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How to Test the Waters Before Launching Your First Business

Have you thought about becoming an entrepreneur? Quitting your day job and going all-in on a new business is a major commitment. What if you don’t like it? Being a business owner comes with all kinds of personal and professional freedoms, but the job can be very stressful. It’s common for business owners to work more than 40 hours a week, especially during those first few busy years. Thankfully, there are several ways to test the waters and get a feel for entrepreneurship before diving in and devoting your entire life to a new business. Check out the following tips from us to get started!

Start With a Side Gig

The easiest way to launch a business is to start small and build slowly over time. Start with a side gig selling freelancer services to people online. For example, you could offer writing, web development, graphic design, or anything else you know how to do well. Don’t have any special skills? Try working as a virtual assistant! As you land more clients and your available hours fill up, you can begin hiring people to help shoulder the workload. Eventually, you’ll be running an agency of your own!

Stick to Low-Cost Business Ideas

If you’re not sure whether you want to stick with entrepreneurship for the long haul, start with a low-cost business idea. Besides freelancing, which costs very little to start, you could try dropshipping, making handmade products to sell online, or offering local services like pet sitting, dog walking, or personal training. Be sure to calculate your startup costs so you can budget accurately. You can estimate the cost to set up your startup by using an online cost calculator to itemize each of your anticipated expenses.

If you find that your startup costs are going to exceed your savings, you may consider a loan to cover the difference. As you won’t be eligible for a business loan, be sure to examine your credit report before applying for a personal loan. Your credit report will indicate your credit history and allow you to see any potential errors that may be causing issues with your credit score. You're eligible for an annual free credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus, so be sure to take advantage of it.

Find your customers

Regardless of what kind of business you create, identifying who is in your target market is a critical step toward success. If you already have some customers, evaluate any data you’ve gathered about them to identify common characteristics. This can give you an idea of how to market to others who share similar characteristics. Another strategy is to examine industry publications to glean available insights.

Keep it Remote

Starting a remote business is a great way to test out a product or service before spending the money on a physical business location. These days, you can run almost any kind of business remotely. Launch an e-commerce store, offer freelance services virtually, or sell digital products. If you find success with your remote business and you enjoy the process, you can always invest in a storefront in the future! Or, you can keep your business remote as it grows, saving on costs and keeping your employees happy.

Don’t Rush the Startup Process

Because you’re not sure whether you want to stick with entrepreneurship, you might be tempted to rush through the startup process. But skipping important steps in the beginning can cause your business to fail down the line. Be sure to take your time with these initial steps! Make a checklist of important systems to set up, including financial recordkeeping, client invoicing, project management, digital marketing, and order fulfillment, so everything will go smoothly once you launch.

Find a Business Mentor

If you’re not sure whether or not business ownership is right for you, consider talking to someone with experience. Find a business mentor who is eager to help you navigate the challenges of starting as a new entrepreneur. A mentor can offer invaluable guidance as you dip your toes in entrepreneurship. And if you decide to stick with it, your mentor will be around to act as a sounding board for your ideas and provide advice to help you make effective business decisions. Shopify recommends looking for a mentor who is a good listener, willing to share their expertise, and takes interest in your professional development.

It’s normal to be cautious as a first-time entrepreneur. Start small and test the waters as you learn your way around business ownership. You don’t have to rush into anything. When you build a business slowly and intentionally, you’ll lay a strong foundation for future growth.

Canada's Virtual Assistant would like to thank Safety Kid Info for this great blog article!


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