BEFORE STARTING A BUSINESS? – PART I
by F. Kenneth Taylor
When you consider factors such as; a staggering economy, overseas outsourcing, low wages, indefinite layoffs, and the depletion of social security funds for those of us in our early 40s and younger; it’s no surprise more and more people are going into business for themselves. Unfortunately, the majority of newcomers of the entrepreneurial world take up residence without ‘testing-the-waters’ beforehand—which ultimately contributes to their drowning.
Many blue collar workers of today’s workforce will see or hear of a rare instance where someone started a seemingly ‘sure-to-fail’ startup that turned into a multi-million dollar entity in a matter of only a few years, and before you know it they’re hoopin’ and hollerin’ that they’re starting their ‘own’ business so they will have ‘their’ multi-million dollar entity in a few years—and also because they’re “tired of working for someone else” – How many times have you heard someone say that? Too many, right?
Before you know it, this new entrepreneur-to-be has conjured some half-ass, “sure-fire” business to start, and they’ve conjured it, literally almost overnight, after telling you they’ve thought about it. Really? Have you?
Well, as a new entrepreneur treading very carefully; let me tell you the road I’ve traveled in starting Some’n Unique Magazine ~ S.U.M. Now I’m not saying that the way I did it is the “fail-proof” method for starting a business—it’s just what’s been working for me.
First and foremost, before you even remotely consider starting a business – you MUST have an entrepreneurial spirit and drive. This means, you’re going to start your business at any and all costs – Or die trying! This means, you WANT this business more than you want life itself! There’s no gray area with this—you either want it, and you’re gonna get it—or you don’t. Period. So if you don’t have that entrepreneurial drive, don’t lie to yourself or waste your time—keep punching the time clock.
Determining What Type of Business To Start – (1 month)
I KNOW I have that entrepreneurial drive; it’s been in me for as long as I could remember, so the next thing I had to do was determine what type of business I wanted to start. To do this, I looked at everything I was skilled in and everything that genuinely interests me. I have a professional background of 15 years in the automotive industry as a mechanic, licensed state vehicle inspector, and shop manager—seems natural for me to open my own repair shop, right? Nope! I grew tired of the automotive industry some time ago, so that wouldn’t have worked.
Now coincidently, I have also spent the last 14 years developing a true passion and calling for writing. I’ve self-published 4 books, I’ve written for 2 online magazines, I’ve been a Freelance Writer for nearly 4 years, I’ve been invited to speak at local schools, and I’ve had radio interviews, and so much more. Writing is something I could do no matter how old I become, and it’s already taken me practically one and a half decades to reach the point I’m at now.
So I asked myself. . . “What haven’t I done that I would like to?” – Start an online magazine.
It took me 1 month to determine what type of business to start.
Do Your Research – (8 months)
This should be a common sense move. Even though I’ve actively pursued writing for nearly 20 years, and I’ve even written for 2 online magazines, I have never been involved in owning or operating one. Without prior knowledge of how an online magazine operates, I naturally had to research EVERYTHING associated with starting, owning, and operating an online magazine. Some of the things I researched included;
- What is required to start an online magazine, what things will I need right away?
- How does an online magazine generate revenue?
- How important is visual content for an online magazine?
- How do I determine my ‘target audience’?
- How do I promote and/or advertise to my target audience?
- What is a Marketing Strategy & how do I create one?
- How do I determine my niche(s)?
- Should I pay to have a website built or use a host site?
- What is PPC & what is the average PPC rate?
These are just SOME of the things I had to research and determine before I could go any farther with things. Once I had these questions and more answered, I began working on the title of my online magazine, and let me tell you, Some’n Unique Magazine ~ S.U.M was NOT the first OR second choice—it was more like the 4th or 5th—and yes, I had to research the title—What if someone already had the title? When starting a business, you have to take absolutely EVERYTHING into consideration.
It took me 8 months of researching online magazines prior to starting S.U.M.
Are you keeping track of the time frames? – We’re already 9 months into starting a business, and all we have is a company name. . .
This concludes Part I. To find out what comes next check out. . .