This famous photo shows JFK Jr in a coat from my Grandma’s Imported Linens and Children’s clothing store in NYC - Jackie shopped there a lot.
When I did have my Ah-HA moment – I finally understood the reason I was taking the plunge and what was so alluring about being my own boss. I love hearing others stories and thought you might too. A big thanks to my Experts who contributed their stories to inspire and guide you.
1. Easy to Hire; Easy to Fire
How to get over the first big hurdle: I became an entrepreneur when I realized I couldn't work for others. Employers loved me when I was interviewed. After awhile, even though I did my work and more, I wouldn't tolerate certain working conditions such as people smoking right outside the doors, or ignoring the vegetarians during company functions.
Biggest hurdle is marketing.
One tip I will share ~ Do NOT incorporate until you're established. No matter what, you've got to pay that $800 a year, even if you've not made a dime.
2. Take Action Now and start!
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest secret to being an Entrepreneur is to Take Action. Everyone talks about one day I'm going to start a business. Today is the day! The word Decide means to cut off, so you literally must cut off any alternative to starting your business. Once you decide to start your business, NOTHING can stop you!
3. There's no one else like YOU
How to get over the first big hurdle: When I started my business, the odds seemed against me. I thought there was a lot of competition. BUT I had one critical thing going for me. ME. No one else could see the exact vision I had. No one else had the life experience that led me to the moment when my company just HAD to come into existence. Remember that YOU are unique and your business NEEDS to exist and don't stop your perfect vision from happening NOW.
4. Get Professional Help
How to get over the first big hurdle: After we purchased our first home, my husband and I were struggling to find reliable painters, plumbers, capenters etc. I decided to start a business that would screen and refer local contractors. While I'm great at sales and promotion, I had no home improvement experience at all. To help guide me through my start-up, I established a Board of Advisors and invited several trade and industry professionals to join. Their expertise was invaluable to me and gave me the added confidence I needed.
5. Earn as You Learn
How to get over the first big hurdle: Be a life long learner! Things are changing so fast that even if you knew what worked yesterday, you'll have to study up to know what might work tomorrow. Be teachable. Seek out advisers who have succeeded in your field. Read vociferously. Follow blogs that consolidate and simplify complex processes for you (like this one). And learn to love it all! As an entrepreneur, it is the degree to which you are willing to flex, change, learn and grow that will make or break your business.
6. Entrepreneurship Finds You
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest hurdle to overcome when I realized I was moving toward a life of entrepreneurship was questioning if the lifestyle would work for me. Was I ready to live with an uncertain stream of clients, thus, income?
After the economy started to change and talented people began to lose their jobs, I realized I was in a great place. I control my own professional destiny. That's power, baby!
7. Taking The Plunge Was Scary!
How to get over the first big hurdle: I had the ideas, I had the expertise, I had the education--what I needed was the nerve. I needed to be sure that I could make it without the steady income (and deadly monotony) of a 9 to 5. I was a single parent, I needed to be SURE! Timing is everything! I married a great guy who said go for it. My kids were grown and said go for it. So I went for it and have never looked back. Confidence in myself and support from my nearest and dearest, that's what made the difference for me. Believe!
8. Why I became an Entrepreneur
How to get over the first big hurdle: I'm an artist & found few art related jobs that stimulated my artistic side while paying me enough to keep the lights on, so I decided to take the plunge & become a full time artist; selling my artwork online, at art shows & local galleries. My biggest hurdle is technology to sell online in my rural location & purchased Satalite internet. Paperwork was a snap for me, but I turned to SBA for marketing help and training on doing business with the fedearal government; a great resource.
9. You Know When You Know
How to get over the first big hurdle: It took a surge in confidence to get me started. I decided to start my business when I realized that no one could do what I do the way I do it and I wouldn't be satisfied with the status quo any more.I had business cards printed up that said, "Shay Olivarria, President" and I carried them with me everywhere. Silly as it sounds, those cards gave me the extra kick in the butt I needed.
10. Do The Math
How to get over the first big hurdle: While working as a bench jeweler for a large company, I totaled up the number of rings I sized in a week and the charges associated with it and looked at my paycheck. There was a HUGE difference. "Slave wages" described my paycheck.I asked for a raise which was vehemently denied. I had been designing free-lance on the side and when it caught on I left the other job. I realized, with my design work, I made in 2 days what it took me all week to drag home. Poof, I became my own boss!
11. The Desire to Retire
How to get over the first big hurdle: At age 41 I went into business for myself because I realized that I wasn't building a retirement fund. Every 3 or 4 years I'd get bored at my job and move on. Interestingly, now that I'm near retirement age, I don't have a desire to retire anymore. I love what I do.
12. It takes a village
How to get over the first big hurdle: My tipping point was being laid off after spending 18 years in Corporate America. When I told some friends and family about my idea, the response was sometimes disheartening. I joined different groups along the way (Ladies Who Launch, Hatch, Savor the Success) that were instrumental in keeping me excited and upbeat about my new entrepreneurial side. I started a weekly mastermind group with my new friends where we discuss our successes, goals and roadblocks every week.
13. Becoming My Own Boss
How to get over the first big hurdle: I decided to start my own business because I wanted to have control over my time. I was tired of having my time approved. In the beginning the biggest hurdle was money. Start up cost for equipment for the business was huge including insurance cost, so I kept my 9-5 to get over that hurdle and paid for everything as I went along. The paperwork was not overwhelming, I was in business school at the time so they helped me with the business plan and gave me a lot of great information.
