On the surface, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense. One might assume that high unemployment rates equates to skilled individuals pounding the pavement and reaching out to their networks to secure a job that will provide them with the safety and security of a steady paycheck and benefits. The truth is that it’s times like these that many of us realize that very few things in life offer us security, and as scary as it might be, it is time to create our own sense of security.
The fact remains that during times of the greatest economic recessions, more and more of people are launching entrepreneurial ventures. In fact, Entrepreneur Magazine published results from Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ job market index that showed that 8.7 percent of job seekers gained employment by starting their own companies in Q2 2009, compared to the record low of 2.7 percent during Q4 2008.
I can tell you that there is never a better time to go out on your own. I can also tell you it is not easy. It will cause many sleepless nights. It is certainly not for everyone but for those willing to make the leap of faith to become an entrepreneur, I can promise you it will never be boring.
GroundFloor Media celebrates its 9th anniversary this year and looking back, I thought it might be worthwhile to share with you the top 10 things (divided into a 2-part blog so you aren’t bored to tears) I learned during the first year of entering this insane world of entrepreneurship (note: I started GroundFloor Media during the dot-com bust of early 2001 where the “work-experience unemployment rate” was 10.4 percent) http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2002/dec/wk3/art02.htm
1) Hire a strong attorney and a solid CPA. It is not your specialty (unless you are starting a law firm or a CPA firm) to know the legal and financial implications behind starting and building a business. This is not to say you shouldn’t be armed and dangerous with enough information to ask the right questions and make sound decisions, but spend the money to hire professionals who specialize in building small companies. Do you have E&O insurance? Do you have a Buy/Sell? Are you filing the proper documents with the IRS? I hired Colson Quinn http://www.colsonquinn.com/ (do not laugh at that photo, please) who specialize in entrepreneurs and still rely on their counsel nearly a decade later.
2) Build a professional website. When I launched GFM, I hired a freelance designer I had worked with in two previous lives and offered him part trade and part cash in order to build a site that we used for nearly six years. Now is the time to work with creative, dedicated freelance designers that are looking to design a site they can be proud of and use to promote their own business. Do you have something you can offer them in trade? If so, consider getting creative with your compensation.
3) Get involved in community efforts. Give of your time. It will come back to you in ways you never imagined possible. If you have a service or a product that a non profit could benefit from, consider giving it away. It will help others and help you keep things in perspective.
4) Take time away to work on the business; not just in the business. Even if you are the only one actually working on building the business and you have yet to bring on your first employee, schedule an offsite with yourself and get out of your ‘office’ to think about the strategy and direction of the business.
5) Connect people. We all have contacts we have made through the years. There are people that can benefit from meeting other folks you know, both professionally and personally. Make the introductions that make sense. You never know where they can lead.
More to come Monday…