When considering entrepreneurship people usually hesitate because of these two reasons. Let’s talk a bit about them and ponder how to work with them instead of allow them to be obstacles.
The Two Hesitations
People with an existing full-time job in particular think that both time and money are potentially complete hindrances to starting a business. The case may be similar if you work part-time but spend the other professional hours for example volunteering seriously, or caring for someone else.
These aren’t necessarily scenarios in which you should dismiss the idea of entrepreneurship entirely though, but with some tweaks to your expectations you might be able to pull it off. Here’s how!
“It Takes So Much Time!”
Yes and no. Many entrepreneurial tasks are actually small increments of time, when the task is viewed purely as the time it requires to get done.
The problem first of all is when you don’t even know how to start a business or how to keep running it in a profitable way.
The other part of this issue has to do with a lack of being organised.
To solve the first part of the time problem it is preferable to seek out good sources for better business skills. Entrepreneurship requires constant learning of new knowledge and skills, but there is a multitude of places online for small-business owners where they only ever scratch the surface. Find a place like ours where they dig deep enough for you to discover what you actually need to know and do. Otherwise you can research ad nauseam without gaining much quality knowledge.
If you are not used to working in a scattered way, it will take practice to adopt the mindset that each small drop counts, no matter how small it may be. It is of utmost importance to be fully present when taking one of the three roles of solo entrepreneurship: leader, manager and expert worker.
Once you have figured out how to orchestrate the time you spend building your business, you are making progress steadily. It may be slow depending on the absolute time available to you, but as a Chinese proverb goes: “Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”
If you have only a bit of time for your business, side hustle if you will, during working days Monday-Friday, and some more hours during the weekend, you could still spend these moments working for yourself:
- Monday: 30 minutes
- Tuesday: 30 minutes
- Wednesday: 30 minutes
- Thursday: 30 minutes
- Friday: 30 minutes
- Saturday: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Sunday: 2 hours
That is one working day, or 8 hours in all, every week. Monthly this translates to five working days, or a week. Yearly this means almost 2,5 months of working for yourself.
Being organised enough to approach your endeavour in a structured and focussed way means you slowly build a new stream of income for yourself. To avoid endless research, however, help yourself by seeking out courses made by people, who already figured out the bare minimum of what is necessary to get done in a small business.
If you have up to 2,5 months available for yourself, it is smart to pick something that you can make once but sell endlessly: a digital product. You most certainly can create a full course during this time!
Courses range from around 30 € to over 2000 € these days, so the question becomes about who you serve better, firms (B2B) or consumers (B2C)? When people enroll in a course to learn “for work” they tend to hand over money much more freely than when buying “for leisure”, which should make you question what type of course would be smarter to make.
Or if you offer a service like graphic design, work intensely during the weekend, but stay in touch with the client during working days only. They don’t have to know how you make progress on their project.
Grow your customer base steadily and there may come a day when your side hustle becomes your full-time job, should you so desire.
“It Is Too Expensive!”
Registrating a sole proprietorship does not cost much in Finland and seeing as it is a typical form of enterprise globally, my guess is that it is among the most affordable options elsewhere, too.
In order for customers to find you, you will need a website hosted somewhere, with either a monthly or quarterly fee usually. WordPress is free of charge, but you may need the help of a web developer to get it up and running. The domain, URL or web address if you will, is paid once yearly as a licence fee and web hosts tend to offer those in addition to their hosting service. Domains cost around 15 € yearly.
What will be a bit costlier is to hire a bookkeeper or accountant. It is worth it though, because laws change constantly and filing taxes for a business is one task you do not have to do yourself. With few monthly events to add to the books, however, their starting costs for a basic service package are manageable. Scan paper receipts or save PDF receipts and send them to them for processing and you can focus on creating products to sell instead of doing everything yourself.
Social-media marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) will be your friends when it comes to marketing free of charge. You can also consider email marketing, starting on a free plan. It is important to pick only one or a few channels to begin with so you don’t end up all over the place, and the burning question therefore will be: “Where does my audience primarily spend their time?”
If you want to go for retail, consider drop shipping or places like Spoonflower and Society6 where you upload designs, but sell only when a customer buys. Sounds cryptic? You have no inventory this way, no money tied to physical goods that may never sell at full price. The platform gets a share of the money, sometimes as much as 90 %, but you have no storage costs, no insurance to pay for, no shipping materials to store, etc. This is good risk management.
You may sense a trend here. Developing a solid business strategy, marketing strategy and marketing plan is key for any business, but if your first entrepreneurial steps are taken when time available is limited, you need clarity at an exceptional level.
Precisely the same applies when you own one business, are interested in parallel entrepreneurship, and decide to start a second brand selling something else. Learning the art of productive work as opposed to doing busy work takes centre stage.
Entrepreneurship is definitely a cerebral challenge, but so worth it! I have yet to read this book “Company of One” by Paul Jarvis, but it looks promising for solopreneurs:
Questions? Other thoughts? Post them in the comments below!
Photo credit: Filipp Romanovski.