14. Getting In Your Own Way...
How to get over the first big hurdle: My biggest hurdle on the road to entrepreneurship?? ME! After being downsized - I wasn't sure if I should pursue my dream. For alot of us, its all about mindset. Spend time visualizing your ideal client and look to the people around you and TALK TO THEM! The more I put myself out there, the more opportunities presented themselves. I now manage a thriving business, set my own hours and my income is only limited by my own imagination. What could be better than that?
15. Jewelry Careers for Teens
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest hurdle for me was being let go 5 months into pregnancy. I was working as a receptionist in a 9-5 job and selling Avon part-time. I thought I could have the mindset of an entrepreneur and could have my own Jewelry business. I focused on what skills I had and never realized my hobby and my passion was my money maker. I overcame my financial difficulties and saved for my materials. Now I educate teens to learn valuable skills necessary to own their own Jewelry business and a career.
16. Develop Your Credibility!
How to get over the first big hurdle: Generally speaking, my corporate sales career went from bad to worse. I quit the last company immediately upon recognizing their lack of ethics and what was about to take place. A year later, I decided to transform my selling ability into a sales training company to help the growing population of entrepreneurs fearful of sales. Credibility was my key missing factor; men laughed at me and the women ran away. Marketing materials said "write a book" - I did and it made all the difference!
17. Getting Inspired
How to get over the first big hurdle: I found my co-founder in the summer of 2009. I was living the corporate life, nice pay check, comfortable living, 40 hour work week. But then I was inspired to do more, to change the world. It's been a frightening, but amazing experience, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. We're looking to change the way men shop through co-creation, and that mission is something I really believe in, something worth fighting for.
18. Yes, more homework
How to get over the first big hurdle: If you truly want to become an Entrepreneur, do your homework. A few days of research can save you a lot of money in the long run. Try working in the industry, give out sample products, and utilize focus groups. And never give up your dream of becoming an Entrepreneur.
19. Millionaire or Street Bum
How to get over the first big hurdle: I had dreams... I wanted to travel around the world (I speak 6 languages); and I wanted a nice car... And about as importantly, I wanted to be in charge of my life and my time. So, in 1991, at age 23, with $5 in my pocket and no savings, I quit my job and decided that I'd become either a millionaire or a street bum... and in only a few months I reached my goal: I became a street bum :) However, I never gave up, and with the support of a few generous mentors, I made my first million by age 27.
20. There was no other answer.
How to get over the first big hurdle: I decided to become an entrepreneur while working in the construction industry and realizing that there was no other option that was going to make me happy.
The biggest hurdle was coming to terms with the idea of turning off a very lucrative but miserable income stream in order to pursue happiness in complete uncertainty.
Over all, it hasn't been easy, but it also hasn't been nearly as hard as I expected it to be. If I'd known then what I know now, I wouldn't have worried so much.
21. BURNING DESIRE...
How to get over the first big hurdle: I made a ten year plan to start my own business. While working for an organisation in the field of my choice and dreams(Fashion , Textiles & Apparels),I learned quickly with aim to use that experience to run my own business. This keen desire to learn helped me climbing the ladder with more responsibilities learning practically all facets of running a business.
A burning desire to create your own world, be boss of your own Time, freedom to take your own decisions was the ultimate decider.
22. Use Your Resources
How to get over the first big hurdle: Once I tested supply and demand (by creating and selling prototypes for over 12 months), I knew I had a business. Being patient throughout that time was the biggest hurdle. The rest of the process was easy as I'm a firm believer in calling in resources. Use your "peeps" and you can use the time you save to be the driving force of your business and minimize the hurdles. For example, I could have set up my S corp. but that would have taken a lot of research and time. Instead, I hired a CPA.
23. Do your homework to save cash
How to get over the first big hurdle: I'd say my biggest hurdle was actually starting the business. I did weeks of research and organized all the paperwork I needed. Yes, if you have the money you can pay a company like LegalZoom to do it for you. But, that wasn't in my budget so I had to learn to do it myself. Basically, do your homework. Ask others, use your state website, use search engines to find answers. Do NOT rush it. Think about years into the future and how your business will evolve.
24. Local Small Business Resources
How to get over the first big hurdle: To help me in the writing of a Business Plan, I joined a Local Small Business Resource Ctr. This group, Enterprising Women, met twice a week hosted by two dedicated entrepreneurs. As a group, we shared ideas, brainstormed, critiqued and built our business plans after agreeing to group confidentiality. Great networking and different ideas! If there are local small biz resources in your area,look into them...networking with like-minded entrepreneurs may be the link to some of your best customers!
25. SCORE, SBA & Me
How to get over the first big hurdle: When I started my business, SCORE a resource partner of SBA, was my springboard. They offer affordable classes for all you need to know. ($150 - 3 mnths unlimited classes) The teachers were knowledgeable and the students came from all walks of life. Classes include: Start a New Business, Business Plan Workshop, Licensing Your Small Business. They helped with all of the paperwork so I did not feel overwhelmed and the free counseling they offer as a non-profit was invaluable. www.score.org
26. Entrepreneur out of necessity
How to get over the first big hurdle: I was getting a divorce & traveling 2 hours for work each day when I felt my children needed me more than ever. I decided to start my own business so I could be there for my children and have the flexibility I needed to help them and myself through the emotional turmoil of divorce. My biggest hurdle was finding the time to work on my business as a single mom with two small children. I overcame it by working with other moms to exchange day care and play dates to free up time for work.
27. To Patent or Not to Patent?
How to get over the first big hurdle: When I invented the Clingy Cord I didn't give much thought to the possibility of someone stealing my invention, because it was MY idea - right? Well, I learned the hard way after hearing that a previous customer had copied my idea and was claiming it as her own. Luckily, I found a great patent attorney and filed a design patent within 1 year of my first sale, which protected the design and allowed me to own the rights to my product. Don't discount the importance of protecting your ideas!
