Sunday, November 18, 2018

F/T Entrepreneur: Yes You Can.

August 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( In this article I am going to tell you how to become a full time entrepreneur, pure and simple. Have I done it? Yes, I have owned a full time business for over 13 years which has also included training thousands of new entrepreneurs when I was a business development specialist. It is not as hard as you may think to own a successful full time business if you listen to the right people and follow the right examples such as the Black Wallstreet of the 1920s. And if you don’t know about the original Black Wallstreet, boy do you have a lot to learn. That being said, let’s get started and consider this your free consultation. When I provided business consulting, my rate was $100 to $20 an hour on a sliding scale and I got it, so this article is quite a deal for you.

You have to control your own income and create this cycle for your children.

What kind of business should you start? Well what are you good at? What is there a definite need for? What are you trained in? What do you have an interest in? What will people pay to have done for them? What is needed in an industry that is not there now? This is called a niche. Metro PCS found one. Wendy’s found one. Chik-fil-a found one. Wal-Mart found one. Apple found one. You can find one too.

The first thing you have to do is change your thinking if you hav2016-black-business-people-2016e been an employee, as most of us once were. Real entrepreneurs do not think like employees or they would in fact be employees. The mind of an entrepreneur is the mind of a person willing to take risks – good risks, smart risks, calculated and well-informed risks. The mind of an entrepreneur does not think about how much something will cost, but rather how much he/she will make from it. The mind of a real entrepreneur is focused and self-motivated when there is nobody around to encourage you.

The mind of an entrepreneur is resourceful and he/she finds ways to accomplish the tasks when there seems to be no possible way to do so. Real entrepreneurs are too busy making things happen to complain, be afraid, get distracted or become hindered by obstacles. There is a lot more inside the mind of a full time entrepreneur but I want to leave some things for you to research on your own . Some of us naturally have what it takes but those who don’t can learn if they are willing to change their thinking. How you see things impacts how you approach them and thus impacts the results of your efforts.

Many people strive to have their own business, but not their own successful business. There is a huge difference.

The second step is to realistically identify and recognize what a real entrepreneur is. I know you may want to jump into the market with your ideas, but first your mind has to be trained and possible de-programmed or re-programmed or you will crash and burn fast. So let’s clear up some misconceptions about real entrepreneurship. First of all, being a real entrepreneur is not working as an independent contractor for a multi-level marketing company like Legal Shield, Amway, Mary Kay, Pri-America etc. – though these companies can make money and can also be a step towards real entrepreneurship. Second of all, being a full time entrepreneur means you will work hard, work on holidays that employees have off, burn the candle at both ends and in the middle. Entrepreneurship is hard work but it is working for yourself and paying yourself what you are worth.

While identifying what real entrepreneurship is, you need to know it does not include getting up at noon, working a few hours when you feel like it, passing out cheap Vista Print cards with your name as “CEO” on them and simply telling everyone you have a business.

The third step is to do your homework – your research. You have to know and define your market from both a demographic and psychographic standpoint. Look up these terms. Do your primary and secondary customer profile. Make sure to complete your SWATs analysis, overstand what this is and why it is absolutely necessary. Research suppliers, competitors and your potential clients or customers thoroughly. Look at examples of business that are working, winning, expanding and succeeding. But do not make the mistake many small business owners make of thinking you can run your business whatever way you want while ignoring recognized and proven industry standards.

Sometimes it’s good to start a business with another person so each of you can hold the other accountable and keep the other motivated. Just put the agreement and terms in writing.

You must know how your customers think, where they go, what they spend, how much they spend, when they spend, what attracts them and why. There are at least 7 key things that make people buy and you need to know all of them. How many of them do you know off the top of your head? I can guarantee you that Wal-Mart knows all 7 and then maybe a dozen more. Also research how to price your products and services. And I will give you a hint when it comes to pricing, there are several elements to consider – not just market rate and desired profit margin. You also need to know the true uniqueness of your product or service and be able to share both the features and benefits.


Never assume potential customers know what you mean or that they automatically see the value in what you have just because you do. They are not you. Here is the billion dollar question. Why should someone buy from you instead of some other business? You need to answer that question in your advertising and in the mind of your potential customers with as many valid reasons as possible. I say “valid reasons” because non-sense reasons do not count for much.

Most small businesses do not fail because of lack of money. They fail because of lack of dedication and failure to do your homework regarding every aspect of your business.

