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When you’re an employee, it can be tough making your own decisions. You’re probably not allowed to set your own schedule, you can’t just take off whenever you want, and you have to do the job exactly how they say you should do it (even if it doesn’t make any sense). You might be considering quitting your job and starting your own business, but there’s a few important things to ask yourself before you make the “leap”.

1.     Do I know what I want to do?
If you aren’t sure what you would do for a living if you could do anything you wanted to, then definitely don’t tell your boss to go to hell quite yet. Just like the old advice about going to college, don’t pursue a path unless you have a definite end goal in mind.

2.     What would I do if I had all the money in the world?
The awesome thing about being an entrepreneur is that you can do just about anything you put your mind to. If you don’t know what you want to do, ask yourself what you’re passionate about – and then monetize that. If you love baking cupcakes, perhaps you can start a cupcake subscription box business, or send different cookie cutter shapes each month. You can definitely open a bake shop (i.e., a brick-and-mortar location), but be financially prepared to take out a very large business loan to pay your lease and utility bills.

3.     How much are my bills each month?
If you don’t have control over your budget, and you want to quit your job, now is the time to add up your bills. Take a look at your regular recurring expenses (e.g., your car payment is $205.43 per month, your Netflix bill is $10.59 every month, etc.) as well as your fluid expenses (e.g. your electric bill is around $100 per month, your groceries usually cost $350 or so, etc.). Add all of these up, round up a little, and always overestimate what you think you need for a minimum net income (take about 30% off of whatever you’d make in gross dollars – for instance, if you’d gross $3,000 per month, you’d net about $2,000 per month when you pay your taxes).

4.     How much would I like to make each month?
If you’re looking to be your own boss, that means you can set your own salary. The catch is, you don’t have a marketing department, sales force, or brand name to rely on for a biweekly paycheck – it’s all on you to meet your monthly financial goals. If you want to gross $10,000 per month, then you’ll find a way to earn that $10,000 in one way or another.

5.     What does it take to meet my monthly financial goals?
Whether we like to admit it or not, being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. You have to deal with financial uncertainty, and become comfortable with the fact that a client may drop you or a manufacturer will no longer produce the product you sell. However, having a financial plan that includes the products or services you’ll sell, the prices they are set at, and the volume of sales you’ll need are the main components of a business budget to meet revenue goals.

6.     Who can help me speed up the process?
One of the ways that I was able to become a full-time entrepreneur is by asking for help from business coaches who are already where I want to be, and immediately taking action on their advice. Yes, business coaches cost money – that’s what they do for a living, after all – but usually they’ve been successful in another industry before deciding on the business coach route. (IMPORTANT: Do NOT hire a business coach who doesn’t have a track record of success in any other endeavor – usually they’re just charging you money to tell you something they read out of a book).

7.     How much will it cost to run my business?
This is a difficult question to answer, especially if you want to sell physical products. You have to determine how much it will cost to purchase goods at a wholesale price, or purchase the materials/ingredients needed to create your own product. If you run a service-based business that requires expensive equipment (e.g., your own construction company) then you’ll have to determine how much it costs to lease or purchase the equipment. (A key point to remember is that you should always try to net more than your gross costs: if it costs $30,000 per year to lease equipment, then you need to net more than $30,000 to not only break even, but make a profit).

8.     What is my competition?
One of the biggest concerns of any new business owner is the competition in their industry. Don’t be discouraged: the world is an enormous place, and there’s lots and lots of room for your little business to survive and thrive. Your bills, if managed properly, shouldn’t be an issue if you sell products and services at a price that attracts lots of customers and clients. For instance, Cassus Media is in the digital marketing industry – we’re up against huge marketing agencies throughout the U.S. and abroad – yet we’re doing just fine with excellent clients.

9.     Do I have to consider any legal issues?
When you register your business, you should look into the best way to do so. Cassus Media is a Limited Liability Company, or LLC, because it provides a certain level of protection for my family and I should things go south. I also don’t hire employees because of the need for providing benefits, etc., but rather partner with other business owners to accomplish tasks that I need. Make sure to consider your logo, graphics and video content, phrases (e.g., you can’t use “Have it your way.”, because Burger King trademarked it), and the actual name of your business as well. Legal Shield is a great option for those who aren’t sure how to get started, but keep in mind that usually it’s a lot cheaper to learn everything yourself (I did here in Pennsylvania).

10.  What is the name of my business?
The name of your business is what people will see and think of first every time, so make sure that it’s unique and fits the nature of your business. It’s the most exciting part of starting your business, and also the easiest. For instance, “cassus” is a Latin derivative of “casus” which means vain or empty. Social media is all about vanity and self-promotion, so being in the social media industry is just natural!

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Starting your own business is quite an adventure, incredibly liberating, but also very scary at first. However, once you’ve earned your entrepreneurial wings, you’ll end up soaring to heights you never knew you could!