Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I’m honored this week to have a guest blogger. Theresa Schwab is passionate about helping business owners level-UP their game in terms of revenue, profits, community impact, and personal legacy. Connect with Theresa on LinkedInTwitter, or read her blog.

It has been more than 12 years ago that I left my Fortune 500 leadership position. A relentless series of layoffs finally led me to turn in my resignation letter in 2008. The layoffs were disruptive in many ways. Mostly because the scope of work didn’t change and neither did the timeline. There were simply fewer doers and executives completely refused to acknowledge the triple constraint theory. The cycle grew old.

My dream for years was to quit and start my own business. I kept waiting for my big idea, a breakthrough, incredible innovation, or revolutionary product, but it never came. My picture of a business owner was someone like Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Sarah Blakely or anyone who appeared on Shark Tank. They are the entrepreneurial figures who make the headlines. 

And that’s just one of several strategies for building a business that creates wealth for your family and builds a legacy. You can make great money, have a life of leisure and plenty without that novel idea or patentable gadget.

For every Oprah and A-Rod, there are thousands of ordinary, everyday entrepreneurs. 

Here are four ways you can get started today:

  1. Buy into a Franchising. There is more to franchising than the Subway, the Golden Arches, or  brick and mortar. My first business was a technology service franchise with the team working remotely for the first year. This strategy is perfect for bridging the gap between an employee mindset and an entrepreneurial mindset. Franchises allow you to leap onto a proven pathway with support, guidance, and expertise but can be expensive.
  2. Buy a plan. You can build a house with a plan you purchased on the internet. And you can do the same with a business. For just a few dollars you can buy a plan for starting a food truck. (We should have bought the plan before the truck!) With a simple Google search, I landed on a page with more than 500 free business plans anywhere from storage facilities to accounting firms to an insurance agencies. These probably aren’t the best plans, but they are a great head start.
  3. Grow Your Hobby. Do you have a green thumb? Love building beautiful furniture? Do people look to you to solve all their tech issues? Do you teach classes on the side? Now may be the time to grow your hobby or side hustle into a bigger gig. How can you design a business around a hobby that you love doing? You don’t even have to quit your job to start this one!
  4. Find a Need. Fill a Need. A colleague of mine uses this saying all the time to describe selling. It’s a great way to spark a business idea too. What is something you wish you had? A service you need that you can’t find? Therein lies your brilliant business idea. 

Many of my clients are corporate escapees and when I have them reflect on their first year in business, they tell me how rewarding it is to be involved in their local community. More importantly, they express gratitude for being able to see every dance recital, baseball game, and visit elderly family members. If you have always wanted to start your own business, now may be a perfect time.

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