“Do you want to run a business with us?” I would never forget almost 2 years ago when a friend of mine asked me this question. I didn’t think much and immediately said “Yes!”. Now I am running a business with 3 other partners and fighting against this COVID-19.
Start Your Business, Light Up Your Life!
Another thing I would never forget is that when I was young, my teachers and my parents always said, “You should work hard and get high scores in the exams, then you can study at a good university and find a good job after graduation.” All they knew was to work for others.
I could understand them because they work for others through their lives. They never thought of working for themselves – starting their own business and creating their own lives.
It’s just like talking to an accountant. He / She only knows how to reduce the cost. However, when you talk to Sales, they will show you how to find a way to earn more Revenue.
I was having the same mindset as my parent and my teachers until my late 20s when I started watching a lot of Youtube channels and reading a lot of books about running business and entrepreneurship. I then realized that I needed to adjust my mindset in order to go for one of the biggest challenges in my life.
Some might ask why we bother to run our own businesses? Isn’t working for others more comfortable? Also we could have time to do whatever we want!
I would say there is no right or wrong on this topic. One could choose to work for others until they die, one could choose to create something in their lives and decide to rung their businesses! They are totally different paths. I think running my own business is better off just because I think this can complete my own life when I know I only have limited time in my life.
If you are having the similar mindset as mine, you should read this article. I am going share 5 simple ways to start our own businesses! Before that, let’s spend around 12 minutes on the following video!
1. Start With Your Friends
I believe that this is one of the easiest ways to start our own business.
In the beginning of this blog post, I mentioned about my friends asking me if I was interested in running business with them 2 years ago. Although I had very little saving by that time, I decided to accept this invitation from my friends.
After that, I started to have regular meeting with my friends. Since one of them had experience and sufficient capital, he became the leader of our team. He shared a lot of opinion and knowledge to us, did whatever it took to start the whole operation, and assessed the rate of return (ROI) based on his experience.
As a result, we started out business in 3-month time and earned the first HK$1m Revenue in the first year.
Half-year later, we saw another opportunity of expanding the business, and we decided to take action. With the success of the 1st business, we can simply copy the operation and achieve another success. We expect to earn a total of HK$2m for the coming year.
Although it is not a large business, it already offered me an opportunity to actually run a real business in reality.
The reason why it is easy to start a business with our friends is that, sometime we might not have the exact expertise or capital to run our own business. However, our friends might have and they might also need our expertise for other operation of the business, eg, accounting knowledge for running business. This is simply a supply and demand.
Most of the time, people said we should never run a business with our friends because we might not have the same way of running business. This dilemma might ruin the relationship. Therefore, it is important to get to know our friends if we want to do some projects with them.
2. Figure our Your Interest
Jasmine is a friend of mine and is currently studying at University. She is a very smart girl who had a good grade in public exams and earned a seat in Accounting and Finance degree.
Although she chose to study in Accounting and Finance, she didn’t really like this subject. Instead of becoming an Accountant, she wanted to develop her career in drawing.
That is right. She LOVES drawing. When she was young, she was interested in drawing. She didn’t have the talent in drawing, but she didn’t give up this interest, instead she tried to study the drawing technique, watched professionals’s video on drawing, read books to improve her knowledge, and most importantly she drew every day.
Few years ago, she started to join some public competitions to prove her drawing ability and won some prizes. She also used this interest as her side hustle and earned some money. With all these experiences, she started to feel confident to teach others.
She created her own Youtube Channel, facebook page, ig account and her own website to start teaching other the drawing technique for free. All these platforms attracted a lot of subscribers, fans and students who truly wanted to learn drawing. I am one of her fans who is attracted by her hardworking and attitude.
Besides drawing, she has been learning a lot about running business, how to do online marketing, pricing, etc, in order to move her drawing life to the next level. Recently, she has created some paid courses for those who want to learn drawing seriously.
Jasmine is one of the examples of using interest as a business. In fact, we all good at something, some may be good at talking and presenting, some may be good at learning languages, some may be professional at working out. Once they are confident enough, they can use all these knowledge to start their own businesses.
All we need to do is to take the first step.
3. Join Startup Competitions
Cory is one of the customers of my business. She is a fresh University graduate and is currently working as a programmer. In the day time, she works for her company and works on the back end system, in the night time, she works for her own on an apps with 4 business partners.
