5 tips for starting your own business

If you never try, you'll never know.

Working for yourself as an entrepreneur can be stressful, terrifying, depressing, and possibly career-ending.

I should know.

I’m trying it.

But the good news?

You have help!

Here are 5 tips for starting your own business.

5. Make it YOUR dream

If you don't build you dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs.
Does your dream begin or end in a cubicle?

Don’t try to start a business that you wouldn’t be able to have complete control over.

After all, isn’t this supposed to be YOUR dream?

For me it was easy. I’m a freelance copywriter and social media consultant, so my business model (for now) involves just me. I can call the shots.

For example, green is my favorite color and I wanted the blog to be a reflection of my style and what I like.

If it’s fun and if I have more of my personal involvement and ideas in a project, then I’m more willing to put in the work.

4. Know what you need to know

& figure out the rest on the go

Sonja Hegman - Trials of an Entrepreneurial Virgin
Freelance writer Sonja Hegman’s Trials of an Entrepreneurial Virgin is a great resource for rookie freelancers. I also learned how to spell “entrepreneurial”.

Admittedly I am not a graphics guy or a serious designer.

I know some techniques and have an eye for what looks good, but I’m able to do things like re-sizing, cropping, formatting and so on using Paint.NET.

So I will simply focus and learn as much as I can with the skills I have currently.

If I need to know anything else, then I’ll just have to learn it as I go along.

You will need to do the same.

Don’t waste time on developing the talents you don’t have.

Instead, just get started on your path with the tools you do have.

You will learn more stuff by simply doing stuff.

3. Use your best talents 

Pineapple head man
He has a talent for…well, for whatever this is.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved to write. I also love creativity and coming up with new ideas.

I went into marketing because it combined everything I loved: writing, creativity, and new ideas.

And that’s why I’m pursuing my dream career as a marketing writer so I can help other businesses with my experience and knowledge.

Think about what it is that you truly LOVE to do.

It shouldn’t take you long to figure out what it is.

2. Know the right people 

Businessmen giving high five
When you work for yourself, you no longer are forced to awkwardly high-five your boss. Because you ARE the boss!

If you are not networking and utilizing your personal connections to help grow your business, then you could be missing out on making vital connections who can help you get to where you want to go.

And if you feel uncomfortable talking about yourself, your business, and your dream to others…then maybe small business ownership is not for you.

Also, your network will become your immediate source of clients, referrals, and random jobs.

It’s common for a small business owner to trade services with other small business owners to help each other out.

That might sound weird, but it’s not.

For example, when I need more intensive design work such as logos or other stuff that requires higher level skills and knowledge, then I rely upon my network of graphic designers.

The artist who designed the logo you see on my blog is my buddy Adam Femino. He does a lot of design work for Boston punk bands.

I wanted a punk feel to my logo, so I asked him to design the logo with some basic direction from me.

What you see is the combination of my idea with his expertise and I think it came out great:

My logo, designed by Boston punk legend (in the making) Adam Femino.
My logo, designed by Boston punk legend (in the making) Adam Femino.

When you own a business, you get to do cool stuff like this.

You want to do cool stuff, right?

1. Side hustle it 

Dangit, I forgot my power cable!
“I love working for myself! Sure I had to sell my house to buy this laptop, but I will do what it takes to live my dream.”

Think about the things you are good at.

Now think about your talents and skills.

If you like to do something, then you also might enjoy developing the talents and skills needed to do it and do it well.

So why not combine the things you’re good at with the talents and skills you have?

This is what I like to call a side hustle and you do it for fun at first. Meaning you ain’t getting paid!

But that’s ok. Because the whole point of the side hustle is to:

  • Have fun
  • Make contacts
  • Get experience
  • Make mistakes (but learn from them)
  • Maybe get paid

That’s how a lot of new businesses get started. First as an idea, then turned into action. However, at first it’s for fun, no pressure, and just for the sake of learning.

But once you’re ready to go full-time on your Grind…then you’ll wonder what took you so long to get started.


Starting your own business is not for everybody.

If it was, then everybody would be successful at it.

So how do you succeed at running your own small business?

I don’t know. I just started doing it, myself!

But I do know that the only way to achieve any kind of success is by first trying it.

And once you try it, then the scariest part is over.

Making it work is actually the fun part.


Have you started your own business? 

Are you currently working in your dream job?

If not, what are you doing to get it?

James K. Kim About James K. Kim
James K. Kim (Jim) is a commercial real estate advisor with Pyramid Brokerage Company of Albany, Inc. in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in helping business owners expand into new locations or sell/lease a commercial retail, office, industrial, or investment property.

14 thoughts on “5 tips for starting your own business

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