“How do I start?” “How much will it cost?” “How do I choose the right business idea?” are a few of the most frequently asked questions from new entrepreneurs. These questions alone can stop you in your tracks because you don’t have clear answers and steps to follow.
This guide will help you move past your initial challenges and kick-start your entrepreneurship journey with five key steps.
BONUS RESOURCE: To help you research specific requirements for your business, we have created a fillable workbook that includes a checklist with links and additional tips. The workbook includes a pdf copy of our startup guide for you to keep at your fingertips. Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!
Download the entrepreneurship guide and workbook to follow along and complete the exercises as you go!
Ultimate Beginners Guide to Entrepreneurship Table of Contents
- Find Your Passion
- Determine Why You Want to Start the Business
- Do Your Research
- Develop New Habits
- Create Your Startup Outline
1. Find Your Passion
Entrepreneurship is rewarding but can be tough. Starting a business you are passionate about and will enjoy is important and necessary to help you through those tough times.
Whether you believe it or not, all of us are gifted with skills and creative ideas that are useful to others. Think about the years you have invested in your 9 to 5 and how your employer was able to monetize your gifts and skills. You have a lot to offer! In this next exercise, I am going to help you uncover and understand your passion by showing you how to create your life’s resume.
Exercise 1 – Create your life’s resume.
Step 1: First grab a copy of your resume.
It’s okay if it’s not up-to-date we will fill in the blanks.
Step 2: Look over your resume and make sure you have listed all of your current and previous positions.
If you have never created a resume, take five minutes to write a bulleted list of your past positions. Since this is a brainstorming exercise, don’t worry about the formatting but just jot down what comes to mind.
Step 3: For each job or role, think about your projects and/or daily tasks and write down all of the skills you need to complete those tasks.
Include all of the skills and activities that weren’t in your official job description but were needed to do your job. For example, as a tutor in college two of my skills was being able to listen carefully to the students and being patient.
Step 4: Next I want you to think about what you do outside of your 9 to 5 and write down the following:
- When you are at home, with your friends, or even working within your community or church, what are those skills or things that people come to you for?
- What are you known for?
- What are the hobbies you enjoy?
- [Fill in the blank] Have people ever said “I love when you do ____, you are so good at that, and comes natural to you”
Step 5: Let’s just pause for a second and look at how gifted and multi-talented you are!
It hits differently when you see it all on paper in front of you. Sometimes you need to see a roll-up of your accomplishments and skills as a reminder of how amazing you are!
I promise we are getting somewhere, just stick with me!
Step 6: Look over your list and cross out the things you don’t like or really don’t want to do.
Again, you want to avoid starting a business doing things that you don’t enjoy.
Step 7: Grab a highlighter or a different color pen and highlight or circle all of the tasks, projects, and skills that you enjoy and love to do.
If you see a task that you like to do but your employer made you hate or dread doing, put a star next to that because when you start your own business, you can create an environment where you can begin to enjoy those tasks again.
Now with your new life resume, you can see all of your God-given gifts and talents and what you like and don’t like to do. Use this information to understand your true passions and brainstorm ideas for your new business(s).
2. Determine Why You Want to Start the Business
The reason behind why you are starting the business will dictate the direction you take for your business.
Do you want to eventually quit your 9-5 and use this new business venture to replace your current income? Or maybe you have a hobby that you want to monetize to bring in extra funds? Whatever your reason might be, write it down and consider it as you build your business model and goals. Remember what you desired to build and use it as the foundation of your life’s work.
Exercise 2 – Brainstorm what motivates you to become an entrepreneur.
Here are a few examples to consider:
- Replacing 9-5 income
- Monetize a hobby
- Saving for a goal (house, education, pay off debt, etc)
- Extra funds for a safety net
- Generational wealth
3. Do Your Research
Before you develop your ideas, it’s important to ensure the end product or service will fill a need or solve a real problem. This step is critical for success and will help you determine if your idea will have potential in the marketplace. We created the IDEA Blueprint Mini-Course to help you walk through this process to evaluate your ideas for market need and feasibility.
The IDEA Blueprint Mini-Course will help you understand the problem your idea will address, identify the people who can benefit from your idea, and position your business idea for maximum impact and value.
After you know that your idea is solid, you will want to research options to protect and legitimize your business.
Exercise 3 – Spend at least 1-hour researching requirements related to business formation in your state and industry.
Step 1: Business Formation
Research which structure might work best for you (e.g., LLC, Corporation, Non-Profit, etc) and your state’s requirements to register your business.