She started her entrepreneurship when she was studying at University. In her first year at University she accidentally sit in a seminar about entrepreneurship, which arose her interest in it.
Later, she formed different teams with her classmates, joined a few startup competitions and won one of them. In those competition, she met a lot of people at her age or even younger than her but already started their own businesses. Some of them were quite successful in term of earning money at young ages.
In her final year at University, she found a few exchanged students and local students as business partners and started her own company. She was responsible for apps development and others are responsible for marketing, business strategies, sale pitching, etc.
Actually, a lot of entrepreneurs are like Cory who meet a lot of friends with entrepreneurial mindset. Some of them may only have the vision and lack of knowledge, experience and technique. Coincidentally, Cory is having the skill set of apps development that her business partners are lack of, so she can join the team and make contribution.
In other words, if we are lucky enough, we can find the right partners from those startup competitions. Even if we cannot find one, we can still make a lot of friends who is having similar goals as ours. We can then share knowledge, thoughts and experience with each others.
4. Create Mastermind Group
Almost A year ago, I asked some of my friends if they wanted to form a group and discuss about starting a business. They all have 10+ years work experience in their industries. One is a qualified accountant; one is a to-be-CEO in a sizable ibank; one is a professional interior designer; one is a management in a listed company.
Although we have different background, we have the same goal – to establish our own company and run our own business. Since then, we have been discussing business ideas in a whatsapp group. Most of the time, I threw some ideas and the relevant business models, and they challenge my ideas with some questions and opinions.
We also formed a team to apply for a entrepreneurial funding programme established by a local University. Although the programme didn’t grant a lot of money to the finalists, the University could provide experienced consultant, networks and other resources, which were so attractive to us.
We worked so hard to consolidate the business ideas and prepare for the elevator pitch. We couldn’t get into the finalist eventually, but it proved that we could work together and develop business ideas. Since that entrepreneurial funding programme is a yearly programme, we are going to team up again this year.
I would say this is a small mastermind group for us. Actually, a mastermind group is a group of people, usually with different background and experience, who help others resolve the problems with input and advice. This is valuable to those who want to build up their companies and want to have feedback from others, and those who look for business partners.
Normally the members of the group would:
- brain-storm business ideas
- throw the ideas or problems that they are currently facing, and discuss the solution and opinions
- share some entrepreneurial mindset, updates, technique, knowledge, etc to the group
By joining these kind of groups, we can widen our horizon.
5. Join a Startup
Currently I am working in a startup and helping my boss to do the 3rd round fundraising. Fundraising is very important in startup who already has good business ideas and business model but lack of capital.
My company was established 5 years ago and already conducted 2 round of fundraising. Because of the pandemic, investors around the world seem to have a lot of cash on hand and look for investment opportunities. Therefore, my boss thought it might be the right time to do the 3rd round fundraising.
Although I have run my own business with my business partners, I have also met some friends who are running their own business, I didn’t do any fundraising before. Hence, it is a golden opportunity for me to learn how to do fundraising.
Basically, we need a wonderful pitching and good financial model shaping a good future of our business. My boss has showed me how the pitching would go, eg, the performance, growth, strengths, market shares, etc, of our companies.
Also, I am flattered to get involved in building the financial forecast for the coming two years. I now know how details we should present the financial figures to the investors, how to model the business is a reasonable and attractive manner, what key output is normally expected from the investors, etc. This is one of the advantages of working in startup.
Another advantage is that, sometimes if the entrepreneur would like to exit and cash out, he / she might want to sell their shares to the existing employees who are interested to become the shareholders of the startup. By doing so, a normal employees can become one of the owners of the startup. This is one of the fastest ways to run their own business.
To conclude, start our own businesses is not easy. For example, we might not know how to get start, or we might not be confident enough to leave our comfort zone (work for others) , or we might not have the $10m worth of business ideas to get started. The following 5 ways may give you some ideas how are going to start our own businesses:
- Start With Your Friends
- Figure our Your Interest
- Join Startup Competitions
- Create Mastermind Group
- Join a Startup
If you have any questions or have anything things to share, you can reach out to me via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Besides, if you want to know more about what I have learnt from other successful people, you can click the below link. This could the one of the life-changing articles for you: