An entrepreneur is someone who starts their own business and looks for opportunity. Maybe you want to run the next Google or Amazon. Maybe you want to act as an independent consultant for other businesses or sell your products at a farmer’s market or online. Though there are many career paths for entrepreneurs, they primarily get businesses started and work hard to make their ideas successful. In this article, you’ll find valuable entrepreneur career information and advice written by experts, including Indigo’s own CEO.
Entrepreneurs are found in every industry. Entrepreneurs often start their careers by doing part-time work on their own projects while they work full-time at a different job. This way, they can test the waters to see if their idea is worth pursuing.
As an entrepreneur, you should look for different ways to gain experience and skills that can help further your own goals later on. For example, working in finance positions or marketing jobs can help you learn to manage your own budget or discover what appeals to customers. There are so many possible career paths for an entrepreneur, but we recommend learning what your strengths are and building up the areas that you might not have developed yet. Try learning more about your strengths, motivators, and communication styles today with the Indigo Pathway assessment!
Entrepreneurs are a key part of the American economy. According to the SBA, small businesses created by entrepreneurs account for 64% of new jobs created in the United States and can be real game changers in smaller and rural communities.
If you’ve taken the IndigoPathway survey already, you probably discovered that you’re fairly individualistic. If Individualistic was in your top two motivators, you might want to strongly consider starting your own business. High Individualistics like to do things their own unique way and be in charge. The classic start-up founder profile is High Dominance, Low Compliance, High Individualistic, and High Utilitarian. If you also have a High Social motivator, you may want to consider social entrepreneurship.
Note: we believe that you can become a successful entrepreneur with any Indigo Survey result.
– Starting a business requires a minimal fee for registering for local, state, and federal governments (like the $50 fee for registering an LLC in Colorado), which you register on their respective government websites. Learn more about registering your business at any level here.
– Registering a company as an LLC (limited liability company) to start is a common go-to for new business owners because of the flexibility and ease of starting. For more information on LLCs, read here.
– Once you’ve registered your business, start making it known by making a website, establishing accounts on relevant social media networks, like LinkedIn or Twitter, ordering business cards (we recommend VistaPrint), or creating an email address (you can register an email address on a unique domain with Google).
– Get a state/federal tax ID number and pay your taxes. If you have an LLC, you will need to pay more social security tax and file a 1099. You can also write a lot of expenses off, like the cost of your home office. Find an accountant that specializes in small businesses. Learn more about Tax ID Numbers and paying taxes here.
Many small business owners report working more than 40 hours a week, or ambiguous schedules where their work is interspersed throughout the day. For one owner’s story, check out this article on Forbes.
There’s several different avenues of funding that businesses can receive, including venture capital, small business loans, crowdfunding, and more. Each route comes with different effects and impacts on your business, so do research before you do. Check out this article from the US Small Business Administration for more info on different sources of funding and how to attain them.
Who you know can make or break your business. Most of your customers, investors, advisors and partners will come from networking. Look for networking opportunities in your field and get out there every chance you get. Eventbrite, local Chamber of Commerce websites, meet-ups, and listservs (email newsletters) are excellent resources to find networking events or organizations you need to know.
Entrepreneurs are over 50% more likely to experience a mental health obstacle. Brad Feld, Co-founder of American seed accelerator Techstars, describes the depression he experienced during founding like it was “a hole in his gut.” With so much responsibility, entrepreneurs struggle to find time for vacations and early years of their businesses are risky at best.
Failures are common; nearly all entrepreneurs will face failure at some point in their journey. Traf-O-Data, the first company of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, was a complete bust. However, the most successful entrepreneurs rise above failure and use each setback to propel them forward. Despite these difficulties, the rewards can be great and many entrepreneurs love the risk and challenge of the entire process.
One career path for an entrepreneur is that of a franchise operator. Franchises allow you to own and operate a business with a proven business model. Many franchises require an initial investment and filter applicants through an application or qualification process. However, returns on franchises can be great and corporations often provide networks and training before you begin. As examples, here are the franchise ownership pages and initial investment ranges for Taco Bell, The UPS Store, and Kumon Math & Reading Centers (source).
– Taco Bell | Initial Investment: $525,525 to $2,956,765
– The UPS Store | Initial Investment: $138,433 to $470,031
– Kumon Math & Reading Centers | Initial Investment: $74,428 to $156,590
– Selling items and creations online has never been easier, with numerous platforms to suit your needs. Read this blog post from Intuit for more information on online marketplaces and their benefits. Sell your creations, designs, or merchandise on online marketplaces like Etsy or Redbubble, sell your old stuff or resell items on Amazon or Ebay, or create your own storefront on a unique domain using Wix or Squarespace.
– Multi-level marketing (MLM) programs, such as Amway, Mary Kay, and Primerica, are also options for individuals looking to get started as salespeople. MLMs allow individuals to sell their products and earn commissions; these recruits are then allowed to recruit their own sellers who will then earn themselves and their recruiters commissions. Many organizations offer training in sales techniques and connect individuals to a larger network of coworkers and salespeople. However, MLM programs have been considered controversial for the last several decades. According to a report published on the Federal Trade Commission website, 99% of people who join MLMs lose money and many individuals accuse MLMs of predatory practices. Despite the negative stigma, the industry is not without its success stories, like those described here.
– Become a consultant or life coach. Consultants and life coaches are entrepreneurs. They require minimal training and start-up costs and many companies have programs to help you get started. Indigo’s partner TTI has a Value Added Associate training program as well as a world-class professional conference every year. Many other assessment companies offer similar support. We have several life coaching programs on our database for you to consider.
Part Time Businesses
Gig-Worker/ Solo Entrepreneur
Accelerators – Accelerators, such as Techstars or Y Combinator, provide mentorship, education, or funding to start-up companies.
Start-up Weeks – Found in cities across the nation, start-up weeks allow local businesses and entrepreneurs to network with each other and support development. For examples, check out Denver Start-up Week, or StartUpWeekend powered by Google and Techstars.
Entrepreneurship Centers – Local colleges and universities often have departments or centers that promote entrepreneurism within their students and communities. Explore your local college or Chamber of Commerce websites.
Free Model Investment Legal Templates https://nvca.org/model-legal-
– Ted Talks on Entrepreneurism
– Techstars founder Brad Feld’s Mental Health and Entrepreneurism YouTube Series
– How to Choose a Major when Everyone Doubts You – Interesting read describing the path of digital nomad Kristin Wilson
– The Atlantic’s Interview with a CEO and Venture Capitalist
– The Atlantic’s Interview with a Cleaning Business Owner
– The Atlantic’s Interview with an Event Planner