Get Ready, Get Set, Go for Entrepreneurship

ReadySetGoEntrepreneurship is a dream for many people. Sadly, it often ends up being an unrealized life-long dream.

Why is it, that a desire someone has for years, burning in their belly, goes unfulfilled? Speaking from experience, I have lived a few of those perceived reasons for not starting my own business. My own barriers were all in my mind. I created a good, solid list that gave me permission not to act on what I truly wanted. Some of the reasons I convinced myself were valid were 1) having children to support, 2) not knowing what I really wanted to do, 3) not having the right knowledge, and 4) not having the time.

Looking back now that I’ve been a business owner for over a decade, and now help others start and grow their own home and business inventory service, I just shake my head that I truly believed all of that rubbish.

Why haven’t others pursued their own dream of being an entrepreneur? Most give the same reasons I had. But they aren’t reasons, they are excuses. It is really procrastination, lack of confidence, and uncertainty. There is one sure thought I want to share with you – You will never really be ready.

The reason for that is, you will never be fully prepared. There is always something new to learn. And there is always the chance for failure. That’s the blunt truth.

Starting a business, and growing a business, requires time, devotion, and commitment. It’s easy to start a business. In reality, all you need to do is decide on a name, file it with the state, and in essence, you have started a business. Building and growing the business is the hard part. It takes time – not just months, but years. It takes commitment. It takes dedication. It won’t happen over night – it’s not a one-lap sprint around the track. Business ownership is a marathon. That means you can take your time – even start part time if you want the security of a steady income for a while.

However, whether you jump in with both feet or spend just a few hours a day on your new business, if you aren’t in it for the long haul, then don’t bother starting. There are always reasons to wait if you want an excuse. But never is there a better time to begin your adventure than now.

If you want the world of entrepreneurship, don’t wait until the time is right. In total honesty, the time is never right – so start before you’re ready.

Not ReadyGet set … Go!

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How To Be A Part-time Entrepreneur

PTFTThere are a plethora of people wanting to start a business, but they just don’t take that first step. There are many reasons for this resistance to move on their desire. The dream sits for years, sometimes decades, always at the back of their minds. It often creates anxiety, as the entrepreneur bug keeps nagging at them. I can relate to this, as I waited nearly 30 years before I took the plunge into the world of business ownership.

So, what keeps people from just jumping in and doing what they truly want to do? There are many reasons; the most common are:

  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Insufficient funds to go without revenue during the start-up period
  • Not knowing enough about owning a business
  • Friends and family discouraging them from making the move

For those who want to become an entrepreneur, but can’t make a full 100% commitment, I recommend starting the business part-time while you keep your full-time employment.  This eliminates the gap between when you quit employment and start bringing in your new business revenue. There are a few things to consider that will help with this transition:

  1. Find help from someone who can help you learn the industry quickly.
  2. Make sure you’ll be able to start and build the business without having it interfere with your current employment.
  3. Choose an industry that allows for a flexible schedule so you can develop your business around your required full-time work hours.

As the founder of the premier home and and business personal property inventory Business Package and Licensing Agreement, I can assure you this is a business that will meet all of these needs. The reasons for this (and these tips will help you compare with other industries) are:

  1. We provide a detailed manual along with one-on-one mentoring and coaching. You’ll gain the knowledge we’ve achieved during our more than 12 years in the industry. This knowledge that you’ll gain quickly will help give you the confidence you need to present your new service in a professional manner.
  2. Through the Licensing Agreement, we create your logo, website, marketing materials (including a monthly electronic newsletter), and you have the rights to all intellectual property. This enables you to work on building your business while we build your marketing package.
  3. The home and business inventory service is scheduled at the clients’ home or place of business. It is very easy to schedule your inventory appointments around your full-time employment work schedule. For those times when there is a conflict, you can hire a trusted person to do the inventory for you, and you’ll make passive income while you’re at your full-time job.

