Start A Business!

Start a business!  Yes, it’s time to start your own business.  I’ve been in your shoes.  I’ve experienced the Billing and Eligibility data entry clerk position.  Typing numbers all day for a fixed hourly rate.  I’ve survived as an actor.  You potentially find a decent paying gig, but you know it won’t last because the show has a closing date.  You can go a month or two in between jobs.  I’ve sold fish at a pet store, where you are paid less than minimum wage and have to make up for it with commissions.  The data entry job was the last day job I had.  I told myself that I would not take another.  It was time to experience something new, something I had the confidence and experience to do… start a cleaning business!  Is it glamorous work?  NO!  Do I make profits, instead of wages?  YES!

Am I suggesting everyone start a cleaning business?  No.  But understand the logic.  What do you need to start a cleaning business?  A couple rags, some cleaning solutions, a mop and a vacuum.  That’s an overhead of less than $200.00.  You should start out with a registered business name… another $200.00.  Print up some business cards.  Set up a free business profile on Yelp.  Clean for a few friends for free.  Get them to post a review on Yelp.  And you’re off and running!  People will always need cleaning services.  Especially with the rise in two income families.  Start small.  As things progress, add services and equipment.  I didn’t start my carpet cleaning with a $26,000 carpet cleaning truck mount in a van.  I bought a used portable extractor and a floor machine.  Grand total for both:  $1,600.00.  I can clean carpets just as well as the big dogs, it just takes a little longer.  My point is, start small and build.

Don’t worry, there are other businesses that don’t involve scrubbing toilets.  How about a gift basket business?  Remember, start small.  Find wholesale suppliers and design up to four baskets to start.  How about “It’s a Boy!”, “It’s a Girl!”, “Happy Birthday!”, and “Happy Anniversary!”  If that is too much overhead, start with two.  Once you have your design, you have the small stock of materials, take pictures of the example product, build a website (or have one built), put your name on Yelp, tell your friends on Facebook and other social medias, print the business cards, and get rolling.  Start small and build, even while working the job you want to leave!  Eventually, with enough time and effort, you will!

Candle Making Business?  Ah, here’s one I can appreciate!  My good friend, Stephen, makes candles.  I believe he does it as gifts and they are lovely.  You need wax, wicks, pictures, a website, Facebook, Yelp, and a packaging option, which can be as simple as a card inside the shrink wrap.  Start small, build  reputation, continuously develop and refine your product, and stick with it!

Maybe you like to bake!  How about a Cake Business!  Do you see the pattern here?  Take something you love to do and turn it into a business.  You’ll never work a day in your life.  Start with a basic set up and hone your cake decorating skills.  This might take a little practice, but if you love doing it, how can you lose?  People will always have events to celebrate, and the cake is always the centerpiece of desserts!

There are many more businesses out there that require the skills you already possess!  Tutoring, Quilting, Soap Making, Dog Walking, heck… even Blogging!  I just started blogging not too long ago.  I started blogging because of the knowledge that I had stored in my brain.  I needed an outlet, I love to help people, and I always try to monetize my hobbies.  I did it with dance, I did it with magic tricks,  and I’m doing it with my life experiences now.  I would love for it to produce an income, and honestly, I think it will.

A word of advice, should you be someone considering opening a franchise… good for you for having the funds to invest in the business model available to you.  I don’t recommend the franchise.  Understand that you will pay royalties to that franchiser for the existence of your franchise ownership.  Often times, they will also make you sign an agreement where you will not be able to work in the industry for 10 years or more after closing the franchise.  Not a great deal… unless you just don’t have to knowledge and resources to start from scratch.

Another word of advice, avoid the MLM marketing scheme.  I have been there.  Pyramid schemes will rationalize to you that every small business has a start up cost, so why not buy this marketing package?  If you really want to do it, audit the training and meetings.  If you see anyone making money through the product, and not through recruiting more salesmen, it’s ok to consider.  I wouldn’t even take the chance after what I went through.

The important thing, when it comes to business, is to remember you are not going to open a Verizon tomorrow.  You will fail 9/10 times with that mentality.  My cleaning business has been open for over a year and I’m now getting steady work.  Yes, there were times where I hadn’t a single thing to clean… and I worried.  But I started the business during the last month working the data entry job, and over the two months of a paying show as an actor.  It was safer than starting the business with no other income sources coming in.  Be safe, think everything through, charge more for your product/service than it costs to provide the materials and/or time.

I wish you the best of luck on your next endeavor!  Please share!

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