Many newcomers, specially those who are unable to get a break in their
own fields in Canada, dream of being their own boss but aren’t willing
to risk leaving the stability of their 9-to-5 jobs. Sean C. Castrina
shows how you can achieve your dreams as a part-time entrepreneur.
You have a steady job. You provide for your family. But as you
slog away at your 9-to-5 and go through the motions of daily life, in
your own mind, you feel that true success is still eluding you. You tell
yourself that you should be grateful just to have a way to pay the
bills, but you can’t quite stifle that little voice that whispers,
“There ought to be something more.”
The truth is, you want to be your own boss and to
own your own business. But the risks involved in becoming an
entrepreneur, you think, are just too great. After all, you can’t gamble
your current steady income, your credit, and your family’s comfort on a
venture that may or may not succeed.
And that is where you’re wrong. You don’t have to gamble any of those things in order to start your own business.
The solution is to become a part-time entrepreneur.
I speak from extensive experience. I have started over 15
companies in industries including direct mail, home services, property
management, retail, and more – the first while I was working 9-to-5.
If you’re ready to create a more rewarding experience for yourself, follow my top 10 rules for being a part-time entrepreneur:
out your game. I recommend starting a service business (anything from
home cleaning to tutoring to adult care) for the following reasons:
• They require minimal money to start. I’ve never
started a service business with more than $10k, and many with less than
$3k – including businesses that have made me millions!
• Many service businesses don’t require a prior work history in the field or particular qualifications.
• In most cases, they can’t be outsourced or performed by computers so you’ll always have work.
Since you can hire others to perform the actual work while you handle
the key behind-the-scenes management tasks (like hiring, supervising,
taking client calls, marketing, etc.), service businesses are a great
source of passive income.
Entrepreneur.com has a great list of service businesses to start you thinking.
But make sure you understand the rules before you start playing.
time to research the licenses, permits, and certifications you may need
for the industry you’re entering, and make sure that obtaining them
won’t be prohibitive. And take it from the voice of experience: Start
filling out that paperwork early. Government bureaucracies can be slow!
Setting up a dedicated work-space for your business is crucial for productivity.
might be able to use a spare bedroom, a basement, a detached garage, or
even a nook in the living room as your “office.” With a home office,
you can capitalize on available tax deduction advantages.
Prep your victory dance. While you’re still in the
planning stages, envision your goals for your business: what you’ll make
or sell, who your customers will be, and – most importantly – how being
an entrepreneur will positively impact your life. It is a great way to
motivate you and remind you why you became an entrepreneur in the first
Don’t underprice yourself. Often, the urge to
undercut the competition is just too great, but doing so can quickly
hurt your business. What you need to do first is figure out all your
costs and what you want to make, and then use that information to
determine the price. Remember, there are also many ways to add value to
your services that will allow you to charge more if you have done your
homework identifying what your competition fails to offer.
Make room for a marketing budget. This is the money
you invest to tell your community why they need your product or service
and why your company is the one they should choose. If you do not reach
and retain customers, you won’t be in business – you’ll be bankrupt.
Hire smart. Once you’re familiar with all applicable
hiring laws, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Make sure that you can
get the labour you need before you officially open your doors by running
test ads. If you don’t get five applicants within three days, you might
want to rethink which field you’re going into, because you want a
business that is effortless to hire for.
And of course, be sure to look for talented, smart, experienced, and competent people with integrity.
Don’t automatically hire friends and family members because it’s convenient.
Become king of your own corner of the web.
an online presence is as essential as having a business card. At
minimum, you need a home page that functions as a business storefront,
conveying your unique selling proposition, pricing, and contact
information – though sections for customer testimonials, employee bios,
and photos don’t hurt!
Don’t let the other guy outperform you. To make sure
that customers hold your company in high esteem, focus on providing
great service to customers from day one. Put quality control measures in
place. Listen to the occasional complaint and rectify the problem.
Use your time wisely.
down all the things – family, day job, and business-related – that
you’d like to do the next day. Then, mark each one with an A, B, or C.
As are tasks that must be done. Bs should be done, and Cs would be nice
to get around to. This will help ensure that you’re spending your time
on high-value activities.
While these rules don’t cover every step of creating
your own part-time business, they will help you to head in the right
So stop procrastinating.
There’s no time like the present to start becoming your own boss.
- Sean C. Castrina is the author of 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business
Start-Up Success (Champion Publishing, $14.87, www.newbizcoach. org) and
8 Unbreakable Rules for Small Business Dominance. He is also founder of
newbiz coach.org. A successful business
coach and a true entrepreneur, he has started over 15 successful
companies over the last 18 years. His companies have ranged from retail,
direct mail marketing, and advertising to real estate development and
home services. Sean is a sought-after speaker and can speak with
authority on what it takes to start, sustain, and grow a business. Sean
offers a two-day seminar in Charlottesville four times per year that
will take an aspiring entrepreneur from dreaming to leaving with a
business ready to run. His staff qualifies potential service businesses
in your area that offer the most profit and lack competition.
- Visit www.newbizcoach.org for more information.
- 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Start-Up Success is available from all major online booksellers and at www.newbizcoach.org/shop/.