As you grow your business, you’ll be able to continue working until you’ve gained enough clients that will sustain you. At that time, you will have the confidence to make the step towards a full-time entrepreneur. Or, you just might find that being a part-time entrepreneur fulfills your dream of business ownership. With that, you’ll have chosen the perfect industry that enables you to continue to remain a full-time employee while enjoying the extra income and pride you gained through your part-time business.

Whatever you decide, you’ve taken the steps required to move forward with your dream.

Nationwide Inventory Professionals Licensee in South Carolina Achieves Certification

Donna Business photo 001 (2)PRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Donna Courtney, owner of Courtney Inventory in Little River, South Carolina, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms her knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents inventory services.

Explaining why she invested in certification, Courtney said, “As a licensed insurance agent for 30 years, I earned various designations which enabled me to stay engaged and knowledgeable about the insurance industry. Continuing education is extremely important to me, which is what encouraged me to earn the CIS designation. This helps show my clients that I have taken the extra steps to be a leader in my industry.”

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider. Choosing to achieve certification shows residential and commercial clients and potential clients that Courtney is a dedicated professional.

Mike Hartman, Executive Director of NICA, shared that “coming from the insurance profession that requires certification and continuing education, Donna is aware of the importance of certification. Her professional background solidifies that education is essential when you want to put the client first.”  

A requirement for certification and membership with NICA is to agree to conduct business according to the established industry Code of Ethics. Based in South Carolina, Courtney Inventory provides residential and commercial asset inventory services in South Carolina and Southeast North Carolina. For more information about Courtney Inventory or to contact Donna Courtney, visit her website at .

About National Inventory Certification Association

Established in 2011, the National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is nationally recognized as the official certification authority for the personal property/asset inventory industry. The certification and continuing education opportunities ensure that members have access to quality industry knowledge as well as business and professional development resources to help achieve the success they seek for their home and business contents inventory companies. For more information visit the NICA website or call 717-827-6422.

 

Deciding to Be A Solo Entrepreneur

SoloPreneurFor those starting a small business, the decision is normally whether it should be a partnership or if they should go it alone as a solo entrepreneur. There are many benefits with both types of business entities. The pros and cons are well balanced.

In my previous two posts, Do This Before Starting a Business Partnership and Pros and Cons of a Business Partnership, I covered many of the issues to consider when choosing to have a business partner. Whether that partner is a friend, relative, or spouse, the questions and decisions are the same, and extremely important to be addressed prior to choosing who that partner will be.

Choosing whether to have a business partner or not is often dependent on what type of person you are, and how well you – in the well-know phrase – can “work with others.”

So, what are the pros and cons of being a solo entrepreneur?

The benefits of being a solo entrepreneur

Ahhhhh …. freedom! That’s the first and most often touted benefit of entrepreneurship. But there are many other reasons one chooses to be a solo entrepreneur when starting a business. Some are:

  • You are following your passion, living the dream!
  • It’s all about you. If you like total control, this is probably for you. You make the decisions, you live by them, and take the hit when it’s the wrong decision. But for many, the key here is it was yours to make, and yours alone. There is often a rush that comes with that.
  • No one to answer to but yourself (that “freedom factor”). If you want to take a few hours off – or the entire day – you can do so. If you want to work weird hours, they are yours to choose.
  • You have full control over the financials. You invested, and you reap the financial rewards.
  • You and you alone achieved the success directly from the efforts you put into the business.

The issues a solo entrepreneur might face

Pros and cons for business ownership are often the same thing, but with different results. These are the issues you are likely to face when choosing to own a business as a solo entrepreneur:

  • Being “the one” is not always a good thing, as it can sometimes be quite frightening and lonely.
  • When you have to make a decision, you have only your own experience and knowledge to guide you. You don’t have a partner to share the burden of a wrong or poor decision.
  • There is no one to “high-five” or share the excitement with when achieving a major success.
  • Creativity is often limited when you have just your own input into marketing, financing, and sales.
  • Your weaknesses will be magnified when you are totally responsible for all facets of the company.

