I get questions about what it’s like to be entrepreneur and what steps one should take if they want to start a business. I personally believe that not everyone can be a business owner, but I do believe that if you have the will, heart, and passion – you can build your own business and become an entrepreneur. If this is down your alley, keep reading!

PC: Jen Melgarejo

When I started my very first business {The Cuddly Cottage}, I had no idea what I was in for. I was watching a ton of Youtube videos from entrepreneurs, brands, public figures, etc and doing as much research as possible to gain a better understanding of what I needed to accomplish.

My entire life, I only knew of graduating college, finding a good paying job, and staying at that job for the rest of my life. I didn’t think that it was common for people to switch jobs or even switch companies {obviously, I was wrong}. During my time working in Corporate, I was surrounded by individuals that worked at the company for years and in my mind I thought that was something I also needed to follow. I truly did want to climb up the Corporate ladder and become a Managing Director – it’s so funny because I even remember telling people about it at my very first job.

I made my decision to leave Corporate life when I was dealing with some personal stuff and I could not handle working long hours while also trying to deal with that. I wanted to make sure I took care of my mental health and I was very fortunate to have fallen into building a business shortly after leaving Corporate.

To be completely honest, when I left – I was lost and depressed. I remember being at home and not knowing what to do with myself, and I was just being a lazy bum on the couch. I was applying to local jobs near me because I wanted to be able to have a very flexible schedule so I could fly back to California if I needed to. Tom actually encouraged me to not accept a job that I applied for in person and received the offer right then and there. He encouraged me to pursue a business and if it weren’t for his support – I really wouldn’t be where I am today.

I love looking at this image {above}. This is a great representation of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

There isn’t a clear cut pathway to starting a successful business, but there are some things that can be helpful to know for those in the beginning stages of starting a business. These are just a few things that I think would be helpful to anyone that is thinking of starting a business because I know when I first started, these were the first steps I had to take.

1. Fill A Need in the Community

I personally think that when you’re providing a solution to a problem in the community, you become a valuable resource and you end up attracting more people. I am not saying that you will only be successful if you fill a need, but I do think that when you fill a need, you stand out and it makes the process of picking up clients a little bit easier.

The best way to figure out how to fill a need is to look at your community and see what people are looking for. You may have to ask some people in the community what they think is lacking or what they think could be a great addition. You can also ask yourself – what are some things in your life that could be improved if you could hire someone else? I highly recommend making sure you have this written down so you can go over it and ask a new set of people and see if you get a similar result. This is a great segue into my next point, research.

2. Research

Before jump-starting a project/business, it is usually always helpful to do research and learn as much as possible. In today’s time, there are so many resources that you can check out that can help you better understand how you can approach a business. If the business you’re thinking of requires you to design, there are many YouTube videos that can help you learn Photoshop, Canva, etc.

There a ton of teachers and coaches that often provide you with free tools and resources to help you progress. Make sure to dedicate some time on reading and educating yourself on what is needed from you before you dive right into your passion.

3. Form a Legal Entity

Starting a business doesn’t mean you just start out of the blue and begin charging and collecting money from clients. There’s actually a lot of thought that you should think about before generating revenue for your business. One of them is making sure you get incorporated – whether it’s through a lawyer/accountant or an online resource. Personally, I filed an LLC and the reason why this is important is so that way you can protect your personal assets. So say for example, your business is not incorporated and one of your clients decides to sue you (hopefully never happens to you) and they win – ultimately the court can make the final decision if your personal assets, like your home, can be taken away to help pay for whatever costs are being discussed. Just to protect yourself – consult a lawyer or an account so that way you can ensure you’re taking the right steps to protect yourself and your personal assets.

4. Start a Website & Claim Your Socials

You may not be able to do this right away until you feel really comfortable with the business name – but if you have a business name that you really love then make sure you can claim your website and your social media handles on literally ALL platforms.

I’m not a huge Twitter user, but I recently made a Twitter {I’ve had some in the past but rarely used them} and Pinterest business account because you want to be able to attract a wide net of potential clients. You don’t need to heavily use all of it right away, but always good to have the social media handle in the event you find yourself using a different platform.

If you’re looking for a great website hosting, use Siteground {not sponsored} and use this link to get started.

5. Outreach

PC: Jen Melgarejo

One of the biggest reasons why I started Women Entrepreneurs of Hudson County, a volunteer-led non-profit organization focused on empowering and supporting female entrepreneurs, is because I had no idea what it took to build a business and I wanted to connect with current business owners. I found myself reaching out to female business owners seeking advice, tips, knowledge because that is what I thought would be most beneficial. I did not expect that other women would be in my position and would be searching for the same.

My first independent networking event for women entrepreneurs included Meghan Lavelle, owner of Washington General Store, because she is so inspiring and I am in awe of her store and her business endeavors. I sent her an email to see if she would be interested in speaking and sharing her story at my event and she accepted!

Find a community and reach out to people that inspire you because you might get a response and it will change your life forever!