Have you considered starting a business?

With the way the world is going these days, employment is flexible. You may consider starting a business.

Nine years ago now I was happily working. I was working as the Marketing Department for a workforce development agency that put people back to work after lay-offs. I got laid off!! The irony of it.

So I took that opportunity to do some informal polling with my, at the time, 1000 connections on LinkedIn. I got a good response. Of those that responded about 70% start your own business. That was a scary thought because my husband was already running a business and that would mean both of us were dependent upon contracts to meet our family obligations.

That was nine years ago. I haven’t looked back except to offer advice to those that ask me. Here is what I would suggest if it is something that you are willing to do.

  1. Do some labor market research – use your state department that provides the Labor Market Information (LMI). Check out the growth of the position you are considering. Would a consultant in that area be a good opportunity?
  2. Find an SBDC – Small Business Development Center in your area. These are typically federally/state funded offices that provide free business guidance and support to businesses in the area.
  3. Speak with your accountant about which business model option might be best for your particular business.
  4. Speak with the SBDC about the proper steps to setting up your business as a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability partnership, or a corporation.
  5.  Speak with an attorney about the legal documents you need. An attorney isn’t the only person that can help you. I worked with Laura Wilcox of Corporate Minutes Inc. to help me square away some of the things I had bungled up with my DIY approach.
  6. Accounting – while you are still drawing unemployment and trying to decide whether or not you should take the plunge, track your expenses in Excel. Income and expenses is as simple as it gets. File everything. Once you actually incorporate open a separate checking account and set-up a Quickbooks account (or other accounting software) to do the accounting properly. I didn’t do this properly and it cost me headaches for a long time until I paid a Quickbooks expert to help me sort it out.
  7. Healthcare – if your spouse is still working and carries the insurance you are golden. If not, we investigated a Healthshare plan. Many of them are faith based, but if you are healthy, this is a much lower cost option than going with one of the health care giants or even Cobra insurance.
  8. Networking – get out and do it! Join a chamber or industry organization. If it works for you, offer to give a free 30-45 minute presentation. I almost always get at least one client from an event that I speak at for free.  The Elgin Area Chamber of which I am a member even offers a Small Business Academy for people thinking about starting a business or are just getting on their feet.
  9. Website and email  – this is super important. An email address at the domain name of your website gives you better credibility than joeswelding @ gmail . com. Let me know if you need help with any of your marketing needs.
  10. Read the book – The E Myth Revisited. Let me give you a synopsis – hire someone to do what you are not good at. The best thing I ever did was hire someone to do my monthly bookkeeping. I was spending way to  much sweat and heartache to get it done. I would put it off until I had hours of work to do. Now I still write checks and pay bills but the bookkeeper does the reconciliations, enters the things I pay through billpay, and files all the paperwork. If I have to help her figure something out, I don’t get all frustrated. If you need help with marketing, I can help YOU with that!
  11. Another great resource to use is Illinois workNet BizHub. Once you are up and running, you may need additional resources to keep you moving forward. Things you can use like human resources suggestions and filing quarterly taxes and more are located in one convenient space.

I am sure that there is all sorts of advice out there. But take it from someone who tried the DIY approach and lived to talk about it, there is all kinds of help out there for you. Take advantage where you can!


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