So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

Today’s college graduates (and recent grads) have better chances of success when they create their own businesses and jobs than they do if they try to find employment through traditional job searches and referrals. Of course, deciding to go your own way won’t guarantee your success–there are no guarantees in the business world. But if you’ve got a great idea of some impressive skills, here are the steps you should take to raise your chances of making a profitable living and running your own company.

Mind Your Taxes.

Make no mistake, every penny you earn through your business is taxable income. The sooner you figure out your tax situation and set up a good system for meeting your tax requirements, the better your chances for financial success. In addition, you lower your chances of being audited and owing tons of money. The best way to manage your taxes, say the experts at MasterTax Tax compliance software, is to use software to manage your numbers and accounts. Software can be automatically updated whenever there are changes or shifts in schedules, updates to tax codes, etc. If you try to do everything manually, you’ll spend 100% of your time drowning in tax tables and updates on the IRS website. Remember: computers are here to help you!

Schedules are Important.

One of the biggest myths about starting up your own company is that you get to create your own schedule instead of having to answer to a boss’s clock. While, yes, you can make your own hours–especially in the beginning when you are still getting set up–you won’t have complete and total control over what you do and when. You’ll have to work around vendor schedules, client schedules, etc. Furthermore, you’ll also want to set up a schedule for yourself as soon as possible. If you only work when you “feel like it,” you’ll never accomplish anything. Have set working hours for yourself and for the people who you recruit to help you. It really will help you get your business off the ground.

Be a Joiner.

Every entrepreneur dreams of being the next rising star. They dream of creating something amazing completely on their own. Success cannot happen in a vacuum. You are going to need other people if you want to get your endeavor off the ground. The best way to find these people is through networking and relationship building. Join a few local freelance or entrepreneur groups. Become a member of your local chamber of commerce. Volunteer for some civil committees. Attend conferences and conventions in your field. Participate in message boards. Reach out. Joining forces with others is not something you leave behind in school. It is how you create a lifeline for yourself in the real world.

Be Prepared to Fail.

One of the hardest parts of adulthood is learning how to gracefully deal with failure. And make no mistake, you are going to fail. You’re going to fail at things over and over again but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to fail at everything! Work at shedding the college/early 20s mentality of one mistake ruining your entire life. Steve Jobs didn’t create the computer on his first try. Learn how to pick yourself up and learn from things that go wrong.

Get a Day Job.

Wait, what? Isn’t the whole point of starting up your own company to avoid the grueling and demoralizing job search? Yes it is, but you still have to pay your bills. Get a job that will help you do that. Be a barista, a retail clerk, a driver, a pet-sitter…anything you can find that doesn’t make you hate your life, that brings in a steady paycheck and that is flexible enough that you’ll have energy left over for your own company when you finish a shift. Save as much as you can from this day job to help float yourself while you’re getting your own company off the ground.

Make no mistake: you twenty and early thirty somethings are facing a much steeper challenge than your older siblings and parents did. You’re also the first generation to be encouraged to go your own way right out of the gate. Use that momentum to build something of your own that will help you be successful for years to come!

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