by Evelyn Bandoh, RFC of EAB Creative Planning Services

For over 8 years, I have been either teaching about, growing my own or helping to grow businesses. Currently, I have my own small business while working to establish two fashion industry related non-profits and teaching about small business and creative entrepreneurship on an academic and professional level. I won’t say that I have “seen and heard it all”, but I have seen, heard and experienced A LOT. Here is a list of things I've learned through my own experiences & those I've helped.

21 Points to Ponder Before Starting a Business

1. Entrepreneurship is not for the weak willed; it’s not for punks or for those who have no interest in responsibility. Evaluate your entrepreneurial potential. If you are getting started on the path to entrepreneurship, EAB’s seven key questions are a good place to start to do an honest self assessment. Decide if you want to be a biz owner or if you just need some good career coaching and counseling.

2. Lots of people will think that you are crazy. It’s perfectly normal. Embrace it. Accept it.

3. You will question your faith, hope and your DECISION to embark on this path many times before you accept the new you. Embrace it. Accept it.

4. You are not going to feel energized and excited EVERY DAY. It’s OK to have a bad day. Its Ok to have a few bad days or even a month of Sunday’s of bad days, but don’t stay in that “bad place” too long. Let me reiterate. If you feel off for a day or a few days, it’s probably ok. If the “bad feelings” are a persistent dull roar, please stop, re-evaluate and address the things that are causing you grief. If you are not emotionally healthy, your business will not grow.

5. Develop intuition. I suspect that we are not naturally factual creatures and that we are actually naturally intuitive creatures. We learned about logic and facts as a way to adapt to a technologically advancing world. However, before we had fact, we had our “gut “ and our six (yes I said six) senses. Learn to use your “gut instinct” and ALL of your senses, because once you fine-tune it to the frequency that serves your best and highest good, it will never lead you astray.

6. The power of positive thinking works…but only if you have an unwavering faith in what you are thinking… or choosing to believe. Understand that “thinking good thoughts” is nothing more than a waste of brain energy if you put no action behind it. Creation is a process and without visualization and authentic action, the thought is just, well, nice.

7. Define your energizers and drainers. What feels good? What doesn’t? Spend time on what feels good (energizers) because that is eventually where you are going to make the most money for your business.

8. Understand how you are going to fund your life. If you are not the type of person who does well with financial uncertainty, or don’t feel up for the adventure, do yourself a favor: save as much as you can, and pay off what debt you can BEFORE you start on the adventure. If you are comfortable with money uncertainty then…

9. Accept that there will be a bout with brokenness and/or bad credit. Unless you are coming from a situation where you have a lot of cash, or a lot of funding. One of the worse types of anxiety to deal with is “money anxiety”. Save yourself the grief and set yourself up for success. Real Talk.

10. Personal relationships will change. Your friends and family may or may not understand and they may or may not support you in your entrepreneurial pursuits. In the natural order of progression, you will let some of those relationships go and some of those relationships you will be willing to fight for. Pick and choose your battles wisely.

11. Your friends cannot be your only customers and clients. Friends are a great source of support, but they will not keep your business financially viable. Be clear about who your target market is, how large the target market is and how you will access your target market.

12. Failure is GREAT. Through failure comes your best learning experience (if you choose to learn). I won’t lie; it is a tough pill to swallow though. Grace and humility through the ordeal, makes “the failure” all that more relevant and poignant.

13. Sit down and write out some type of plan. It may not be a full-fledged business plan, but answer some basic questions about why you are choosing to do what you do, what you are doing, who you are doing it for, how much you are going to charge them and how much it’s going to cost you.

14. Separate your home and workspace. This is particularly important for new business owners. The benefit of being in an office space is that you are able to (hopefully) be around other entrepreneurs just like you and you will be energized and motivated by that natural energy present.

15. Being “self-centered” is to your benefit. Being “selfish” is to your detriment. Contrary to popular belief, there is a difference in the two.

16. Integrity & Honesty mean everything. Period. Point. Blank.

17. How you listen and how you talk to people will play as big a role in the success of your business. When people hear your name, you want the first thought about you to be positive and welcoming. If people are cringing when they hear your name, that’s a problem for you and it will eventually become problematic for your business.

18. Romantic Relationships. There is a lot to be said about this point, but let me keep it brief. If you are not in a romantic relationship, it’s important to find a mate/partner etc, who fully supports your entrepreneurial endeavors, and is more than OK with it. Anything less is just not going to work in the long run.

19. Organized chaos is good. Confused chaos is not.

20. Safeguard your health with your life. The entrepreneurial lifestyle will quickly take a toll on your work-life balance and on your health. Eat well, drink water, get plenty of rest AND exercise, minimize stress and take time to enjoy life. This is a lesson that I am working on more and more every day.

21. Through it all- HAVE FUN!

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Evelyn is a writer, teacher, scholar, healer and creator. She uses her talents, skills and abilities in financial and business planning to help creative people become successful and financially independent creative entrepreneurs. In addition to the fun stuff, she is also a jewelry designer and a freelance makeup artist.

Websites: eabplanning.com & fiscallyfitfashionista.com | Twitter: @evieb & @f3fashionista


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