28. Your time IS your life
How to get over the first big hurdle: I became an entrepreneur when I realized that the way I
spent my waking hours needs to reflect my passions, priorities and
what brings me joy.
After 9 years in high tech corporate positions, I am now a full time
owner of a boutique photography studio in Atlanta.
For people who are looking into owning their own business:
This is your life. You choose how you spend it. Do it so that your energy goes towards that thing you can be the best in the world at, and which makes your heart sing.
29. Don't be afraid to change
How to get over the first big hurdle: When I started I thought fashion would embrace a sustainable t-shirt, especially in San Francisco, but I was wrong. Now we make t-shirts for non-profits, businesses and the like. My tip is that if your original target market doesn't work out, you may have to change your target. If you have a good idea, you may not have to abandon it, just change who your selling to.
30. Define Your Market First
How to get over the first big hurdle: First define your audience and then create your product or service. It is a lot easier to identify your audience and design a product that fulfills a need within that audience, than the other way around. A small, defined niche market offers the least amount of competition, lower marketing costs, and sets you up for overall success. If everyone is your customer, than no one is your customer.
31. An Unusual Catalyst
How to get over the first big hurdle: I actually got divorced and had some financial issues that arose from it. In the process of dating after the divorce, I dated a girl who did kids magic shows. She told me how good she thought I would be at it (magic's always been a bit of a hobby for me) and after much thinking - and looking over financial statements - I decided to try it for the extra money.
I did most of my research on the internet and used free resources wherever I could. I saved money that I used for other things.
32. Time is priceless, do the math
How to get over the first big hurdle: Time... there are 2000 working hours in a year (50 weeks x 40 hours a week). If you're lucky you can bill 1/2 of them (1000). Your rate has to match the necessary income you need to survive. Keep in mind that you will have around 50% expense (phone, internet, computers, vendors, taxes, etc.). So if you need $50,000 annually you will need to charge $100 per hour to make that work. (.5 x 1000 x $100 = $50,000). After 20+ years as an entrepreneur... I have found this formula to be rock solid!
33. Breaking Out of the Cubicle
How to get over the first big hurdle: I decided to become an entrepreneur because I didn't want to spend my life in a cubicle making someone else rich. My biggest hurdle was getting other business owners to take me seriously. I am 21 years old and other business owners would question how serious I was. I overcame this hurdle by always arriving early to meetings. I made sure that I was very well dressed and over prepared. They felt more comfortable doing business with me because they saw how dedicated I was.
34. Beware of Shiny Objects!
How to get over the first big hurdle: Here's the best tip I can give you about The Entrepreneur's Curse: Beware of shiny objects!
As entrepreneur's we tend to get side tracked by the next best thing, the latest and greatest or just another opportunity that comes our way. As this can sometimes be a good thing, most of the time it's not. Generally the shiny object syndrome catches our attention just long enough to steer us off course and distract us from what is most important, our business.
35. One thing per day!
How to get over the first big hurdle: I launched Rue de Chic in 2008. My dream was always to run my own business and attain financial independence. I worked on my business at night while working as a Recruiter during the day. I set a launch date and focused on taking it one step at a time so I didn't feel overwhelmed. One major hurdle was finding the time to work on my business while working full time.I made lists and swore a dedication to doing at least 1 thing per day that contributed to helping my business move forward.
36. Mom and Dad
How to get over the first big hurdle: Growing up I saw my Mother and Father work so hard and get so little in return. What they did get back was an insecure job and laid off. They were never happy and I couldn't stand it. Thereafter, I knew I didn't want to let a corporation be responsible for my career. I wanted to be an entrepreneur, so I could take my future to any place I imagined. And my biggest goal? Get my parents that house on the beach they always wanted...
37. Know What You Don't Know
How to get over the first big hurdle: I'm a firm believer that in order for entrepreneurs to be successful, we must know what we know and know what we don't know-- AND --if we don't know something we need to hire people with that specialty--or-- we need to educate ourselves on the subject.
38. Niche It
How to get over the first big hurdle: CLARIFY YOUR MARKET: Identify a specific niche and their need. As my son grew, I wanted to work again--very part time. I offered creativity coaching/workshops to writers & artists. I noticed I had the best results with people who wanted to write a book / get published. I switched my services to book writing classes, book proposal support, editing, etc. The focused niche meant more: 1) clients 2) income 3) effective marketing 4) success with clients (they became published authors).
39. Be A Professional
How to get over the first big hurdle: I wish I could say that becoming an entrepreneur was well planned, but it wasn't.Instead I simply quit my job. I realized I never wanted to work for anyone else ever again and made a business plan. Since then I have continued to run my original business well as starting several others. In all that you do, be professional. Make a personal connection but maintain a professional demeanor. No matter how frustrating the client or situation - be a consummate professional. Do this and success follows.
40. Sundays Off
How to get over the first big hurdle: My best tip for new entrepreneur is to take Sundays off. It can be all consuming when stating out on your own. So much to do and your mind is always racing of new things that need to be done. I realized that I became more productive when I took a day off.
41. Cards and Kids
How to get over the first big hurdle: I'm a school teacher on maternity leave. I started thinking about my students and the thank-you cards I had to write. That combo of thought led me to start an educational greeting card company. I talked to my entrepreneur husband who recommended I form an LLC. I joined greeting card and Mom groups on LinkedIn. I built my own website and found a coupon for a logo. I give cards to everyone and am applying for grants. Creating thinking and financing is allowing me work from home doing what I love.