Know what type of person you are. Do you prefer to work alone? Are you one who likes complete control? If so, solo entrepreneurship is probably a good decision. If this is your choice, I recommend that you join a mastermind group or hire a business coach. Having other entrepreneurs or a coach to kick ideas around will be extremely important to soften the cons of being alone. You’ll still have total control, but you will benefit from others’ input who are experienced business professionals.

Pros and Cons of a Business Partnership

PartnerWhen you’re in the planning stages of starting a business, one huge question is whether you should be a solo entrepreneur or find a suitable partner to join you in the business. There are pros and cons for each type of business structure. In my previous post, Do This Before Starting a Business Partnership, I noted important things to consider before choosing to be in business with a friend and/or family members. It is also possible to become a business partner with a casual acquaintance or even someone you just met. Due diligence, no matter how well you know the person, is essential when making this important decision. You don’t want any surprises down the road that could ruin your reputation or the reputation of your business.

When starting a business, there are pros and cons to consider when choosing a partnership.

Benefits of having a business partner

As an entrepreneur, it is all on you. Having someone to share the burdens as well as the successes can be a great thing. Some key benefits are:

  • No one is exceptional in all aspects of the business world, so finding a partner with different or complimenting skills can be a huge boost to your buisness.
  • You will have someone to talk to that understands your hurdles and disappointments.
  • You won’t have the full burden of the financials, lessening your initial investment as well as the ongoing startup and ongoing expenses.
  • You most likely won’t have all the same contacts, so there is a possibility of immediately having double the contacts for prospective clients.
  • When you are ill or experiencing a rough personal issue, you will have someone to pick up load.
  • Even in the early stages of the business, it’s important to take time off for a break from the long hours and total focus on the business. A partner will be able to keep the efforts moving forward while you take turns with a few days off for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Things to consider before choosing to enter into a business partnership

On the flip side, there are also issues to consider when you’re sharing a business:

  • You will be giving up full and total control.
  • You will have to consider a give-and-take when it comes to making major decisions.
  • Though your partner will share in the investment, that also means that you’ll have to share the profits.
  • Sharing the profits means a need to grow the business faster and larger so you can support two families.
  • If your partner’s quality of work suffers, it will reflect on you and your business as well.
  • If your partner chooses to walk away, you will be saddled with any business debts.

If you and your partner have the same values, level of energy, motivation, and goals, this could be a sign of a successful partnership. Be sure you are in sync with these areas, and make sure that you do that one thing before deciding on a partnership, as mentioned in my post mentioned above. A failed business partnership can easily ruin a great friendship and could also tear a family apart. Proper planning will hopefully prevent that from happening.

Do This Before Starting a Business Partnership

TheTalkSo you’ve been thinking about about starting a business, but don’t want to be a solo entrepreneur. This, of course, means you need to find a business partner. Most likely you’ve already considered the type of business, which helped you decide which friends or relatives would be a good business partner.

So, who will you choose to join you on this new adventure? Choosing someone this close is often a good idea, because you already know the person quite well. You know their good points, and you know their not-so-good points. You also know what they do that annoys you. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend that you consider all of these, as it will help you choose the best fit. Remember, you will be working with them day in and day out, 24/7, 365 – at least at first.  Once you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of those who would be a good candidate as your business partner, you’re set to move forward with your plans. More than likely, you’ve already had casual conversations before your “official” offer, so they won’t be surprised that you’re ready to move forward with your plans.

The next step is probably the most difficult task.

It’s time to have “the talk.” No, not that talk!

This talk is one where you both will need to be straight forward, blunt even. You will need to lay out all of your feelings, your reservations, your expectations.

Business partnership with a friend, relative, or spouse can be a wonderful experience. But without laying the groundwork first, difficulties will most likely arise, often beyond repair. What do you need to discuss? Luckily, My wife and I had many long conversations about being business partners prior to starting a home inventory business.

