Is your job your passion? For a growing number of people, the answer is yes.
Today, more newcomers than ever are starting small businesses they love, adding to the 28 million currently in the U.S. There are many reasons for this growth beyond the difficulty of finding a traditional corporate job, including more online resources, organizations for entrepreneurs and a multitude of financing options.
But it is still a tough road figuring out how to make money from what you love to do. The following are some tips to help you get started.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs at the 2011 Stanford graduation.
Some people have always had the same passion since childhood, but many of us are just focusing on getting through each day and are too exhausted to think about a dream job. But it pays to devote time to figuring it out. One way to do this is to use sticky notes to list your likes and dislikes. Then list on another set of sticky notes your best areas of expertise. From this information, you can then see patterns that can help you hone in what you really want to do.
After you identify your strengths, try to focus on products or services that you can offer and markets you can compete in. Do online searches to see who your competitors would be and get a sense of other important information, such as pricing.
One of the biggest blockers for people thinking about starting a small business, is that their idea is not going to change the world. But you don’t need to. If your business can improve on what’s available in the existing market, then go for it. For example, you may love to travel to unusual places and want to create a travel agency. If you can serve a specific market like economy travel or exotic places, your business in a niche market can be very successful.
Understanding current national trends and those around the globe can be a good way to come up with the right business. The global rise in middle classes in new, developing markets could be an audience for your product. Social media offers a multitude of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.
Today’s retirees don’t want to sit around, particularly those just leaving the job force. The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey found 67% of respondents plan to work after 65.
Retirees should first consider how much time you are willing to spend. Having a successful small business can take many, many hours, particularly in sectors such as retail. A service business with flexible hours, such as pet sitting or tutoring, will not be as time consuming.
If you are starting a business over the age of 65, you should have a solid exit strategy, whether it’s shutting down the business, selling it or leaving it to heirs. Whatever your plan is, make sure it is written down and kept with your estate attorney and family members.
For some business, such as pet sitting, personal shopper and others, you may only need the price of business cards to get started.
If you have extensive start-up costs, more options than ever are available. While major banks generally require at least three years of records, alternative leaders, such as BFS Capital, only require your last three month’s bank statements and credit card sales records for a pre-approval. That’s because alternative lenders are providing capital for a much shorter time period (months) rather than your local bank (years), and are likely to work with businesses in earlier stages of development (1 year+ vs. 5 years+).
You should also consider that while banks often avoid sectors they consider too risky – such as restaurants – alternative lenders, such as BFS Capital, are far more open to working with different types of businesses.