42. Accidental Entrepreneurship
How to get over the first big hurdle: I kind of went into business with a product and no business knowledge. The hardest part for me was definitely the paperwork. I had trouble finding information for my state and parish and finally just went into the parish offices. I had to fill out a Doing Business As, a zoning permit for my home, and finally had to get a yearly Occupational License on top of my Louisiana Tax ID! An additional permit is required to set up at craft shows. So much paperwork just to sell my handmade goods!
43. Now Get Personal
How to get over the first big hurdle: Before you take the plunge, get personal and ask yourself some difficult questions such as: Is entrepreneurship really for me? Am I a self-starter? How well do I get along with different people and personalities? How good am I at making decisions? Do I have the physical/emotional stamina to run a business? How well do I plan and organize? Is my drive strong enough to maintain my motivation? And most importantly, How will my decision affect the significant others in my life?
44. Entrepreneur Out of Necessity
How to get over the first big hurdle: I became an entrepreneur because of necessity. I was a breastfeeding
mother and I couldn't find a breastfeeding pillow that was easily
portable. I also wanted a product that provided privacy during public
breast feedings. Once I came up with a possible solution, I did as much
research as I could to see if a solution existed already. I consulted
with a patent attorney that offered a free initial consultation. While my product patent was being worked on I spoke with a SCORE volunteer.
45. Please Don't Outsource
How to get over the first big hurdle: Early on, my business partner and I would debate over whether to outsource or not. I found it too easy to outsource a task, and because of this I initially wasted a lot of money. I did not appreciate how hard it was to get the revenue I needed to pay for outsourcing. I now take time to train existing staff and resist outsourcing.
In this economy, the safest way to grow my business is to be more patient and ask myself: "Do I want to spend time or money to get this task done?"
46. Do This And Grow Rich
How to get over the first big hurdle: I didn't decide to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial life chose me.
I believe that's the way most Entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs. We're just wired that way from birth. All we must do to turn it on is embrace it.
My tip for others: Learn marketing NOW. It doesn't matter how great your product or service is. It could be the cure for cancer. If you can't get the word out in a compelling fashion, it doesn't stand a chance. Great marketing is the secret to massive wealth.
47. Being an entrepreneur
How to get over the first big hurdle: An entrepreneur is rebel who wants to do things his/her way. For me, I did not want to work for a company where I had to get approval to implement my ideas. And, I always wanted to be the one in charge to control my own destiny. The biggest challenges I had was to become a salesman. As I did not feel confident selling, I read many books on how to become a salesman. By learning how to sell I was able to get clients and grow my business.My advice for entrepreneurs is you need to learn how to sell.
48. Fearless Opportunist
How to get over the first big hurdle: Starting a Graphic Design business at 24 was extremely overwhelming. Realizing I was no longer guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks from an employer, and knowing the weight of success or failure was solely on me was hard. My father owned his own company, seeing how his hard work and dedication paid off I knew the reward could be greater than the risk. In life you must take chances. Weather my venture was a success or a failure, the fear of failure must never be the reason not to try something.
49. The Best Home Work
How to get over the first big hurdle: As a single parent working at a major corporation, I spent many days doing the "daycare dash." My company announced layoffs. I took the package when my daughter was in the 7th grade (she's now a Stanford grad.) I found that as an entrepreneur, I could be a better parent. Working for myself didn't mean that I could manage the weekly cupcake sale, but I could do pickup and homework. My tip for parent entrepreneurs is this: Keep it Tight. Manage your time and schedule with realistic standards.
50. Just Do It!
How to get over the first big hurdle: I made the radical choice to start a company that pioneered a whole line of celebrity rubber ducks that were voted one of the top 100 gifts by Entertainment Weekly. I, like most entrepreneurs, wanted the joy and exhilaration of creating my own brand...my own baby. I didn't just want to be working with other people's creations, but wanted to leave my own mark on the world. The biggest obstacle is generating the faith and trust to live your dream! Money doesn't stop most ventures...fear does!
51. He shoots, he SCOREs
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest challenge I faced in starting my first business surrounded not having any clue how to setup and structure a business. I stumbled upon SCORE (www.score.org), an organization that provides free mentoring to entrepreneurs who need business help. SCORE hooks you up with a seasoned business executive who will answer your questions and provide mentorship for free. I found the advice I got from my SCORE adviser to be instrumental in getting past the idea stage and onto business start up.
52. Black Holes and Startups
How to get over the first big hurdle: I was 22 when I decided to start a company. It was my first time of course and it felt like staring at the face of a black hole. So many what if's and how to's. Life is too short to A. Take orders from others and B. Make money for someone else!
A few tips:
Mentors: They've made the mistakes and are a guiding force
Niche: Don't try to be something to everyone
Relentless (genuine) passion: It's infectious
53. Multi Language Emails
How to get over the first big hurdle: Providing a solution for others who have the same need as I did, drove my passion and desire to be an Entrepreneur. To overcome the language barrier with Manufacturers I work with in China I use Google Language in Emails. I send my contact emails in English and then go to Google Language and paste what I have typed into the translation box. Click Chinese Traditional, and copy and paste the Chinese translation. All my bases are covered and it works great! This can be used for all languages!
54. Profitability Before All Else
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest hurdle to starting a getting business is getting to profitability. Profitably doesn't mean just breaking even but rather making enough money to quit your day job. In order to get over this hurdle you should plan at least 2 years of working another job or having enough money to survive. 2 years isn't always the case but is a great guideline on how long the average small business owner should expect to reach profitability.
