Have you been dreaming about starting your own business? This coming year is the time to stop dreaming and start doing.
That advice comes from the personal finance site GOBankingRates. The site's editors asked best-selling author and career coach Josh Felber for his best finance tips for the coming year. His top piece of advice was that "2016 is the year to break free from mediocrity and society's 'norms.' Now is the time to quit your 9-to-5 job and become an entrepreneur."
Why now? Here are some of the best reasons. You can see Felber's full reasoning here.
1. You'll have an easier time getting a small-business loan.
Approval rates for small-business loans are at their highest levels in about five years. Wells Fargo, for instance, lent more than $22 billion to small businesses between January 2014 and March 2015. In particular, online lending to small businesses is expected to increase in 2016.
2. There's never been a better time for crowdfunding.
With new SEC rules allowing for crowdfunded companies to repay contributions with equity (as opposed to just goods and services), seeking funds through Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or any of the many other crowdfunding sites is an even more appealing option than it used to be. Admittedly, the field of companies seeking funds is, well, crowded. But if you have a good product or service, you can learn how to make it stand out.
3. Then there's VC funding.
It seems like in 2015, everyone was fretting about the startup funding bubble and when it might burst. Well, it hasn't burst for the moment. In case you missed it, "bubble" is another way of saying that it's easier for startup companies to get angel and venture capital funding than it has been in many years.
If you're thinking of starting the kind of innovation-driven, rapid-growth company that makes sense for VC funding, now is a great time, and the sooner the better. Even if you don't like the exit strategy requirement that you eventually either sell to another company or go public, there are now some funders who are willing to take a long-term stake in the companies they fund, meaning those companies can stay independent and private indefinitely. If you haven't looked at your venture funding options in a while, you should.
4. Small business is the new black.
We're in the middle of an era where small businesses are valued over large ones in politics, popular culture, and in the public imagination. In a recent survey, customers said they favored small businesses because they liked supporting the local economy and getting more personalized service than is possible with a large corporation. Not only that, about 60 percent said they would actually pay more to buy from a small business. That's a great market opportunity if ever there was one.
5. You'll be happier.
Or at least statistics suggest you will be. Recent research finds a significantly higher number of self-employed people get positive self-worth from their jobs than those who work for someone else. As GOBankingRates notes, research shows even entrepreneurs with startups are happier than those with jobs, and once their entrepreneurial companies become established, they're happier still. If you're still working for someone else, it's time you found out whether working for yourself would give you as much pleasure as it does for other entrepreneurs.
6. There will never be a better time.
Starting a business is something like having a child: If you wait for the perfect moment, you'll wind up waiting forever. Too many people fall deep into the habit of working for someone else, and the longer you do it, the harder that habit is to break, Felber says.
So break it now. There's no reason for waiting any longer.