To a certain extent, becoming an entrepreneur requires you to be a multi-talented individual. First and foremost, however, you need to be driven and have a firm desire to be your own boss. You should be very tenacious and not be willing to take the word “no” for an answer easily. If you understand that you will be faced with a long, seemingly never-ending, list of problems, yet see your glass as being always half-full, then you are off to the races!
Do not underestimate the amount of time and effort and raw energy that it requires to be a successful entrepreneur. You will need a good list of people skills, with the ability to be persuasive and to motivate. Be prepared to be the driving force at all times and understand that you are probably your organization’s most valuable asset. You should be able to do everything that you expect from others (should you employ them within your organization) at a push.
To help you stock up on some key information and to prepare yourself for all eventualities that you will undoubtedly face, here are some great resources.
First of all, you need to structure yourself accordingly. Some people choose to set up as a sole proprietorship, while others choose an S. corporation or a limited liability company. Each one has its own legal repercussions. Once you’ve decided on your setup, you will need to establish a record-keeping system and keep up with this every week. The proper process of accounting is essential in the early days as you will need to be right on top of critical cash flow and performance levels.
Secondly, know when to hire and what to look for. It goes without saying that you do not need to burden yourself with labor costs if not necessary, but equally as important you must know when to delegate and whether or not you should outsource instead.
Thirdly, you must have your web presence. For many entrepreneurs this will be the shop window to the world and it’s also your first point of contact. It goes without saying therefore that you must put a lot of thought and planning into web design and hosting. If you are doing it yourself, make sure you have a sound knowledge of building a website, or use an online tool such as WordPress. Once you have it up and running, you need to be tracking to see whether visitors like what they see, how long they spend on the site, what they read and there is no better tool than the free one provided by Google. If you like graphics and cool tools, this analytics supplement is for you – Crazy Egg.
Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help at any time. Those who have been there before you may have made the very mistakes that you could avoid. Here are ten common mistakes that we have outlined, which could end up costing you more than your shirt!
Been there and done that? We would love to hear your tips for first-time entrepreneurs.
By Matthew Toren