There are many topics to cover, but here are some very basic areas to be addressed before you go any further:

  • Who will have major ownership – if you are 50/50, and there is a disagreement, a stalemate could cause failure. Someone needs to have the final say.
  • Who will fill what role – consider your skills and decide who will be responsible for the daily operations of sales & marketing, who is in charge of the financials, etc.
  • Set parameters – There will be disagreements, so decide now how these will be handled – by vote, by the person responsible for that area of the business, or by the one who has major ownership of the business.
  • What reservations you have – and you will have reservations, no matter who your intended business partner is. This is the toughest part, as you will be required to be more open and honest than you have ever been. You need to get though any issues that you think just might come up, and face them now. Can you work together? Do you want to be with this person all day, almost every day? In the beginning, at least, you’ll most likely live, eat, and sleep your new business.

As I said, there are many other things that will need to be discussed. But if these topics aren’t fully discussed, and firmly agreed upon, you are probably in for a bumpy ride. A small aggravation could turn into an insurmountable difficulty. Take precautions up front. It will save a lot of arguing and disappointments. It could even save a friendship or a marriage.

Be An Entrepreneur – Be A Kid Again

KidsBusinessI don’t have any statistics on this, so I am basing an assumption on articles I’ve read and conversations I’ve enjoyed over the years. I am assuming there are many more people who dream of being an entrepreneur and never achieved that goal, than who had the dream and achieved business ownership. I was the dreamer for a long time before I acted on my desire to own my own company.

In fact, it was a 30+ year dream. I blamed not pursuing entrepreneurship on the typical “life getting in the way” excuse. You know the one – marriage, children, kids’ college, etc. The time just wasn’t right. There was always a “good” reason to shove that dream in the back of my mind under the category “some day.” But, in reality, I didn’t have the nerve. I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t have confidence that I would make the right decisions.

I didn’t think I could be successful.

I thought I would fail as an entrepreneur

Why? Because I failed at so many things during my childhood – and adulthood – that made me think I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, energetic enough – you name it. What made me think this? When I was a Brownie and Girl Scout, and it was time to sell the cookies, my mom told me to only knock on the doors of people I knew. So, I grew up thinking you only sold things to people you know. That translated to me believing I could not be successful owning my own business, because I certainly would need more customers than my friends and relatives.

Another defining time in my life was when I tried out for the junior high choir. Oh! How I love to sing! When the choir director told me I was cut after the tryouts, I remember asking “Why?” HIs answer was, “You can’t sing!” I was devastated. I told myself if I couldn’t do what I really, really enjoyed, which turning into “What good am I?” I then got a C in music because I refused to sing with the rest of the class.

All children hear so many more minor messages – don’t run, don’t climb, don’t – don’t – don’t because you will get hurt, you’ll fall, you’ll fail. Well, who wants to get hurt? And what adult wants to risk getting hurt by trying to run a business? What wants to fail? No one, of course. So the dream stays a dream, and you live a life that isn’t fulfilling.

Now, I don’t blame anyone but myself for delaying my dream. Not my parents or my teachers. I know now that they did their best, with what they knew, handed down to them, from their parents and mentors, and so on down the line. I do blame myself, though. After all those years, I accepted my self-talk and didn’t question if it was real or imagined. I didn’t take control of my thoughts and my beliefs. After all, I’m adult, and I can believe what I want to believe.

Children know they will succeed

Look at a child who wants to open (the always great example of) a lemonade stand. Kids don’t even consider the fact that they might not sell some lemonade. When the first car drives by and doesn’t stop, do they gather up everything and quit? No! When the first pedestrian walks by and says, “No thank you,” do they cry and feel like they are failures? Absolutely not! They know in their whole being someone will become a customer. And they are usually right. If not, I can guess that they are in the front yard the next day, open once again in anticipation, knowing deep down inside that they will succeed.

The difference from children and many adults with a dream of starting a business is the belief in themselves. Toddlers don’t know they can’t do what they want to do. They learned to walk, even after falling down over and over. Not because someone kept telling them could, but because they had the benefit of not being told over and over that they could not. In fact, people were all there, encouraging them to take that first step. No matter how many times they fall down, they get back up again, knowing this time they will walk.

The same with all the other accomplishments in one’s life. Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up. You’ll hear many wonderful dreams that years later haven’t come true. Somewhere along the line they began to believe others’ opinions rather than holding on to what they know. They settled. Maybe because their music teacher told them they couldn’t sing. Or they were told “don’t bother people you don’t know” when selling something.

