People often ask me how they can make money or find a job. My first reaction is to inquire whether they would consider starting their own business. It is my belief, based on experience, that it is unnecessary to rely on other people to create financial opportunities as long as the drive to succeed is there along with a willingness to put up with some hardships for a while.
Most folks consider themselves hard-working; if you don't, there is no need to read further. If you want to live in a place of your choice, have the freedom to come and go as you please and don't mind the anxiety of not knowing where your next dollar will come from, I highly encourage enterprising people, especially young ones, to try it out on their own, at least part time.
Look around and observe how many people need help coping with their busy, stressful lives. What can you do to make things easier for others?
Let's take it as a given that everyone has some talent or skill in an area that others would find useful. An aspiring entrepreneur should be able to see these needs and figure out several ways to satisfy them in a way that helps others save time or money.
Slices of everyday life that most people could use some help with include yardwork, house cleaning, shopping, bookkeeping, organizing, child care, elder care, repairs and maintenance. Then there are the less routine but normal events, such as dealing with sickness, entertaining, education, vacations, etc., all of which call for some extra effort and expense on the part of households.
What barriers prevent people from starting their own ventures to meet the needs that their neighbors and friends exhibit with some regularity? The main inhibitions have to do with covering the costs of starting up and creating a disciplined schedule that allows time to accomplish the goal. What information do new businesses need about taxes and regulations? Not a heck of a lot if they start with themselves as the only worker and are operating in a way that is honest, safe and respectful. After a new business takes off is the time to get professional help in setting up systems to cover these important bases. Start-up enterprises can't afford the time and money to pay outside people to do anything but the most essential support tasks, if there are any, other than serving their chosen target customers.
New entrepreneurs need to be ready to work extremely long hours and to sacrifice regular vacations. Making do with cheap or free space and arranging to have minimal rent and utilities overhead, often best provided by family and friends, are common ways that new companies save money. This allows them the time and energy to devote to their passion — the fledgling firm. It is not rocket science, but sacrifices need to be looked at square in the eye. If you have the guts to take the plunge, you will find excitement inside of drudgery, new friendships growing out of your supplier and customer relationships and perhaps eventually a self-supporting lifestyle.
Look around and you will see for yourself examples of successful entrepreneurs. For the most part, they started with practically nothing, took a passion for something they believed filled a need of others, and, over time, fed their aspiration with ample self confidence and support from a few people who believed in their new direction. Every family yields someone who can start their own business. It could be you.
Rob Rikoon founded The Rikoon Group's predecessor, Rikoon Investment Advisors, in 1987, right before the stock market crash of the same year. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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