55. I Used SCORE
How to get over the first big hurdle: I decided to become an entrepreneur after my first invention. I suggest www.SCORE.org, a mentorship program for entrepreneurs. The website is AWESOME. It has some great, FREE Webinars, Online Workshops and Tools (i.e. Business Plan Templates, etc). I recommend ANY entrepreneur (no matter the business phase) to utilize SCORE. My biggest hurdle was actually talking to others about what I do. I found help from SCORE with that, too. The website also provides a link to SBA resources.
How to get over the first big hurdle: I was introduced to fair trade, which provides fair pay & improved working conditions for people in developing nations. After 22 years working for others I left my job to start my ethical jewelry business.
One hint: Make sure your name, logo or tagline isn’t already being used. Check not only the domain, but also the US Patent & Trademark Office and state & local regulators. I didn’t check & got a trademark infringement letter. My situation was resolved but you may not be as lucky.
57. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
How to get over the first big hurdle: I lost my job as a social worker and couldn't find another one. It is deeply stressful to leap out there on your own. Surround yourself with experienced business owners who can give you support, which you will need frequently. Find a brainstorming group that meets weekly, which business coaches often organize. Stay away from pay-check dependent chickens. You have little in common with them. In a few years when you are taking time off to go to the spa, you can glory in their admiration.
58. Passion Pays Off
How to get over the first big hurdle: I started six ventures, my first at age 25. I didn't "decide" to be an entrepreneur, I just got really excited about a product and felt there would be strong demand for it. I think entrepreneurs are born with the instinct and desire, and pursue it, vs. a conscious choice amongst other options. (e.g., doctor vs. lawyer).
My one tip for fledgling entrepreneurs would be to follow your passion, stay focused on the execution and for sure do your homework!
59. Taking the Leap
How to get over the first big hurdle: I always had an "entrepreneurial spirit," but fear kept me from acting on it for years. The biggest hurdle I faced was my need for financial security. I am very conservative financially, so leaving full-time employment was a big step for me. The way I overcame this hurdle was to make sure I had multiple income streams coming in--that I wasn't solely relying on my business to generate income for my livelihood.
60. Get All The Feedback You Can
How to get over the first big hurdle: I became a business owner because I wanted to control my future and get rewarded for doing what I love. Since I'm a doer and not a talker, it took a long time to realize the benefits of bouncing ideas off friends and family. I tried too many wacky and time wasting things, but have learned that my family is genuinely interested in what I do and will tell me when I'm talking crazy. Creating in a bubble is never a good idea and turning to that support group when you're a solopreneur is priceless.
61. It's about timing
How to get over the first big hurdle: After many years of being part of larger entities, I'd identified the business model that was most fulfilling to me - one that wasn't too expensive so we could be selective in the clients we'd handle. Having an incredible team of experts to handle the financial and legal aspects of creating my LLC was key because my staff and I could do what we're good at while having confidence in the rest being handled for us. I learned that it's okay to take others up on their offer to help you succeed.
62. Don't Take It Personally
How to get over the first big hurdle: I wanted to use every gift I have expressed through a successful company and product line.
The biggest hurdle for me was taking criticism of my product personally.I created it,funded it,gave it birth.
I overcame this by realizing that I have a niche high-end spa brand and that not everyone is a customer in my market. I faced pressure to be a drug store brand. Luxury is my passion. I decided to stay high quality even if it meant higher cost. Some appreciate luxury and some want a bargain.
63. Stick To The Plan!
How to get over the first big hurdle:
"When first starting out on your entrepreneurial endeavor it is imperative to make an action plan. Sometimes as entrepreneurs we get extremely creative and deviate away from the actual service or product that is going to make you the money. If you follow a plan and are still able to adapt to change, the process is a lot smoother."
Stephanie Abrams of Gabbaroo
64. Only the strong survive
How to get over the first big hurdle: *You can NEVER do enough research. Just when you think you know, you find out you really don't.
*Financing is tough and others will not believe in you or your dream as much as you do.
*Perfecting my cash flow statement for submission to the SBA was a nightmare. Pray helps.
*Remember your projections are estimates and you will need a significant cushion. I thought I had every expense down to the T; I was so wrong. Expenses come out of hiding when they hear you are on track or have funding.
65. Follow Your Heart!
How to get over the first big hurdle: I became an entreprenur because I couldn't stand the negative energy & blatant dishonesty at my previous co. They cared only about protecting fees. After 14 yrs, I rose to senior managing director & could no longer stand who I was at risk of becoming. In '02, I founded our firm based on aggressive representation & protection of clients' interests. It's been a wild, fun, confusing, exciting, scary & rewarding ride! I would most certainly do it all over again! My tip? Follow your heart!
66. mom becomes app developer
How to get over the first big hurdle: Last year I started a company developing iPhone apps. The app industry is not just new to me, it's new to everybody.
The biggest hurdle was understanding a business which is in a constant state of change. I read books on related topics, but found by the time a book is printed, it is obsolete. So I used bloggers, online information and made contacts in the industry. I joined Linkedin groups that provide information and mobile tech groups that happily share information.
67. Lack confidence? Overwhelmed?
How to get over the first big hurdle: To overcome a lack of confidence, act like a business. Research your idea. Your local SCORE office can help. Create a business name. Register with the Secretary of State. Open a checking account. Get a logo. Buy business cards. Create a website(use wordpress.com for a free option). Complete a LinkedIn profile. Set up a Twitter account. Register with free online directories. Once you have the tools of a business, you'll feel like a business person and have the confidence to approach customers.
