From the outside, entrepreneurship seems fun, even easy. However, the majority of those who have taken the path can share a much different story. What many people don't know is that 90-percent of startups fail. Success doesn't happen in a year. Sometimes it doesn't even happen in 10 years, if at all.
Entrepreneurship is a career choice that takes resilience, humility, and strength. So for those who aren't afraid to work 80 hours a week, admit when they're wrong, make mistakes, and keep going, owning your own business can be the most rewarding thing you'll ever do.
Having built two companies from the ground up, I left my cushy, safe, and lucrative job to start my own thing. It was one of the best decisions of my life, and I've never looked back since making it.
If you're resolved to take the leap, here are five tips I've learned along the way that will help turn your new business from an idea to a reality.
1. Carve your niche.
Finding your niche is crucial for any new entrepreneur. Knowing that there is a gap in the market that your company can fill is exactly how your brand will be able to stand out. Ask yourself what is it about your business that will set you apart from everyone else, and come up with ways on how can you utilize that into a business model.
Now, it's time to test it. Focus groups, surveys, and pilot projects are all great ways to see if your idea resonates with your target audience. I also recommend trying your business as a side hustle before you make the full leap. For example, if you want to open gym, start by personal training to grow your client list and income. This can help mitigate the financial risk, while also building a name for your brand.
2. Find your purpose.
What is the driving force behind your brand? Why will a consumer want to click on your website over somebody else's? Figuring out what your company's mission statement is critical. It gives people an understanding as to why they should care about you--and your company--as a whole.
Are you giving back to the community? Are you creating an inclusive culture, that allows working parents flexible schedules? Having a reason for your company to be up and running is just as crucial to why it's running in the first place.
3. Ensure that you have a financial plan (and backup plan).
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're not going to make any money for a while. Typically, you're looking at least one year. For those who have mortgages, families, and other financial commitments, entrepreneurship can be an even greater risk (and all the more scary).
To mitigate the financial burden, you need savings to keep you afloat. Additionally, having a backup plan for yourself is just as important. I'd also recommend generating an income through part-time or contract work to generate some sort of income.
4. Set realistic goals.
What's your six-month, one year, and 20-year plan? If you want to grow and scale your company, you have to think short and long term. Now make a critical path on how you're going to achieve these pillars. Setting goals for yourself as an entrepreneur is a great way to keep track of your own personal milestones, as well as keep you motivated as they continue to grow.
5. Believe in yourself.
Having a strong support system around you is definitely an asset, but having your own inner motivational drive is what will really push you to continue achieving success. No matter how many pitfalls you may encounter (and, trust me, your first couple months or years definitely won't be easy!), knowing that your company has the potential for bigger and better things is what will continuously launch your business to new heights time and time again.