Becoming a full-time entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding, exciting, and fulfilling decisions of my life. I mean the idea of never having to answer to a boss again is worth this decision on its own. However, there have been hiccups along the way. We put in an insane amount of time, deal with a ton of stress and constantly face the unknown. What happens if your startup fails?
While there are times that being a budding entrepreneur can get lonely, you still have a support system in place that can help you when you need emotional, mental, or even financial support. You have those you can turn to for advice. These are the people you need to consult before you begin your journey to becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur.
1. Your significant other.
Your significant other is going to be there during good times and bad, so it just makes sense that you discuss your decision to become a full-time entrepreneur with them first. In fact, this is probably the most important person for you to talk with.
Not only will your significant other be your biggest champion and supporter, they’ll also be your voice of reason throughout the entire process. For example, what are you plans for the coming months? Does is include making money? They may remind you that it’s not the right time to embark on the entrepreneur journey. If you're married or in a serious relationship, this is the person who will give you the green-light or not. My wife has been been my biggest supporter. Make sure you have a sit down discussion with this person before you start to discuss everything with anyone else.
2. Your nearest and dearest.
Besides your significant other, you should also discuss this decision with your family and closest friends. Just like your significant others, these people will provide support -- both financial and emotional -- and provide honest feedback on what they think of your ideas. Remember, you’re going to be putting in long hours and dealing with a lot of stress. You will need these individuals to keep you going.
You should welcome useful feedback and constructive criticism but stay away from the negative people in your life. You’ve got enough on your plate. The last thing that you need is fighting with loved ones who just don’t get it.
3. Fellow entrepreneurs.
If you’re starting your own business, whose advice would you take more seriously? The successful coffee shop owner in town? Or, the person who works part-time at the coffee shop? Obviously, you would listen to what the owner has to say as opposed to the part-time employee. That’s not to say that the employee doesn’t have great ideas. It means that they usually don’t have the knowledge, connections and experience to share with you. However, an entrepreneur soon learns to keep an eye out good advice everywhere.
Prior to jumping onto the entrepreneur bandwagon, sit down with an entrepreneur or small business owner who has faced and conquered the challenges that you’re about to go through. Not only will their techniques be extremely helpful, they can also refer you to accountants, lawyers or investors who work primarily with entrepreneurs.
4. Your mentor.
Richard Branson has said that “If you are looking to make your way in business, try to find a mentor.” Branson, for example, has said that “Sir Freddie Laker gave me invaluable advice and guidance as we set up Virgin Atlantic, while my mum has been a mentor throughout my life.”
Just like your fellow entrepreneurs or small business owners, mentors can share advice and pass along knowledge from their experiences. They usually have connections to other professionals who can help you get your business off the ground.
Don’t worry that you won’t be able to find a mentor. Most successful entrepreneurs and business owners are more than willing to give back. You just have to attend entrepreneurial events, industry events, interact with industry-specific groups on LinkedIn, join your local chamber of commerce/entrepreneur organizations, or find someone who has started a business similar to yours.
5. Your customers.
Wait a minute. You haven’t even become a full-time entrepreneur yet and you already have customers? Not exactly, but you do have potential customers. Discuss your idea as early as possible to make sure that there’s an actual market for your produce or idea, as well as figuring out the best ways that you can best help your customers. Remember, if there is no market, then there’s no point in going forward.
Don't be careless with your idea. There are definitely some untrustworthy people out there. But here is the deal. There are millions of ideas, but execution on the idea is what makes you an entrepreneur. Most people either can't figure out the way to do what you are thinking of doing, or they are not motivated enough to carry out your plan. So, go ahead and discuss your business as early as possible without the fear of it being stolen. Chances are you idea isn’t going to be taken away from you.
Risk is part of being an entrepreneur. Take the risk.