“Becoming an entrepreneur and starting with entrepreneurship requires dedication, a strong work ethic, flexibility, and passion for taking your big idea and converting it into the foundation for a new business.”

“It’s a decision that will change your life and the lives of those around you. Success isn’t guaranteed, but starting off on the right foot with resources, tools, and people to support and push you will help you reach it.”

The moment has arrived. You’re ready to take the dive into becoming an entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, and start your own business. It’s the perfect solution to overcoming the feelings of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment you’ve experienced while working for other people. You have a dream to chase, and your new business is the first step toward making it a reality.

The CoLab founders Megan Marsh and Andres Munar felt that calling while working for other people. Both left jobs to pursue running their own business ventures. Four years ago, they came together to forge Keystone Alliance Mortgage. Like millions of others, their entrepreneurship journeys are filled with twists and turns, successes and failures, and lessons after lessons that have allowed them to grow and establish themselves as the business leaders they are today.

“I realized that I wanted to build something,” Andres says of making the decision to become an entrepreneur. “I ended up falling in love with the idea of running my own business.”

Becoming an entrepreneur and starting with entrepreneurship requires dedication, a strong work ethic, flexibility, and passion for taking your big idea and converting it into the foundation for a new business. It’s a decision that will change your life and the lives of those around you. Success isn’t guaranteed, but starting off on the right foot with resources, tools, and people to support and push you will help you reach it.

Finding Your Motivation

The unknowns of starting your own business can be daunting, but each year thousands of people take the leap into entrepreneurship. In fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that around 627,000 small businesses are started every year in the United States.

So, what’s the inspiration behind Megan, Andres, and millions of other entrepreneurs’ choice to start a business? For a majority, it’s the appeal of being their own boss. Guidant Financial’s 2020 State of Small Business survey of aspiring and established entrepreneurs found that 55 percent of respondents cited this reason as the motivation for opening their own business. And being your own boss definitely comes with perks. You no longer have to work for people who may not have your best interests in mind. As a business owner, you get to set the rules of your work environment and develop your own work culture.

For many entrepreneurs, following a passion and starting with entrepreneurship also inspired them to start a business. You might have a brand-new idea for a product or have a way to revolutionize an existing service. Maybe you’re currently working in finance but have always had dreams of turning your love for bikes into a retail and repair business. Combining that ingenuity or dream with passion is a recipe for a new enterprise. Passion plays a large role in Megan and Andres’s entrepreneurship story. Both wanted to be part of something bigger and build a business that was about more than making money—a business that serves customers and the greater community.

It’s worth noting that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship have an incredibly significant impact on their communities. According to the SBA, small businesses—defined as organizations with 500 or fewer employees—account for a total of 58.9 million workers in the United States. That’s nearly half the American workforce. Entrepreneurs are driving innovation and job growth across all sectors in cities large and small.

Starting Your Journey

Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t require millions of dollars. More than 60 percent of small businesses are founded with less than $10,000, according to a survey conducted by Intuit. As Megan and Andres have learned, the key to successfully starting a business is preparation. That includes writing up a business plan, understanding your current and projected finances, finding the right people to support you, and finding ways to promote your new venture. (You can learn more about how to start a business in this episode of The CoLab Podcast).

  • Before starting a business, you should ask yourself a few questions:
    Why do I want to start a business?
  • Is there a demonstrable market need for the service or product I want to offer?
  • What types of licenses and permits do I need to start and run my business? What other legalities do I need to consider?
  • Am I prepared to put in long hours for potentially years to get my business off the ground?
  • Where will the money start the business come from? Am I comfortable using my savings, asking friends and family for investments, or approaching a lender for financing?
  • What happens if my business fails?
  • What will success look like?

It’s also important to remember that starting a business is only half of your entrepreneurial journey. Once established, your business needs to be sustained. That means constantly evaluating how every facet of your business is performing, putting yourself out there to learn from others, and being sure you have the right tools and resources to keep your business operating at the highest level possible.

Entrepreneurship and being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart. Any small business owner will tell you it requires sacrifice. Even then, properly preparing yourself to start a business doesn’t erase all the risks. It’s important to acknowledge that not every new business is successful. Around 66 percent of new businesses survive two years, according to the SBA. That percentage decreases as time goes on, dropping to 50 percent after five years and 33 percent after 10 years. However, you shouldn’t let that dissuade you from striking out on your entrepreneurship journey. While owning your own business comes with the stress that simply being an employee does not, it also brings happiness and satisfaction for those who do start a new enterprise. Guidant Financial’s 2019 State of Small Business survey found that 53 percent of small business owners ranked their happiness at 9 or more on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the happiest.

Collaborating Is Key

As much happiness as founding a business can bring you, establishing a new company on your own still is intimidating. You’re responsible for everything from managing finances to establishing policies and systems to overseeing marketing efforts. For many entrepreneurs, going into business with a partner can prove to be very beneficial. In Megan and Andres’s case, they both bring different strengths and perspectives to the table that allow them to run a business effectively. Since co-founding their business in 2016, they have doubled their staff and tripled their revenue. They attribute this success to their partnership.

The power of collaboration is what inspired Megan and Andres to create The CoLab community. They believe strongly in the value of support and accountability that working with others brings to a business and the impact it has on success. Through this collaborative work, you can take your business to the next level.

“We both have strengths and weaknesses that help us excel in a variety of areas,” Megan says. “I would never do anything other than own my own business, but I think the key to making it truly successful is other people. You may not need a business partner, but you need other people involved to help your business grow and thrive.”

Even if you’re the sole owner of your business, it’s important to know you’re not alone and collaboration is still possible with a variety of people outside your business. There are resources out there to help guide and support you on your entrepreneur and entrepreneurship journey. Local business advocates such as chambers of commerce and SBA offices can connect you with classes, training, and networking events where you can find resources, learn business strategies that contribute to success, and meet other entrepreneurs who can share their experiences with you.

And of course, there is The CoLab, your premiere source of tools and information on how to start a business, avoid common pitfalls of growing businesses, hire the right people who add value to your enterprise, and so much more. You can listen to The CoLab podcast episodes where Megan and Andres discuss relevant topics and invite special guests to share their wealth of business knowledge. You also can join The CoLab group on Facebook to gain access to resources created by Megan and Andres to help your business run more efficiently and effectively. These include their “Mousetrap” system for hiring the best candidates and their “Busy Bee Blueprint” for successfully finding the exact person to hire for your specific needs.

Every entrepreneur’s journey is different. Your motivations, inspirations, plans, milestones, experiences, and success are all unique to you and shape each step you take toward founding and maintaining your business. It takes a dedicated person to make it all work, but The CoLab is here to put you on the right track and help you reach your goals, whether it’s founding a new business or finding new ways to grow and elevate your current small business. Through the power of collaboration, anything is possible.

Ready for more? Check out The CoLab articles on Business GrowthFinancial FreedomPersonal Development, and Work-Life Balance.

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