Entrepreneurship -for individuals

Hello! I hope you have been enjoying the BIP posts. I have more prompts to come, but I wanted to share my experience and opinions about entrepreneurship for individuals; it’s not just tech start-ups or needing investors to get started. I truly believe in dreaming big and encouraging everyone to do the same. I believe in starting with the skills, experience and resources you already have and growing from there! A friend and I have a saying, “I may not feel 100% or have it figured out 100%, but I’m certainly not 0%!” I encourage everyone to start…simply start. Make time to dream and plan….period.

First, let’s define entrepreneurship. Wikipedia defines it as “has traditionally been defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which typically begins as a small business, such as a start-up company, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire.” So even if you are offering computer repair, house cleaning, landscaping, child care, writing services, web design, handmade items at local farmer’s markets, car maintenance, or any of a number of other services or products you are an entrepreneur!

I believe anyone focused on sharing their skills and talents, full-time, part-time, or whenever they have time, is an entrepreneur! This title begins with thought. Whether you are thinking of starting your own full or part time business, expanding an existing business, interested in side gigs, or advancing from your current position at a particular organization or company you have an entrepreneur spirit it starts with a single thought.

So, what is the basic process to turn thought into action? Once you have focus and define what you want to do (some were born knowing, others like me, have several interests and need to narrow it down or some find it difficult to even know where to begin) you start to take action. I recently wrote about focusing on your interests; defining possible side gig opportunities that fit your interests. You can read that here.

Something that always works for me is to write down my focus. Once I see it in writing it helps me work through the steps needed to accomplish it or adjust the idea, etc.  I sometimes get ahead of myself and writing it out keeps me focused and grounded. It helps me realize whatever venture I’m exploring has huge potential, but I need to start with step 1, not 100! For example if I want to expand my photography hobby and offer small event and senior photos as a side gig on the weekends there are obvious first steps that need completed before I go rent a huge studio space, contact a publisher for a coffee table book deal, or buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I need a plan first…I need a focus…I need clients!

I made my list and actually had a very successful part time photography business for about a year until I found a more time demanding job and decided to stop. I photographed families, high school students, corporate golf events, pet photos, a local small band, and even a few shoots for dating profile photos. I decided on photography, because of my love for taking nature photographs. When I started brainstorming about side gigs I decided to focus on what I had to help me define my focus. I already had a nice digital camera, I enjoyed photography, I love being around people, etc. Next step was my action list, which I’ve shared a general recap below:

  • Create a web page (I used the free service through Shutterfly to display samples of my photography and create online galleries for clients)
  • Come up with a business email (another free action item, I used gmail)
  • Advertise and find business/clients; business cards, flyers, I reached out to companies for corporate events, word of mouth, browsed ‘want ads’ online, posted cards and flyers at laundry mats, libraries, community boards, online, etc.
  • Set fees and define what is included (I researched the average hourly rate and cut it almost in half because I was not a professional full time photographer and I wanted to use this opportunity to enhance my photography skills as well as provide an affordable alternative.)
  • Research tips for family and senior photos and offer those on my site and when discussing details with clients (I read a lot about family and corporate photography to enhance my knowledge and help clients decide not only on settings and poses, but also on package options, professional photography terms {to ensure clients I was at least semi-professional}. I also practiced shots with lighting, angles etc. to gain skills and experience.)
  • Set up a payment method. I accepted checks, cash and PayPal payments
  • File system and organize jobs. I had a ledger with names, packages, dates, costs, and notes to help me track everything. I also kept electronic files for tax purposes, keeping record of payments received and mileage with other items I needed for taxes
  • Offer incentives. I offered all clients incentives for repeat business or referring friends, either a discount on their next purchase/photo shoot or a gift card if they didn’t have any other photography needs (a $5 to $10 Starbucks or other gift card)

That was my general list and action items. It was low investment, I didn’t get rich, but I made extra money and had a blast doing it! And I kept an open mind about expanding. For example the pet photography came about due to a request. I had never even thought of pet photography. That is something I’d enjoy starting up again! I even kept making time for photography trees, skylines, etc. and made photo cards as gifts out of those and through word of mouth I was able to sell some for a small profit!

Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have an entrepreneur spirit? Do you have tips to share or questions? Please comment below or email me at successencourager@gmail.com

Trees With Quotes.

Start!

 

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