Who me, an entrepreneur?

by Ginger on December 17, 2008

in Becoming Myself, The 9-5

I’ve never been the entrepreneurial type. Even as a kid, I don’t have any memories of lemonade stands, or selling cupcakes or anything like that. I mean, more power to those folks and all, but I’ve always been a …dare I say…corporate drone. I like the structure that comes from having a boss, having company goals laid out for me, etc. I also have always liked that it removes a shitload of stress, worry and responsibility from your shoulders if you’re not the one running the whole show.

Now, I’m married to a freelancer, who has to run his own business. I obviously help (the art sale last week was just as much marketing work as half the projects I do at work!), but it’s still his. It’s his name, and his product, and his reputation. And until very recently, I felt 100% confident I would NEVER want to be in his shoes.

Seems I should never say never.

Because within the last week or so, I’ve started having little ideas. Little inklings of business ideas. Little entrepreneurial ideas.

I’ve been thinking (along with the rest of the world) of ways I could bring some extra money into our little household, while maybe giving me a little tiny safety net should something happen to my job. And those sparks of ideas range from the ridiculous to the possibly sublime. But some of them are less of a spark and more of a flame–I can see them as “real” businesses, not just side projects.

And I’m kind of freaking out about it.

I think my freak out is fueled by a few things. First, I’ve been pretty adamant that running my own business isn’t my thing. I’ve always said I could run my husband’s business, because it would be more like I was the business manager, not THE owner/creator. So these ideas that put me firmly at the helm are a little bit like I’ve been taken over by aliens.

Second, there’s the inherent fear of “oh my god, who the hell am I to put myself out there as knowledgeable enough about this thing to charge people money??” Like if I were to start to act on any of these that people would not only not hire me, but laugh and point and ruin my self-esteem. But maybe that’s only me.

And of course, there’s a part of me that just doesn’t want the hassle. Look, I know running your own business is tough. For me, it would be in addition to my day job and helping my husband with his business. Um, have I mentioned how much I like TV and relaxing and my jammies? The idea of coming home and having yet another obligation is a little freaky.

But at the same time, despite all of that, these ideas won’t go away. They keep nudging me, and pricking my thoughts, and making me consider them. I see things throughout the day that make me go, “Oh that would be perfect if I were to start doing x,y, z.” “Oooh, that little tip would be ideal for ideas a, b, and c over here.” “Um, I could totally help that person.”

So what to do? For those of you who have taken the leap into freelancing or running your own business, did you just jump in? Or did you plan, and plan, and plan before hand? Am I crazy to think of starting a business venture right now? Or is now the perfect time? (well, after the holidays, but still). Did you have any of the same hang-ups as me? How did you handle them?

Single December 17, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I don’t think now is the best time for this. If your idea fails, will you be willing to try again later? I guess I think you should set yourself up for success (in the current economy) instead of just jumping right in.

Single´s last blog post..I Got A Job!

Elizabeth December 17, 2008 at 8:17 pm

If you don’t have that much to lose, I would say go for it! The times are tough for a lot of industries, true, but I firmly believe that there is always room for innovation and creation.

Luckily (unluckily!) I don’t have a job, and it doesn’t look like things in my area are really opening up, so I think I am going to jump and try to start my own thing. I hear stories of people succeeding all of the time, and there is no reason why you wouldn’t join those ranks with some hard work and some time.

Elizabeth´s last blog post..Having fun the free way

Dawn December 17, 2008 at 10:55 pm

My boyfriend Brett and I started a t-shirt company two years ago selling primarily online, and although we are shutting it down after Christmas (because it just isn’t fun anymore–it has become more work than fun, and that’s not what we were going for), it has been a pretty interesting adventure. We both learned a lot, and maybe we’ll open up some other company some day, but for now we’re calling it quits on this one.
It cost a lot of money to start up, and there were times in the beginning when we weren’t making money fast enough and I just wanted to quit, but it all started to come together. We’ll probably still sell at conventions and the flea market, because holy crap. I don’t know what business you want to go into, but you can make a crapload at anime conventions (and probably other types of conventions too). We aren’t even really into anime–I left that behind in high school–but we found a niche and went with it.
We really didn’t plan it very well at all. We started out just making t-shirts for his band, then we started making up some cutesy designs and put them on a website, and they didn’t sell well. There is a lot of competition as you can imagine. I had worked at a couple of anime conventions with friends in high school, and even now I think that would be an awesome job–traveling state to state selling things at conventions, so we somehow got into that and started an all-new website with a different target market.

If you plan to start an online company, I highly recommend submitting to deal-a-day sites like DODtracker.com or dealsucker.com. They bring lots of traffic! Of course, that means doing all kinds of code and whatever on the site; I don’t know how any of that works–that’s sort of Brett’s job 😛

Dawn´s last blog post..Thu, Dec 18: Black Cat with Fuzzy Ears

Cabe Nelson December 18, 2008 at 8:54 am

Ginger
I so go for it as long as you cover your butt. As someone who is going to create something from nothing and put yourself out there to the world it’s a very brave thing to do. You are essentially putting yourself FINANCIALLY out there, it’s stressful to say the least. I should know, I own and run a company out of two states. I said goodbye to a corporate run and stability 5 years ago. Although corporate stability has become an oxymoron as of lately! When you decide to do this, you say goodbye to work as you know it and enter WORK. Work that you can never leave at the office and come home to relax. Work stays with you all the time. It’s like work on acid. 🙂

The flip side is amazing flexibility, unlimited income, and no barriers. The hardest part in starting a company or an idea is finding the initial cash to fund it.
Good luck! I’m looking forward to hearing more about it.

Oh! And have a business plan. Even if it’s a small idea, if you want to be semi successful at all you’ll need to create one.

Cabe Nelson´s last blog post..RESULTS! Week Eight

Cat December 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

I have nothing helpful to say here. Sorry about that. I’m far too lazy to consider working for myself. I’d totally get fired, which would be really embarassing, having to admit that you fired yourself for being lazy.

Cat´s last blog post..Guess What?

Kat Argonza December 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm

I experimented. I did a small time blog, got some success, but still had a full time job. Then, i took a leap once the planning and the momentum had started. It’s a safe way to go, I think

Kat Argonza´s last blog post..BenSpark’s Big Box of Awesome

Kat Argonza December 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm

oh and btw, I did write something about freelancing and the hours here: http://katargonza.com/self-employed/

Kat Argonza´s last blog post..BenSpark’s Big Box of Awesome

Nilsa December 21, 2008 at 8:18 am

Wouldn’t it be great to try out this whole entrepreneurial thing while you still have the safety net of a full time job? Sure, it’ll be time consuming. But, what if you really like it? Then you’ve just opened up a door of opportunities. And if you don’t? No love lost. You’ve still got your regular job as back-up. I say go for it!

Nilsa´s last blog post..Home

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