Small business ideas and inspiration for entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting a business! Now is a great time for many reason, and I will lay some out for you here!!
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Check out my policies here.
- My Entrepreneurial Story
- What I Won't Be Talking About!
- Small Business Versus Entrepreneur
- I Am Old Enough To Have Seen This Before (Twice)
- Should You Start A Business Now?
- Ack, Is This REALLY A Good Time To Start A Business
- Do It Now, Whether You Are 30 or 60!
My Entrepreneurial Story
From 1999 to late 2001 I was the Director of Web Development at a hosting company. We were a young and enthusiastic bunch who were growing a company… YAY!
Then in 2002 we got SO successful that my company was bought and we all got laid off… BOO!
That was my last “job”. Since then I have had a series of entrepreneurial endeavors including business coaching, Realtor, social media marketing company owner, Etsy store owner and now I am a blogger earning more than I ever did at any of those careers.
Just in case you are trying to figure out how old I am based on that list…. I am 55! Old enough to have seen some things, but young enough to still be super enthusiastic about MY BUSINESS and the growth I am experiencing!
I got into entrepreneurship right at the time when there was a “tech crash” and people were really wondering whether the internet would be a “real thing”… spoiler, yep! It is real!
I have been fortunate to the be at the front of new technologies and joining social networks at a time when you build a big following relatively easily.
That has helped me to grow a six figure blogging empire… whoo whoo! An overnight success that began for real in 2008 when I started my first blog.
What I Won't Be Talking About!
So this is a practical, “should you start a business” overall post, NOT a technical, “how to start a business” officially post! So there will be no talk of:
- Business insurance
- Legal structures
- Personal liabilities
- Federal or state requirements
If you decide that a small business is right for you, you will want to get legal and financial advice from someone more qualified than me, your marketing friend!
Small Business Versus Entrepreneur
I am going to be talking to entrepreneurs rather than small business owners, although some of the ideas I address will be relevant to both.
This is more a “mom and pop”, you as a solopreneur or maybe a couple of friends who decide to throw in kind article, rather than a “get a loan” and spend tens of thousands of dollars to start a brick and mortar business!
Here are some types of businesses who might benefit:
- A new Etsy store owner
- Someone getting into real estate
- Starting a service business
- Full time blogging
- Getting a financial services license
Basically if you have an idea for a startup product or service business, this is the place for you!
I Am Old Enough To Have Seen This Before (Twice)
As I told you, I am 55 so I have seen a changing time like this twice now. Once during the tech crash at the start of my career and then the housing and financial crash in 2008 that was an even bigger devastating event for many people (I was a Realtor during this time, HA!).
I think now I need to say that I have seen this THREE times… the pandemic is the same kind of economic event that will change people's lives for years going forward.
Many people received stimulus checks or even just spent more time at home and decided that they were sick of the rat race that is working for someone else… maybe you did too!
Many are calling this the “Great Resignation” and wondering where all the workers have gone. Some have decided to leave the workforce entirely, but some have decided that now is the perfect time to start their own business… whoo whoo!
It seems weird, but many of the most successful businesses have started in an economic down time. That is because a change happens that opens the doors for opportunities that didn't seem possible before.
Should You Start A Business Now?
Let's look at some variables about whether you should be a business owner!
Are You Motivated?
Owning your own business is a pain in the rear, especially at the start when everything needs to be done. You have to get some things that are necessary, most “starting a business” includes getting:
- Business checking account
- Business credit card
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- Business License (in some states)
Now as far as startup costs go, most of these things are free but derpy to get. That is where you have to be motivated to slog through and just get them done.
I can still picture walking up to the doors of Bank of America in 2008 and getting my first business checking account. I have a wee bit of PTSD to this day from all the things that I HAD to do at the start to have a legitimate business.
Are You Flexible?
If just even this talk has you freaking out, you need to know that there is no roadmap or “right” way to start a business.
I used Bank of America but it could have been a credit union or a different bank. I needed an Employer Identification Number (EIN) because I was going to have an assistant, you might not need that right away.
As a beginning entrepreneur it is SHOCKING to realize that you are going to have to be flexible and not freak out anytime something goes wrong (something always goes wrong!)
Additional Resource :: Do You Need An EIN (source IRS)
Do You Have A Good (Enough) Idea?
Many coaches will tell you that you need to “write a business plan” for your idea. That you will fail unless you have everything mapped out before you even begin.
I think this is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous! How can you write a business plan when you have never been in business. OR if you have been in business before, you are starting a new and different business.
Business plans are a way to do busy work, guessing whether your idea is good enough to make sales.
In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Reis had a great idea! Instead of doing a huge rollout of your total final idea, start with a MVP, minimal viable product.
So for us entrepreneurs this could look like…
- Open your Etsy store with a few items and see if anyone buys them before you make 100s of things no one might want to buy
- Shadow a real estate agent for a week or so and make sure you love everything they do day to day BEFORE getting your license
- Offer a HUGE discount on your services for a three month contract to your first 5 potential customers
All of these are “real life” ways to see if you like the business you are thinking about going into BEFORE devoting a huge amount of time or money to something that might or might not work!
Additional Resource :: The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
Do You Like Solving Problems?
Being a business owner is all about solving problems! And as your business grows it is about solving bigger problems!
Now, I am not being a debby downer here… I LOVE solving problems like how to get more traffic by picking the right keywords, I DON'T like solving people problems like I had when I was a Realtor.
Say you are thinking about opening a coaching business…
Your first problem is probably figuring out what services you will be good at, then you have setting up a website to offer your wares.
You then have to figure out how to get paid if your site doesn't have payment processing.
Next you have to figure out how to get customers and how you are going to meet with them (by phone, Zoom calls, in person).
Once you have a successful coaching business you need to figure out a scheduling system, how to stay in touch with past clients and how to get more referrals.
As someone who has never been a coach, that may seem overwhelming, but to someone like me who was a coach for years, those are all just table stakes to be in the game!
Ack, Is This REALLY A Good Time To Start A Business
Say you got through all of that and you are still like, bring it on! I am ready!
I truly believe NOW is a great time to start a business!
So you know all those things that I talked about… the website and payment processing? Well you can do that easily with a standalone page on Convertkit (which is also your email provider).
There have been SO MANY advances in EVERYTHING that getting going is a breeze compared to even 5 years ago!
Additionally, there are resources to learn how to do anything available just by doing a Google search… I promise you, if you have a question, there is a YouTube video that has an answer (or can at least point you in the right direction!)
Say you wonder about what “business structure” you should use (should you be a sole proprietorship or a C Corp)… doing a search for “what kind of business structure should I have as an Etsy shop owner” I found this video which is a great way to get some general info!
You can LITERALLY start a business using advice from YouTube!
Do It Now, Whether You Are 30 or 60!
Last but not least, I want to talk to you about WHEN in life it is best to start a business.
I fee like starting a business is to entrepreneurship like having a baby is to a woman. There is NEVER the perfect time to start a business or have a baby!
BUT, if you are thinking about it, I say go for it!
I talk to a lot of younger people who are concerned that they don't have enough experience and I talk to more senior people who think they are too old to start.
Neither are true!
If you have a great idea and are enthusiastic about starting a business, for sure try it now!