Certified fitness instructor Jenna Frankhas aspirations of launching a new yoga product line, but blames her marital status for keeping her from living the American Dream. “I work two part-time jobs and on a good day don’t have two nickels to rub together. There is no way I can pull it off by myself.” Financial issues aside, this would-be entrepreneur just moved more than 2000 miles away from home with far less contacts in her new hometown to support her vision. “I don’t have the marketing skills or business acumen,” adds Jenna “but I have a good product that I know will sell.”
If you think you have the next big business idea but cannot imagine doing it on a single income, then you’re in good company. Nearly half of single men and women want to start their own businesses according to a 2007 Packaged Facts report, but don’t have the funds or support to get started. And while 2009 should have been the year of “Start-Up America,” according to an op-ed piece earlier this month by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, The Obama team has failed to incentivize innovation which has immobilized entrepreneurship just when our country needs it.
Sandra Sea, founder of Singles Career Coaching, can attest. “I receive a great deal of interest from singles who know what they want to do, but just aren’t sure how to go about achieving it” says Sea. It is for these reasons that Sea will be releasing "The Guide for Millionaire-Minded, Single Entrepreneurs: How to Start, Market and Grow Your Business that Makes You Money!" in April.Innovation expert and entrepreneur Jennifer Groover also tackles the subject in her new book “What If?&Why Not? How to Transform Your Fears into Action Start the Business of Your Dreams.”
Still for individuals like Jenna, failure to launch only leads to “if only” sentiments down the road. So if you dare to dream, here are some tips that can help you live and own it on just one income.
1. Look to the Sides: If you are eager about venturing out on your own don’t let money hold you back. While you can seek funding from friends and family, take a loan out against your mortgage or insurance if possible those are not great options for the risk adverse. It is for this that Jennifer Groover advises individuals to “keep their job until they have revenue coming in from the company or, if possible, to cut back on hours for your job so you can devote a little more time to your new business and increase momentum more quickly.” If you do want to go down the funding route, be sure to check out Kickstarter.com.
2. Adopt a Do-It-Yourself Attitude: It’s a new world, promises Sea, where “most business can be created at the kitchen table and on a shoestring budget.” There are tools and online resources that allow entrepreneurs to take on traditional services like public relations (HelpaReporter.com, PRWeb.com) legal (LegalZoom.com, Nolo.com, MyCorporation.com) and accounting (VirtualAccountants.com) at a fraction of the price so don’t be afraid to use them.
3. Trade the Old Fashioned Way: Your talent is a commodity that can be leveraged in exchange for other goods and services. Bartering services is a cost-effective way to get tasks accomplished without doling out dollars. Let’s use our personal fitness instructor Laura as an example. If she were to launch her new product line she could offer free training sessions in exchange for some of the professional services she needs to get started.
4. Join Forces: If you do some research, chances are you will find plenty of people who share similar passions, offer unique skill sets or have platforms in place that compliment your idea. Strategic partnerships are a great way to kick-start a business and can alleviate some of the pressures solo entrepreneurs experience when they are in start-up mode. There are plenty of social networking sites that can help you find other entrepreneurs with whom you can join forces or business, including Partnerup.com and PerfectBusiness.com.
5. Get Linked In: Many entrepreneurs complain about feeling isolated and alone when they need not to. Independent business networking groups gather every day, just poke around on Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com or MeetUp.com and you will find one in your area. Likewise, there are professional organizations and virtual communities like Ladies Who Launch and Biznik.com where you can bounce ideas off other people, get feedback and feel like you are part of a bigger team.
Starting your own business is empowering, exhilarating and can also be overwhelming. Learn how to take help and adapt based on the needs of your clients, customers and the market.