Step 2: Business License
Research your industry and local county for applicable business license requirements.
Step 3: Business Bank Account
Research local and national banks to understand their features, requirements, documentation, and fees to open a new business bank account.
Step 4: Start-up Costs
Research & estimate your start-up costs related to licenses, business registration, software, and equipment you might need to get started.
***The checklist within the downloadable bonus workbook includes additional links to help you with this exercise.
4. Develop New Habits
New experiences and seasons in your life call for learning new habits. You won’t be able to learn or develop these new skills overnight but the first thing you can do is be aware of and acknowledge what they are.
One thing that all successful entrepreneurs have in common is the ability to adapt and make good decisions not just in their business but also within their lifestyle. As much as you may want to keep business separate from your personal life, they will often overlap. Developing healthy habits will allow you to set boundaries to avoid your business having negative impacts on your personal life.
When it comes to starting a new business here are the four habits to keep top of mind:
- Be resourceful – In the beginning, you don’t know what you don’t know. It is very important to take advantage of the resources available within your reach and be open to letting others help you. Reach out to your local chamber of commerce, and utilize blogs, podcasts, and books for free to low-cost education on starting a new business.
- Prioritize your tasks and responsibilities – Avoid the need to multitask. Multitasking can be counterproductive and increase your chances of making mistakes. Remember you are not a machine and your brain shouldn’t have to work in overdrive. In my own experience, I’ve learned the hard way that even though it may be possible to do it all at once, it is inefficient and not the path God wants us to take.
Give each task and/or responsibility the dedicated time and attention it deserves. Utilize the Rule of 3 and prioritize the top 3 important things in a given day/week/month/quarter.
Don’t feel bad for not being able to work on your business every single day or not completing everything on your to-do list. There will be days when your business will not be your main priority and you have to remember to give yourself grace and remain flexible.
For me, one of my hardest lessons was on how to deal with the unnecessary guilt I placed on myself because I overextended my capacity by trying to accomplish too many things at once. You might wear different hats in your business but you are still only one person. My advice to you is to learn how to set your priorities by recognizing what is important at that moment and focusing on that without any guilt or shame.
- Manage your time – First and foremost focus on setting realistic expectations with your capacity and schedule to get things done. At the beginning of each week, categorize your tasks, estimate the time to complete them, and add them to your schedule.
- Categorize your tasks based on the type and level of difficulty. This will help you set expectations for the amount of attention and focus you may need.
- Estimating the amount of time it takes to complete a task will help you plan better, decreasing the likelihood of procrastination.
- Each of us has our days and times when we do our best work, use that to your advantage. For example, I am not a morning person and on Fridays, my mind is on the weekend. I take that into consideration when planning my schedule to avoid setting myself up for disappointment.
- If you need additional help with time management, I recommend:
- Be yourself and celebrate your accomplishments – It is easy to get wrapped up in comparison but your gifts are unique to you. Whether you are stepping into a saturated market or have an original idea, remember that no one can do it like you!
Just like how we stopped to celebrate your gifts while creating your life’s resume in Exercise 1, you should develop the habit to celebrate every small and big win. They all matter, because it takes time and discipline to follow through especially when you don’t feel motivated.
Exercise 4 – Brainstorm your current habits and think about what needs to change to incorporate new habits to help you run your business.
5. Create Your Start-up Outline
Organization is key in entrepreneurship. Start off on the right foot by organizing all of your notes into one place with a start-up outline. This outline doesn’t have to be set in stone, but rather a starting point that can be updated as needed. Here is a list of the minimum items that should be included.
List your passion(s) (from Exercise 1) and describe your reasons for starting a business.
Industry & Product/Service
Write down your industry and describe the type of product and/or service you want to offer.
Describe the type of person who will benefit from your product or service.
Lists the potential cost associated with starting your business. This will help you develop an initial spending plan.
Timeline & Milestones
Review your schedule. Write down your goal date to launch your product/service and then work backward to set important milestones. Remember to be realistic with your time to avoid overwhelm and burnout.
Exercise 5 – Using the descriptions above create a high-level outline for your business.
Are you looking for additional resources to start your business?
Listen to our podcast episode on Business Start-up Essentials to learn more about business formation documents and how to understand and organize your business backend.
Schedule an Initial Advisory Call with our team and let us help you develop an action plan customized for your business idea.
*Please note that some of the links provided are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to click through and make a purchase.