file8761263249078In some ways, it is the American dream. Being your own boss, making your own rules. Working directly with the customer and client, and making sure that they are satisfied and happy with the result. There are so many benefits to owning your own business, and for many who have decided to take that path, there really is no regret. However, there are struggles, and there are uncertainties. Before you take that first step to discovering your own business, be it a local diner or a web-based marketing service, here are a few things to consider.

Taxes Will Be Different

While it will seem like you’re making more money for yourself, it’s good to remember that you no longer have a boss taking out money for social security and taxes out of your weekly paycheck. That is your responsibility now. Depending on where you live, you might be required to make quarterly estimated payments — every three months — to the Internal Revenue Service or face some serious fines when it comes to tax season, in addition to the lump sum of what you owe. Some businesses make those quarterly payments on time while others wait until April to make one lump sum, penalties and all. Whichever method you choose, make sure you talk with a professional and certified accountant to make sure your finances stay in order.

Your Life is About to Become More Chaotic — Be Prepared

Believe it or not, the real ruler of a business in the beginning is chaos. While you may think that you have everything planned out and accounted for, within the first few years there will be changes. There are simply too many variables involved with life and your business that most people don’t even consider. Things such as variable customer flow, the weather, getting sick, new building expenses, a leaking roof or a baseball through your front store window are all things that a new business owner has to learn to manage. It can be confusing, frustrating and exhilarating all at once.

So what can you do? Well, while you can’t wait forever to start a business, taking a little bit of time to try to save up a few months of living expenses is a good idea. Another option is to get a small loan for your business, apply for grants or find investors. The important thing is to create at least a small financial cushion for yourself so that you can keep the lights on.

Also, remember that your schedule and your daily life will also become more chaotic. So be sure to schedule in time to take care of yourself and those around you. And don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed.

file271313077349Clients and Customers Won’t Fall From the Sky

While your new business venture is undoubtedly a wonderful and exciting idea, one that fills a unique need in your community, your potential customers won’t come to you out of the blue. The simple fact is that you, as a business owner, will probably spend about 60{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8} of your time on marketing and promotion. In other words, in order to get the customers in the door, you have to hustle and work to get them there. However, there is a fine line between being a sales representative and being a pest.

So what can you do? Well, in the end, the best way to get customers is to build a relationship with them. That means spending time getting to know them, talking with them and engaging with their world to help build up their trust in you and your business. That takes time. So, consider delegating or using various tools to handle the other aspects of marketing, such as flyers, advertisements or even some aspects of social media so that you can concentrate on the personal touch. Remember — don’t work harder, work smarter.

There Will Be Legal and Financial Questions to Answer

So you are starting a business. Have you decided if you’re going to incorporate or not? What about its legal name? Are you going to have employees or make use of independent contractors? In what state and county are you going to register the business? Are you going to eventually have multiple locations? How are you going to supply health insurance and workers’ compensation for your employees? Will it be a brick-and-mortar store, or be entirely online?

ULvMhOv1These are just a few of the many legal and financial questions that need to be asked before you even start thinking about opening your doors. This is the reason why many businesses that succeed start with more than just someone’s hunger to be their own boss and a dream. They start with a business plan. So while you’re thinking about ways to open up your own bakery, you should really think about talking with an attorney and an accountant who specializes with small businesses, or using your local resources for entrepreneurs in your community or state to help you create a plan that addresses these important questions.

Starting your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. It will be a struggle at times, but honestly if you have the hunger and the drive to get it done, it can be one of the most fulfilling things that you can do.

Any other advice you would add to what I’ve said here? Please comment below!