Beginner Entrepreneurship: Tips and Advice to Help You Get Started
By Derek Goodman
According to a report published by PRNewswire, approximately 14 percent of U.S. adults are starting or running a new business of their own—accounting for around 27 million Americans nationally. However, fear of failure and a lack of qualifications keep many first-time entrepreneurs from pursuing their dreams of starting a business—especially younger individuals with fewer skills and less professional experience.
If the benefits of entrepreneurship appeal to you but you’re not sure whether you’re ready to devote your entire life to owning a business, it’s best to start with something small and manageable—such as freelance writing, website development, graphic design, photography, or hairdressing. Other small business ideas for first-time entrepreneurs include dog sitting, personal training, and interior designing. For some tips and advice that will help you to dip your toes into the world of owning a business—without taking on more than you’re ready for—read on.
Explore Beginner-Friendly Business Ideas
Even if you dream of owning a large company or managing a team of employees, it’s best to start small when you’re new to entrepreneurship and unsure whether this will be the right career move for you. If you enjoy animals, for instance, dog sitting can be a great business opportunity for first-timers—especially if you have plenty of indoor and outdoor space for your furry guests. When starting a dog-sitting business of your own, prepare your home by removing poisonous plants and choking hazards, securing lids to garbage bins, locking up cabinets that may be accessible to animals, and blocking off hazardous areas in your home or lawn. Then build a list of references to show potential clients that you’re credible.
In addition to dog sitting, other beginner-friendly entrepreneurship opportunities range from social media management and data entry to offering daycare services for kids. However, the type of business you choose should align with your lifestyle, skills, experience, and local job market.
Create a Business Plan
After selecting a business idea, you’ll need to create a plan and conduct plenty of research—as this will help you to identify your goals and the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them. You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll structure your business as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC). Unless you’ll be operating as a sole proprietor, you’ll need to register your business with the Secretary of State (SOS).
As you start your small business, it’s also important to decide how you’ll track your finances—including your budget, taxes, expenses, and rates. You can either hire an accountant to assist you in tracking your finances, or accounting software may be a better option.
Several accounting systems include:
- QuickBooks Self-Employed.
- Sage Business Cloud Accounting.
According to experts at Business.org, QuickBooks Self-Employed and FreshBooks are best for sole proprietors and freelancers—while Xero is ideal for paying bills, managing inventory, tracking purchase orders, and sending invoices. Typically, the type of accounting software you choose will depend on the nature of your small business.
Start Building Your Client Base
Once you’re ready to get your small business up and running, it’s time to build your client base. Online job boards like Upwork can be a great place to pitch your skills to prospective clients, especially if you’re still working a day job and don’t have a lot of extra time to market yourself and your offerings. For instance, if you’re a web developer, you can create an online profile through Upwork that highlights your skills and links to your business website or portfolio. Social media marketing can be another great strategy for expanding your customer base.
First-time entrepreneurship may seem daunting, but these tips will help you to select a small business idea that matches your skills, experience, interests, and lifestyle. By starting small and pursuing an idea that you’re passionate about, the thought of failing won’t seem so scary—and it’ll prevent you from taking on more than you’re ready for.