68. Bonsai Sheroes Unite!
How to get over the first big hurdle: Two things that lead me to become an entrepreneur - Passion &
Creativity. I followed my passion for writing and graphic design and within a short time my concept for my company the Bonsai Sheroes was created. It took three year launch. During those three years I read as many books and magazines on entrepreneurship as possible. From the start my goals was to build a company that was debt free, use resources close to me, and continually do focus groups along the way - Goal accomplished!!!!
69. From Craigslist to Client List
How to get over the first big hurdle: My biggest hurdle when starting my business was marketing it. For years I used Craigslist to find freelance work, so I figured that it was worth a shot trying to cultivate new business. Ninety percent of my clients have found me on the site - and even today I receive at least one query per week from prospective clients. I post the free ads daily in two sections so I'm always up. I haven't found another marketing technique that produces such an exponential return on investment.
70. Pick up the phone
How to get over the first big hurdle: I learned the hard way, the School of Hard Knocks. Here’s an idea for everyone. Create a list of 100, who you want as a customer, then communicate with them over the next 12 months at least 15 times, with articles and information that are valuable to them, without selling your product.
71. Glass Ceiling No More
How to get over the first big hurdle: I became an entrepreneur after working for three years after college for two businesses where I basically hit the glass ceiling and felt stifled. I didn’t want men to tell me how far I could or could not go with my work. I had a passion for speed reading and decided to start my own training company. My tip: Make sure you have an innate passion for whatever business you go into. This helps you get through all the paperwork, time management, world influences and money issues you will face.
72. False Evidence Appearing Real
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest fear most people have in choosing to become an entrepreneur including myself is fear. Sometime I like to refer to fear as standing for False Evidence Appearing Real. Once you learn or seek enough information it only then that you can make an objective decision. The biggest reason people do not become entrepreneurs or business owners is not a financial one as most suspect but simply not obtaining enough information.
73. Thrills of owning a business
How to get over the first big hurdle: I started my own business because I crave the adrenaline rush. It’s like base jumping; you are always one wrong move from failure. Although it takes time and patience, long hours and determination, the intensity of being an entrepreneur is what makes me feel alive. I’ve learned if you’re in it just to make money, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, you have to be in it simply for the reward of envisioning something and seeing it become a reality.
74. Plan Ahead Financially
How to get over the first big hurdle: One of the biggest challenges was from making the move from having a stable, financial income, to not knowing what was coming next. I still had to pay my bills, and yet the money wasn’t coming in anymore. I had to turn from supporting myself to supporting myself and the company. A lot of people don’t realize how much you have to give up before you can get back.
75. Take Control of Your Destiny!
How to get over the first big hurdle: My "ah-ha" moment came after getting laid off for the 6th time as a hi-tech Marketing/Public Relations Director. I was tired of allowing someone else to control my destiny and wanted something more fufilling...something to call my own. The biggest challenge was dealing with all the negative comments by friends and family who thought I was crazy. At times it made me second guess myself but I soon learned to trust my instincts and surround myself with people who believed in me.
76. Planning Makes Perfect
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was confidence that my cheesy idea would succeed & all my hard-earned start-up money wouldn't disappear. I utilized the free services provided by SCORE. A professional related to my retail concept picked apart my business plan line by line to make sure I had all my costs covered, all my proverbial ducks in a row. It was priceless advice that gave me the confidence to write the check & open my doors. Six years later, it happily succeeded!
77. Becoming and Entrepreneur
How to get over the first big hurdle: I think the major prerequisite for becoming an entrepreneur is that you have an idea, product, or service that you think can change the way people do things or enhance the lives of others. When I first took the step to go off on my own and be an entrepreneur, I knew that the service I had created something that had the potential to change people's lives for the better. It was this belief that allowed me to overcome any obstacles and make sure that my idea saw the light of day.
78. Amp-up Your Motivation
How to get over the first big hurdle: When I start a new business, I do it with a passion to greatly improve the way things are currently being done in the industry. The biggest hurdle I originally had to overcome was lack of confidence in the sales process. I got over it by hanging 3 pictures (consisting of: my 7-month old son Chris, the Caribbean resort where we honeymooned, and a new BMW 3-series) above my office phone, so that every time I struggled with the motivation to pick up that phone, the images reminded me of my goals.
79. Want it, Need it, Made it.
How to get over the first big hurdle: There was a product in the market that I knew I could improve, and then I uttered the 5 dangerous entrepreneurial words, "How hard could this be?" Had I known, I may not have started our business. Being in a niche I knew nothing about, and growing too fast to have time to learn from the ground up, our #1 obstacle and goal is finding smarter, experienced partners. By asking EVERYONE I knew for referrals and following every lead, no matter how unlikely, we're jumping that hurdle.
80. Find Your Passion and Purpose
How to get over the first big hurdle: I loved music & entertaining. At 14 I bought equipment and music and started playing at parties. Soon I decided I was a real company. I registered “The Music Team DJs,” opened a bank account, and bought shirts with the company name. I got into business by following my passion. Then I discovered another passion: starting businesses. I have started and grown several. My tip-Never go into business just to make money. Do it with a purpose-to make something better-and the market will reward you.
81. You Really CAN Do It All!!!!
How to get over the first big hurdle: My fiancé & I came up with an idea for a product/biz. However, we had a limited budget, knowledge & experience. Though it takes a LOT of work, info is out there on the process. So do your research & GO FOR IT-designing products, finding manufacturers, web designing, marketing & even patent writing-you can learn & implement all of it! It is overwhelming at times, but well worth it. In the end, you have a ‘job’ & product that you can be proud of! & be PERSISTENT-u CAN do it! Hope this helps!