Who would have thought I’d be mentoring other business owners as they start their own home inventory business? For a long, long time, I never thought I could be an entrepreneur. And now I not only own one business, but three! Who woulda thought? Unfortunately for many, many years, I thought I was not capable.

For all those who have the dream of starting a business, I recommend that you be a kid again! Find that childhood freshness that tells you that you can do anything you want to do. Find that inner child who just knows that you can be successful. There is too much life to live to not follow your dreams down a road that takes you to success.

Now … GO!

Startup Mode Should Never Stop

BuildBusinessYou have finally decided to start your business. You’ve had the idea and desire for quite some time, and now is the time. You’re ready to enter the startup mode of building your business.

There are many articles, blogs, newsletters, and even seminars that tell people the importance of being “on your game” when starting a business. You need to be confident, professional, interested in others, courteous, and customer-focused. Doing and being all of these will help you connect with others who can help you, it will help you secure clients, and thus, it will help you build your business.

But it doesn’t stop once you’ve passed the startup mode. As the owner of a company that helps people start a business, I learned it myself. I also see it first-hand with those I mentor that you still need to be all of these things, but you need to be them even more once you are beyond startup. Because now you are established and have a reputation to uphold. That doesn’t sound right, does it? After all the sweat and tears, sleepless nights, and sometimes financial stress, you should be able to coast now that you’re successful.

You can’t stop being “it” when you’re a business owner

The reason you can’t stop is evident (I believe this is why many businesses fail). If you built your business on professionalism and being customer-focused, that is now expected of you. How long do you think you’ll stay in business if you stop focusing on these two factors? Not very long. You set a standard for yourself, and it is imperative that you keep that standard, and even improve on it. The saying if you don’t advance, you’re standing still is so true. Even more-so, if you are standing still, you’re really moving backward. There will always be someone entering your industry with that energy, customer focus, and professionalism that you had during your startup. This is the key to remaining in business.

It’s important to always look for ways to improve, keeping the clients’ needs in mind.

Remember how it felt when starting your business

Does this mean you have to always be in high gear? No, there are some things that get easier (getting more sleep is one of them). You’ll have your processes established, you’ll have a great group of happy clients, and you’ll have a reputation of being professional. These won’t stop if you keep the startup mindset you had in the beginning.

Remember how it felt to get that first order. Remember how it felt when you completed the job. Remember how it felt when someone thanked you for what you do. Remember the importance of being professional and customer-focused. These are the startup mode factors that should never stop, as this mindset will help propel your business forward.

What Did You Do On Leap Day?

LeapYearLeap Day, February 29. It arrived as expected. We won’t have another until 2020.

Many don’t know why we add this extra day, other than it has something to do with the calendar. According to BBC News Magazine, “The leap year’s extra day is necessary because of the “messiness” of our Solar System. One Earth year (a complete orbit around the Sun) does not take an exact number of whole days (one complete spin of the Earth on its axis). In fact, it takes 365.2422 days, give or take.

“Until Julius Caesar came to power, people observed a 355-day calendar – with an extra 22-day month every two years. But it was a convoluted solution to the problem and feast days began sliding into different seasons. So Caesar ordered his astronomer, Sosigenes, to simplify things. Sosigenes opted for the 365-day year with an extra day every four years to scoop up the extra hours. This is how February 29 was born. It was then fine-tuned by Pope Gregory XIII.” (If you’re interested in the fine details, they can be found in the article).”

So that sounds quite easy, that every fourth year is a leap year. End of story. But, in fact, it is not the end of the story. It become quite a big more complicated.  The article continues, “A year that is divisible by 100, but not by 400, is not [a leap year]. So 2000 was a leap year under the Gregorian calendar, as was 1600. But 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years. ‘It seems a bit arbitrary,’ says Ian Stewart, emeritus professor of mathematics at Warwick University. But there’s a good reason behind it.” Each of our earth years is actually 365 and a quarter days long. Sort of. Actually, it is slightly less. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII and his astronomers reasoned that there was a loss of three leap days every 400 years. Therefore, this is why 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years.

