Thursday, June 22, 2006

Choosing your Poison, Choosing your business Opportunity

I have worked my 9-5 job for the last 13 years; I know that I am like millions of other that are trying to break that daily grind. There is one popular alternative to this life style, which is looking for a business opportunity that turns you from an employee into a self-employed entrepreneur running your very own business.

I can see many good reasons why to make this move, it is a wise one in my honest opinion. Being your own boss means you can set your own hours. This can is the number one reason I have set to task as I have 2 small children and a wife I would like to spend more time with. Another good reason is that working from home can save you some valuable time, if your alternative is driving back and forth two or three hours a day to work. The last one and probably most important is you make a whole lot more working for your self than you do someone else.

I guess I am saying that being your own boss gives you a very valuable commodity called freedom. You are free from being someone else’s employee, and return you get to be responsible for your own future. As a self-employed entrepreneur you are free to do many of things I stated above, set your own hours, establish your own work habits, choose what you will and will not do for work, create your own products, find your own customers, and do whatever it takes to make those customers happy.

The most important aspect of working for yourself is that you are free to set your own prices. You get to choose how much you make or how little income you generate. You will not have anyone to answer too, unless like me and you have a wife that is curious at everything you are doing, other than yourself, suppliers and the taxman. Who is always there, in life only two constant Death and taxes, remember those as they will be forever in your life.

**There two alternatives I have found to getting started**

The two ways I have found through my research are quite obvious. The First is probably the most rash and not all of us are able to do this. Quit your day job and launch yourself fully into the new venture. The second is to continue on with your current employment and develop your business on the side, in whatever spare time you can find. I will call the first one “Pissing off the spouse” and the second I will call “Getting no sleep but saving your marriage” nah just kidding ha-ha. Just need to separate them while we discuss each.

Depending on your point of view, taking the first strategy can be either an act of courage or just plain reckless behavior. Unless you happen to be one of the top 2% of people in the world who are independently wealthy, planning and timing are extremely important with this approach. The reason should be obvious, once you leave your current employer your source of income will be gone and you will have very limited time to make your business work before the bills come a calling. It is truly “sink or swim” and you can sink pretty fast without a source of income, I know trust me it is painful.

This means that you need to plan the changeover to self-employed very carefully. Everyone will have a different situation. My aunt was able to step from her bus driving job into a private transportation business because the last six months of her employment she spent her time developing leads and contacts within the community. When she finally struck out on her own she had customers waiting and was able to more than double her income the very first year. I was shocked at how many parents couldn’t get to school to pick up their kids!

Unfortunately majority of us are not this lucky. We do not have the quality leads or specialized skills. Most of us cannot take the opportunity to use our present employment to build that launching pad of potential customers before we take off into the wonderful world of self-employment. However most of us are starting with very few ideas, not so defined skills, and a limited income. So our leap into self-employment had better take off within the next few months are we are likely to find a job at the local burger place or worst still return to our previous employer.

This is why I think the Second option is the best approach for most of the newly self-employed entrepreneurs, the second option lets you test your idea, develop your unique skills and build your business slowly. If you happen to be unsure about the products or services you are going to sell, this approach lets you try different product lines and see how well they fit with your overall objectives and abilities. It is often that our first ideas are not realistic, or there just happens to be no market for the services they want to provide. Or you find that you cannot charge enough to make any money with the products or services you have chosen.

**Choose your product carefully**

Like all new entrepreneurs, whether you like the first “piss the spouse off” or “Take your time and make a happy home” approach you should be very tight fisted with your resources, they are limited after all and you should not invest serious capital into a product or business idea till you have taken the time to thoroughly check it out. I have some suggestions on how to do this:

1. Talk to people who are already selling the product or service.

2. Establish the credibility of the person or company providing the product or service.

3. Make sure the company provides on-going support for their product(s).

4. Make sure there are no hidden or unexpected costs (such as franchise fees) that will eat away your profits.

This applies to everything you are looking at, whether it is an online product such as an MLM or affiliate scheme, or a more traditional product or service aimed at your neighbors or local customers as it were.

I can point to a few examples in the world where this holds true. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates started out in their garage, now look where they are today? My Aunt started out driving for the school land today she has her own employees and garage. Almost every millionaire today took some steps to secure that future for them. What is holding you back?

These are some rare instances I know, in the world of “business opportunities” many claim to have made millions and taken the “bull by the horns”. But many of the cases have never made their idea actually work and are floundering around doing what they hate the most.

Any successful entrepreneur will tell you, the choices you make in products will determine if you fail or succeed. Many of the ideas out there are bogus with no hope of working, and many others are purely designed to make maximum profits for their creators and small profit for people like you and me who choose to sell them. So no matter how hard you work; how committed you are to making it “big”, if you happen to choose the wrong product you will be doomed to failure. As they say try, try, try again till you do succeed. So do not take this to heart as many successful entrepreneurs have failed 3 times or more before finally making those cool millions


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