82. Now I've done it!!!
How to get over the first big hurdle: I wanted more control over my work...what I did and how I did it. I wanted to focus on things I was best at. Would I do again, yes. But...here's some things I would recommend to others considering the entrepreneurial life.
Talk to people who have failed as well as succeeded in their own business
Have at least 6 month's cash to live on and be prepared to spend a lot in setting yourself up
Be as productive as you can while you're waiting
Network - network - network
Do your research!
83. Find Your Niche
How to get over the first big hurdle: Develop a focused business model. Often, a business tries to be too many things. Strive to find your core niche in the marketplace so you can find demand. We started Netvantage because we identified an underserved market and a solution to that need. If you don’t have demand for what you are offering - everything else in terms of business becomes irrelevant.
84. Trust Your Gut
How to get over the first big hurdle: I've known I was meant to be an entrepreneur since I was a kid selling homemade jewelery to anyone who would listen. I think there are two types of entrepreneurs: those who know it in their gut, and those who stumble into it. I fall into the fist category and would recommend to others to listen to your intuition. If you're asking the question, it's because you know the answer. You don't have to dive in, but rather can take baby steps. You'll likely regret more not trying than going for it.
85. It's about Passion; not money
How to get over the first big hurdle: The biggest piece of advice I can offer new entrepreneurs or those thinking about it is to be ready to give it all you've got. Don't do it for the money, do it because you have a passion for it. The money will come later.....I hope. I still work 2 careers but this is my passion.
Another key to my success is that I have a strong support system in place. My wife and children have completely bought into this business and support EVERYTHING I need to do to make it succeed.
86. The Puppy Made Me Do It
How to get over the first big hurdle: I had a great sales career until 23 years ago when I adopted a raucous puppy, headed off to training classes and my life changed. I had a knack for training and learned everything I could. I studied with trainers, became licensed and formulated my own praise-based training methods. I started with in-home training but got so busy I opened a facility that felt like “home.”
When I deliver a happier, better behaved dog to its owner I'm rewarded by knowing I made the perfect career choice.
87. From Books To...Scrubs?
How to get over the first big hurdle: As a former CEO of a large publishing company I never thought I’d find myself starting from scratch in the medical apparel business. But after my wife’s successful battle with breast cancer we launched a line of sleepwear to combat night sweats. I saw some other uses for this “smart’ material and soon dove in to the medical scrubs arena with a special line that is doing great. A steep learning curve but worth it.
So keep your eyes open. Opportunity knocks in strange ways.
88. Beware of RoughDraft-a-Phobia
How to get over the first big hurdle: Too many entrepreneurs are worried about "perfecting" their product before they bring it to the market. Realize this: your clients are the ONLY people whose opinions matter - whether or not you think your product is perfect is irrelevant. Launch your product as soon as possible, then pay extremely close attention to what your clients say, running a campaign of continuous incremental improvement based on client feedback. It's fast, and it's way more relevant than your own opinions ever will be
89. Get Out of Your Own Way!
How to get over the first big hurdle: I have a family history filled with small business owners, but leaving the comfort of the 9-5 job was still a nail biter. Yet I still took the leap. If you're thinking of doing the same, then make sure that to get out of your own way. Check your self-doubts and paralyzing perfectionism at the door. How? Replace them with mentors and coaches who can provide new frames of reference based upon what you CAN do rather than what you CAN'T, and make THAT the driver for your business success.
90. Don't rush it! Be patient!
How to get over the first big hurdle: I walked away from my career to pursue what I then called a hobby, but really longed to do full-time--photography. I was older than others "just starting out." I paid my dues; assisted pros; and really took the time to understand the industry and align myself with seasoned professionals. I created a niche service and gained respect within the industry. Referrals started coming in. My biggest challenge was holding the line on my pricing and not discounting out of fear. Scary, but it worked.
91. severe dyslexia Don't say NO
How to get over the first big hurdle:
2. Make sure you have a really great business plan. If you don’t know how to do this take a community course or hire an honest person or company
3. If you can trademark or patent your idea then do it right away.
4. Do not put your entire life savings into your idea, no matter how much you believe in it.
5. Get a great lawyer that you can trust.
6. Never give up on your dream.
92. Passion Call ~ Please Pick Up!
How to get over the first big hurdle: An art class remedied my corporate burnout ten years ago. Taking the class was my stand against cubicles and scheduled lunches. My passion was so addictive, I began to design my life around it - despite opposition from family who didn't get my need to become an entrepreneur. This choice has allowed me to live a self directed life and still be here for my kids. Bottom line: please pick up the call from whatever is calling you! A freedom filled life lies in following your acknowledged passions.
93. Labor Pains
How to get over the first big hurdle: "The closest a man ever gets to experiencing motherhood is when he starts his own company." In 2005, I was getting tired of working as a consultant in the corporate rat-race and was ready to have a child of my own. However, dream of mine required a significant amount of start-up capital and I wasn't about to give my baby up for adoption so I sold my car, my house, pulled out 7 credit cards, liquidated my stock options and 401K to bring Tavalon Tea to life. Been living the dream since...
94. One Step at a Time
How to get over the first big hurdle: I set out to design and manufacture a product, but had no idea how to do it. I was successful by focusing on one step at a time and not trying to figure out every single piece of the puzzle from the get-go. Utilizing experts (patent attorney, industrial designers, import shipper, marketing firm) to guide and educate me through each phase was key to accomplishing my goal. Yes, it costs money to hire these people, but compared to the cost of making amateur mistakes it's been worth every penny.
