by Carolina Schwarz
I have always been a very goal-oriented person, and up until my mid twenties I thought I had it all planned out. I thought I was going to be checking boxes, until I realized that life got in the way. The boxes included education, living abroad and owning my own company. Over ten years later, I finally got this last part checked.
What happened in between you might ask?
Well, I ended up moving countries, and having a series of jobs, some of which brought more satisfaction than others, none of which were fulfilling my dreams. I got married and helped my husband follow his passion. I matured. I turned 35 and realized that the one day when things magically happen was only going to happen if I created it, and nobody was going to knock at my door with my future sorted out for me, all wrapped up like a birthday present.
And so the process to finally leave corporate America for good and make it on my own started in 2012. Fast forward to today, I run a successful marketing company serving international clients, and I help people set up and grow their own businesses.
How did I do it?
I took action. I came up with a plan.”
Here are the questions I asked myself, which determined the roadmap to my business independence:
1. What will my business be?
Knowing what product or service you will be offering is paramount. I am not talking about an overall idea, but a strong and detailed concept. Think about a problem in the market (one which people are willing to pay for) and a solution you can provide based on your skill set and passion.
2. My job pays for my mortgage. How do I make this work financially?
I always say that a salary gives you “pseudo-security” because your job can disappear at any time without warning, so don’t be attached to it. Come up with a budget of what your upcoming expenses will be, and a consistent plan for saving, earning extra income or going one step at a time. I started my business with an airline ticket paid with miles and friends’ support, but no money.
3. How do I work on my business while still being employed?
For a while, your time will be scarce. Find time in the day or on the weekends to work on your business. When I was doing this, I would wake up at 5 AM, make calls during my lunch hour and set up my business on the weekend, at times when I wouldn’t be interrupted.
4. How do I find clients?
Identify who your target audience is and where they are. Once you have determined this, come up with a plan for presenting your company in front of them. You don’t need a huge budget. Some ideas include: blogging, speaking at conferences, being active in Facebook groups, or doing in-kind advertising to promote your company.
5. What’s the best time to start my business?
When you say so and when you know in your heart of hearts that you are accountable for yourself. Knowing you can do this and going for it full on is all it takes.
Don’t forget: It all starts when * I * take action.
Carolina Schwarz is a storyteller at heart with a passion for turning ideas into action. In addition to serving international marketing clients, she helps entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses. She is the author of “Aw Snap: But how do I actually Quit my Job and Start my Business?, a simple 7-step guide that answers real-life questions with no-fluff answers. You can connect with her at www.carolinaschwarz.com.