With the cost of starting an online business today at an all-time low, I can't imagine why everyone doesn't have a website and an LLC to mitigate liability and minimize taxes.

You need to have these as backup, in case the gig economy catches up to you, or you need a side hustle for extra income, or being in control of your dream role as an entrepreneur finally becomes a passion.

I also suggested this a while back to my neighbor who was between jobs, through no fault of his own, and frustrated by the slow pace of the job search, and wondering what else he could do to improve his position.

First of all, you should never wait for a crisis to prepare for the future, but even initiating a startup for consulting in your favorite role is good for the following reasons:

1. Companies prefer candidates with no gaps in their resume.

Having your own online business going eliminates that embarrassing period where it appears you have been idle and desperately seeking work. Instead, having your own business going shows initiative, leadership, wider experience, and makes you more competitive for any role available.

2. A single job is not adequate for today's lifestyle.

To keep ahead of the game, the smartest people I know always have several things going concurrently-- and more in the queue.

With how quickly things change, everyone should be working on multiple projects, including a conventional paying job alongside an entrepreneurial one.

3. Learn more about business by doing versus studying.

Of course, you can always take more business classes at school, or on the side, but that's not as cost and time effective these days as doing it, with a little help from the internet and a friendly advisor. Make it a fun experience by making something you love be more than a hobby.

4. Give yourself a lifestyle choice-- employee or owner.

Too many people I know would love to change careers over time, but don't really have any experience or confidence with alternatives.

Now is the time, with minimal risk and cost, to give yourself some insights on what you like, what you know best, and how to leave a legacy you can be proud of.

5. Keep up with modern business tools and online processes.

You will be a better employee, or a better owner, if you know how to use social media tools for business, how to go online for web hosting, a domain name, a company name, and incorporating a business. New tools make it easy create your own web site, and manage accounting.

6. Start networking for potential partners or people who can help.

Whether your future is a career or a startup, you need business relationships. Smart people find that business is no place for a loner, and we all need someone to test our ideas, hone business skills, and focus on complementary activities.

Seek out relevant business groups and events.

7. Find maximum meaning and purpose, as well as money.

Research shows that happiness does not scale up with income. Doing good, like helping society and planet sustainability, is a key to maximizing satisfaction, as well as profit. Start a business while you still can.

8. Challenge yourself to find out what you are capable of.

Don't let me mislead you. Starting a business is still hard, even though the cost of entry is low.

The challenge will make you grow as a person, and can give you the confidence to succeed in whatever you decide to do. You will find that startup efforts help you in every future role you tackle.

In these days of the gig economy, world-wide outsourcing, and working remotely, you need to think of yourself as a business, even if you haven't created one formally. The days of long-term employment and employer loyalty are gone, so quantifying your value, and marketing yourself are key skills in any environment.

Take advantage of internet, free tools, and peers out there today to get ahead of the curve. You won't regret it when seeking future career opportunities.

Published on: Oct 14, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.