OK; by now you’re probably wondering why this is on a business blog. Actually, it has a lot to do with how we spend our days and take advantage of opportunities when they come along.

What did you do on February 29?

We all talk about having an “extra day” this year. This offers opportunity! What could you have done on February 29 to work on your business that you didn’t do?

  • Call an extra 10 prospects
  • Clean out your overflowing email box
  • Spend a few hours on your marketing plan
  • Catch up on tasks you’ve been putting off
  • Review your business plan and set new goals

Most likely, you did the same things you do any other day of the week, not really even thinking about this gift.

Year vs Day

So you missed this opportunity. Leap Day is gone. February 29th is over.

Well, the refreshing thing to realize is that it didn’t have to be done on February 29. No one says (other than the calendar) that is is the “extra” day and it’s gone now. Remember, 2016 is Leap Year! So, since there are 366 days in the year, you still have that extra day available. Now – pick your day, and make it extraordinary – you won’t get another one for another four years.

You don’t want to spend this extra 24 hours on your business? That is totally your decision. As an entrepreneur myself, I have to admit that the 29th came and went without me addressing any of the items listed above. One of the benefits of business ownership is that I have picked another day of the year to use my extra day. Some thoughts are:

  • Take the day off of work to have well-earned R&R
  • Spend the day with the family
  • Read a book I’ve been wanting to read
  • Extend my vacation a day longer than planned

I might even do all four! Take a leap, and make it a good one!

New Jersey Licensee Achieves Certification

“When I first met John, I could tell he is a person of high integrity, and my continued contact with him has confirmed my first impression,” stated Mike Hartman, Executive Director of NICA.

Rogerson (2)We at Nationwide Inventory Professionals are pleased to announce that John D. Rogerson, owner of Rogerson Inventory LLC, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) through the National Inventory Certification Association. Achieving this designation confirms his knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents inventory services to his clients in New Jersey, Southeastern New York, and Southeastern Pennsylvania. John just recently launched his new inventory business as our most recent Licensee.

Though we encourage our Licensees to become certified, he was determined to do so very quickly. Since he is employed full time with the New Jersey Air National Guard, and is also a husband and father of two sons, his time is at a premium. Staying up late at night and getting up early in the morning enabled him to achieve his mission to be certified. He believes this extra step is important not only for his own self-confidence, but also to assure his clients that he has chosen to learn all he can about the industry. A requirement for certification and membership with NICA is to agree to conduct business according to the established industry Code of Ethics, and he displays this personal trait in all he does. “When I first met John, I could tell he is a person of high integrity, and my continued contact with him has confirmed my first impression,” stated Mike Hartman, Executive Director of NICA.

After almost a year of research, he chose to start a home inventory business. Rogerson saw the need for this service, and learned that it can be very flexible, thus fitting into his busy lifestyle. The industry is gaining more recognition over the last few years, and this increasing awareness means the necessity of having professional and certified inventory providers to offer photographic and written records of personal property. This greater demand is not only for residential, but also commercial clients. When asked why he achieved his certification so soon after starting his home inventory business, Rogerson explained, “I am a very focused and detailed individual, and decided I wanted to start out offering inventory services with these credentials. I understand the importance for a new business to emit professionalism and this is one of the best ways I felt I could do that.”

The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is nationally recognized as the official education and certification authority for the personal property/asset inventory industry. The certification and continuing education opportunities ensure that members have access to quality industry knowledge as well as business and professional development. 

Based in Howell, New Jersey, Rogerson Inventory provides residential and commercial asset inventory services in New Jersey, Southeastern New York, and Southeastern Pennsylvania. In addition to being certified, he is also bonded and insured. 

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Home Inventory – A Guide for Homeowners and Renters

Home Inventory – A
Guide for Homeowners and Renters


The many reasons for a home inventory, plus a do-it-yourself guide and templates.

 

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory
Protecting your company assets.

Copyright 2016 Nationwide Inventory Professionals, LLC © 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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