95. Attitude is/isn't everything
How to get over the first big hurdle: Bottom line: I opened my school because at the end of the day, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and their families, and it wasn’t about how much money I made. Passion was my driving force.
But attitude isn't EVERYTHING-- passion only goes so far when you’re starving! Be sure you can financially survive the tough beginnings-- research your industry and what is unique about what you’ll be offering before pouring out your soul into the business adventure.
96. Quit Before you Get Fired
How to get over the first big hurdle: I graduated with an MBA after working 3 years as an aerospace engineer. The economy tanked and I couldn't find many jobs, the one I did get drove me nuts. Both my boss and I were not happy with how things were going so I put in my two weeks before I got fired. Because I left on good terms I was able to get a temporary job in a different department, but one suited to entrepreneurship. I'm now building a site dedicated to showcasing how businesses use Social Media and will offer related products.
97. A Pair of Pajamas
How to get over the first big hurdle: I visited a Harlem center for children with no fathers and whose mothers are in prison. I brought 12 pairs of pajamas. As the children came into the room, each chose a pair.After a few minutes, one little girl came over to me.
”What are these?” she asked. They’re pajamas,” I answered.
Where do I wear them?"
I answered, "To bed at night."
She looked at me, puzzled.
"What do you usually wear to bed?" I asked.
"My pants," she said.
I knew I had found my true purpose in life.
98. A Routine You Can Commit To
How to get over the first big hurdle: It's one thing to decide to be an entrepreneur, it's quite another to see it through to the end. One of the hardest parts is to get focused and stay on track. The first goal, especially when you work alone from home as I do, is to create a structure for your day that you can commit to. For me, I build everything around a mid-afternoon workout routine. It provides a ‘before’ and ‘after’ to my day, and also makes sure that I actually leave the house, see other people and get some exercise.
99. Do what you love!
How to get over the first big hurdle: Do what you love. Its that simple. If you do what you love, work doesn't feel like work. Find something that you have passion for, something that you enjoy doing, something that someone could pay you to do. Make that your job. You can do it. You probably think you have to many responsibilities, bills to pay etc.... If you have passion for your job, the money almost surely follows, more importantly, you will have happiness and fulfillment in life! So take the leap and DO WHAT YOU LOVE!!
100. one task at a time
How to get over the first big hurdle: I wanted to start my own clothing company ever since I landed my first job as an asst designer.I wanted to be the one making the decisions.Whether it was reaping the benefits of a good decision or taking a hit on a bad,I no longer wanted to rely on others for my success.Now,I am in control of my destiny; the harder I work (or don't work) will determine the success of my company.If I could share one tip; it would be deal with one task at a time,celebrate the completion and move on to the next.
101. Use your skills to pay bills
How to get over the first big hurdle: I am a 29-year-old entrepreneur who needed to pay for the remaining semester of school when I was 24. I took inventory of my skills and decided to start an event design company, Decor Jette. I helped wedding planners with decor and Austin musicians plan afterparties. In one summer, I made enough money to finally complete school! After graduation, I parlayed my communication and connection skills into starting a PR firm.
Tip:Everyone can be a resource and EVERY skill can make you money.
102. Connect With Your Community
How to get over the first big hurdle: My husband I decided to open our own child-care center when I was pregnant with our second child. We saw this as a great opportunity to invest in a business and give back to the community.
When running your own business, it is important to evaluate each dollar you spend and consider how it will impact everyone involved in your business including yourself, your staff and your customers. Use creative grassroots marketing tactics to reach your target audience and keep costs low.
103. Starting from Scratch
How to get over the first big hurdle: We looked at our passions (plants/flowers & interacting with others), strengths (artistic talent & organizational skills) and lifestyle needs (being accessible to our spouses & children). The result was to start a home-based business preserving flowers as pressed floral art. The resources of our Small Business Development Center were invaluable! Guiding us through every step needed to set up our business--registering, licenses, tax info, etc. & meeting to come up with a viable plan.
104. Leading People is Tricky!
How to get over the first big hurdle: My challenge as an entrepreneur was to create a positive work place & find balance between accountability & negligence. I made two mistakes: 1. trusting people to get the job done without clear expectations & reporting processes in place and 2. hiring great people & not letting them do their job. One new hire said to me after 3 months: let me do my job or let me go. What a wake up call. My letting go of control allowed her to grow, improved our company's operations & increased our bottom line!
105. Let BNI do the Selling For You
How to get over the first big hurdle: I was downsized in October, 2010 from a 60-hour-a-week job. I was burned out from the corporate world. I read "The Well Fed Writer" by Peter Bowerman. It gave me a the inspiration and blueprint for my marketing business. My membership in Business Network International (BNI) is critical to my success. BNI has a perfect formula for networking results: one member per category, formalized referral process, weekly group meetings and 1-to-1 meetings to develop in-depth relationships. Try it out!
106. Sky Is No Limit
How to get over the first big hurdle: It started when I was working for a firm and saw how the accounting industry stood still while the rest of our world advances w/ new technology. I knew then I can do something about it.
Biggest hurdle is waking up every morning and staying the course despite all the negatives that DO happen. I have the best family and friends who are constantly there to keep me motivated.
The one tip I'd give to other entrepreneurs is to shut out the nay sayers and keep moving forward, sky is no limit.
107. Cover your (Online) Bases
How to get over the first big hurdle: I was playing a Flash game and knew I could do it better, so I started a online video game company. I was so focused on launching that I failed to register the game domain names and several speculators bought them to redirect visitors to other sites
I had to hire a trademark lawyer and may have to buy the domains for more than they are worth
My tip? Make sure you secure all domain names for your company or products and start the trademark or copyright process before you launch.