The fourth step is to do an agenda – a comprehensive “to do” list. This agenda needs to have a timetable which means dates and times or deadlines for every task listed. An good agenda is your most important document and much more valuable than a business plan or prospectus (investment proposal). Why? Because your agenda will be a list of every single thing you have to complete in order to get the business up and running, keep the business moving forward and expand the business. The agenda should have your short term, intermediate term and long term goals. Your agenda should also a have your minimum, realistic and ideal monthly financial goal. Do a basic business plan because it requires you to pull thoughts and visions out of your head, get organized and develop a roadmap others can follow. Will your business be a corporation, an S-corporation a sole proprietorship, a non-profit or a legal partnership? Why or why not? Will you have staff, independent contractors, employees? Why or why not? This fourth step is also your planning stage so make your you have a Plan A and a Plan B. You don’t have to jump out there and leave your job tomorrow. But you should have the objective of leaving your job, when and under what conditions that should happen. As for benefits like 401(k) and insurance, you can buy into plans as an entrepreneur so don’t worry.

The fifth step is to develop a marketing plan and a marketing budget. Even if you only have $100 a month to spend, you must advertise, brand your company name, product or service and be consistent with it. In corporate American I was a marketing expert (above a specialist) so I will share this with you. Marketing is not just branding. Marketing involves sales, research, advertising, pricing, packaging, promotions / special promotions, referral programs, feedback assessment, sales tracking, and other key areas that I will let you discover for yourself in your research. Over the last few years a lot of people have popped up who claim to be “branding” specialists, but branding is only one part of marketing and not even the most important part at that. So when meeting with a marketing consultant, be careful of one trick ponies.

In marketing we know that it does not matter how good the product or service you offer if nobody knows about it. We also know if your image and presentation looks cheap, your products and services will be perceived as having little value. Some industries lose credibility if they distribute flyers and flyers in fact can yield a small return because they are often perceived as junk mail. I also do not recommend Vista Print business cards because cheap cards say you have a cheap business. And please, if you are not a graphic designer or desktop publisher, do NOT try to design your own advertising. It may look really bad and you may not even know it. Let the experts do what they do and just as you will readily ask others to spend money with you, be ready to do the same. Bootleg marketing is never good.

Remember, image is everything when it comes to marketing and reaching your potential clients. There is a reason you will not find major fortune 100 company executives using cheap Vista Print business cards. Generate the image of how you want your potential customers or clients to perceive you. One thousand nice, coated, two-sided heavyweight business cards can cost as little as $100. Invest the money.

The sixth step is acquire the proper licenses and permits that are required. Do not hesitate. This stage can include industry licenses, insurance, business licensing, incorporating, tax paperwork, fire safety inspections, environmental health department inspections, surety bonding, building occupancy permits and a host of other requirements specific to your industry. Doing your homework should have yielded a list of what permits you will need.

I could tell you much, much more but this article is simply to lay the groundwork and I am not about to do all of your work for you, especially not for free. There are specialists out there who can help you but be careful. There are also people out there who masquerade as specialist and they have only read a book on how to be a consultant, but they have never been full time entrepreneurs. All that being said, I want to tell you that you can do it. You don’t have to wait years to make a profit. It can be done, in many cases, in the first 30 days. You don’t have to have a lot of money or a loan to get started. Start where you can, but just start. You must control your income and get off the corporate plantation because whomever controls your finances, also controls your status in life.

Furthermore, a business provides several benefits including tax dedications that you probably are not getting now. You are capable so do not sell yourself short. Out of the 5 children my parents had, I am the only entrepreneur. Yet I have done more and made more than any two of them put together. That is not to brag, but rather to say my siblings had the potential as well. Yet they never acted on it. You may say “but I don’t want or need my own business“. And to that I say, if you are comfortable with someone else controlling your income, short-changing your value and paying you far below what you are worth, stay on the plantation while the rest of us escape. But don’t ever look at those who live the life you have dreamed of when you could be one of them instead.

There is no age limitation. And even when it comes to college education, did you know many of the top richest people in this country neither got that way working for someone else nor because of a college degree? I am not putting down a college education and yes I have one. But I am saying college produces middle class worker bees, for the most part – not wealthy entrepreneurs. Pull up a list of those successful entrepreneurs who did not make it there because of a college education and you will be shocked. Anyway, here is to your success which begins as soon as you want it to.

Staff Writer; Marque-Anthony

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