Most business start-up advice tells you how much money you need to have saved to start a business, you should hook up with venture capitalists, contact a bank or the SBA for a loan, yada yada yada.
The reality is that most of us, particularly women of color, cannot follow this route. For a variety of reasons, bootstrapping our business is how we must start a business.
1. Change the way you view your job. Unless you have a rich uncle or parents or a trust fund that is waiting on you to turn a certain age, you have to work to continue to house, clothe and feed yourself. You have at least SOME expendable income which you can use to finance your business – to use for such things as:
• Purchasing a domain name
• Signing up for low cost services such as a newsletter service
• Paying the monthly fee to host your WordPress website
2. Manage your “wealth”. The “wealth” I speak of are threefold – your time, your money and your health. If you are working a full-time job, you only have a few hours a day during the work week to work on your business. You must devote SOME time during the weekend to work on your business, however, if you don’t maintain balance and leave some time for not working on the business at all, you will suffer burn-out and this leads to poor management of your health. You must manage your money so you can fund your business so this may mean less trips to the mall, Wal-Mart or Starbucks or (gasp), the hair or nail salon.
3. Maximize current resources. Your current resources could be a network of like-minded entrepreneurs, connections, contacts, the ability to build a website from scratch, the ability to post to social media regularly. Take stock of what you currently possess that you are not making use of!
4. Use your job as motivation! Use that low-paying, dead-end lousy or decent job which you hate to fuel your passion to launch your business, grow your business and step over ANY obstacle which dares get in your way.
5. Outsource. You can get experienced, creative professionals to design a website, business card, etc. for $5 on Fiverr.com. Virtual assistants will work for you for $10-15 per hours. You can afford a virtual assistant for a couple hours a week to perform tasks that you can’t or don’t want to do. In the beginning, your focus must be on generating a buzz about your business, getting people to sign up for your newsletter, convincing people to purchase what you are selling.
Decide TODAY what activities and people you need to limit being involved with or eliminate entirely. Decide TODAY what expenditures you can cut so that money can be used to fund your business. You’ll be glad you did!
Copyright Carmin Wharton 2010