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May 30, 2012
Your First Three Steps to Becoming An Entrepreneur
 
When the job hunt is dim, it may be wise to consider your other options. While the thought of starting your own business may be intimidating, now is the time to consider it thanks to a plethora of online tools for you to take advantage of.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to or should stop your current job hunt. While you can certainly make your full-time profession out of a mature, planned, and successful small business, it can also turn into to a profitable side job, allowing you to take a less-than-ideal position elsewhere as well.

Step 1: What Are Your Qualifications?
When starting your entrepreneurial journey, you want to be sure you’re qualified. Customers need to be able to trust your services, and an under-qualified owner does not bode well for that. There are a number of ways you can assess this first step and move forward. Consider the following:
  • Your hobby — Have you been involved in a program, business, or section of the government for a significant amount of time? If so, this may be a good starting point; expand this base of knowledge and then create your business around it.
  • Your profession — If you love the career path you’ve already taken, consider how you can branch out on that.
Step 2: Entrepreneurial Options
Once you know what you can offer to the public, you have to decide the best avenue to present your business. This will depend upon the business experience and knowledge you have, as well as what sector the business is in, what customers it caters to, and the kind of business that sort of experience lends itself to.

According to GrowThink.com, “Each opportunity should be assessed to, among others, determine its likelihood of success and the financial and human resources required to execute upon it.” Some options to start thinking about are:
  • Consultant — If you’ve worked in business, finance, or events, being a consultant is a great entrepreneurial opportunity. This allows you to offer your services with minimal startup costs.
  • Freelancer — As a writer, photographer, or web designer, you have an opportunity to freelance. This, again, has minimal overhead costs, can be done at any time you prefer, and can be done all from the comfort of your own home.
  • eCommerce — If you are an engineer, architect, or inventor, this may be the business for you. With many online tools at your disposal, marketing and selling your product is definitely within the realm of possibility.
Step 3: Getting Started
The process you’ll take to get started will depend upon the business and experience you’re bringing to the table. However, there are a few basic steps to get you started:
  • Business plan — The first thing you need to do is create a business plan. This will be the skeleton of your business. Though it can change and be modified down the line, it will act as a focus for where you want to go, where you see the business in a year, your financial needs, etc.
  • Customer base — Make contact with previous clients, co-workers, and customers and present your business. This is a great way to start building your customer base.
  • Social media — Get your social media outlets set up. This will be your main marketing tool, and the best way to reach masses of potential customers.
  • Network — Get on LinkedIn, join MeetUp business groups, reach out to old employers; talk about your business to whomever you can. The more you network, the better chance you’ll have at succeeding.
While starting a business may seem like crazy talk, it’s actually a viable option right now. In a downturned economy, it can be the best way to take control of your income. To avoid the intimidation factor, take it one step at a time. When you do that, you will see that becoming an entrepreneur is in fact possible and potentially profitable. 

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Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics from social media to merchant services. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including background checks for lead generation resource Resource Nation.
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