create an awesome business! During the brainstorming process, ask yourself these questions?

  • What skills do I have?

  • Can I use these skills to provide a good or service?

  • Who is my business made for?

  • Can my skills fulfill a need of that market?

Once you answer these questions, you are on your way to building your business. If you are unsure of these questions, sources like SBA and SCORE mentioned above will assist you in your brainstorming.

Additionally, even when you have your business off the ground you will acquire new skills during the life of your business. The most common skills that entrepreneurship provides are:

  • Critical Thinking – Since you are taking the reins in your business, you will be presented with a variety of situations that will examine your reasoning and broaden your perspective as you and your business mature.

  • Creativity – Entrepreneurship teaches you to be creative. It’s one thing to have an idea that can launch your business, but to keep your business afloat and prospering, you will learn how to mold and make your business set apart from the rest.

  • Adversity – Whether it’s an unsatisfied customer, or a bad word said about your business, you learn how to deal with adversity. You will also learn the right time is to act on a problem, or when to leave it be.

Starting out, no one expects you to know everything right off the bat. As long as you define your skills and are open to learning new skills, you will do fantastic!

Entrepreneur, your community needs YOU!

While it seems that big corporations get the spotlight, it is the small businesses that form the backbone of U.S. commerce. Going back to our SEMrush statistics, As of 2020, there were 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. That is approximately 99.9% of all businesses. While corporations help the country on a national scale, small businesses are the ones that help the country on a local scale. Here are the ways that your business could impact your community.

  • Create jobs – Your business has the potential to create employment for those who need it. In exchange for you paying them for their work, you will receive a great team that will take your business to the next level!

  • Fulfilling needs – When deciding the kind of business you want to make, consider what is a need that hasn’t been filled in your community. For example, if there is a lack of a café or a place to lounge in your area, this might give you the idea to make your business about that vacancy.

  • Networking – Entrepreneurship grants you the opportunity to meet new people. This will be your chance to engage with your target customers and get to know them. You may even meet people that can boost your business by offering their services, or influencers that can raise awareness for your brand.

A business doesn’t just benefit itself, but those around it as well!

Concluding Thoughts

It may seem that working 9-to-5 may be the only career path in life, but it doesn’t have to be your career path. You can take your dreams and passions and make them happen!

To conclude our discussion Billy Rae, founder of BRIM DESIGN has a few words to say for you future entrepreneurs:

"Don't be afraid to fail. You absolutely, without a doubt, at some point will fail. The trick of it is learning to fail forward. To take those less-than-ideal circumstances and turn them into lessons and improvements for your business. That kind of mentality will shape the rest of your life." - Billy Rae Whitaker


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