05 Aug Being your own boss – the entrepreneur route
Are you an entrepreneur? (That depends. What is one? See the definition below.)
Being an entrepreneur basically means that you start and run your own business. You work for yourself. Being your own boss, you set the hours, determine what you are doing and make all the important decisions. Pretty cool, eh? But! It is not without risk – as the boss you have to manage the money, get the supplies, deal with complaints, just to name a few things! You will receive all the credit but you will also get all the blame. As such, you need to plan things out carefully and be prepared in order to run a well-run business.
Now, you may be thinking, Uh, yoo-hoo, ladies! We’re still in school here! We can’t really have our own business. You can. We know of a 5 year old who started a business.
What can you do? You can run a babysitting service, a lawn care service or catering service. Anything where you have the ability to say “Yes” or “No” to the work means that you are in charge.
The first thing to consider is the market need. What’s that? Well, let’s say you have these two ideas for businesses 1) gift wrapping or 2) making pickled anchovies for holiday hors-d’oeuvres. Now consider how many people might use your businesses: How many people gift wrap? Just about everyone, right? How many people eat pickled anchovies? Not many? As such, you may want to go with the gift wrapping idea. You know it’s a needed service (there is a market need), you enjoy it and you have the time. Now what? Here are a few tips:
Advertise. People need to know about your business – what you do, how much you charge, the hours you work, etc. To advertise this information people often create a flier to post around town or put in people’s mailboxes. Or they advertise on local websites. You may even start by emailing a few of your parents’ friends, if your parents and you think that’s the best way to start.
Plan ahead. What supplies do you need to run your business? How will you get to where you need to go (if needed)? How can you aim to keep your customers satisfied?
Billing. In order to make money you will need to charge more for your services than what it costs for you to provide it. (OMG – you mean math class will actually come in handy?) For example, if you decide to bake cakes for birthday parties, you will need to determine the cost of flour, sugar, icing, etc., for each cake so that your price for the cake covers the supplies you used to bake it plus your time in preparing it! What is your time worth? No sense in losing money!
Your terms. Be prepared and upfront about any time issues you may have (maybe because of band practice, homework and babysitting your neighbor’s snails, you can only work on Saturdays and Wednesdays). Also be clear about the service you are providing. Let customers know what you charge. For example, you charge $10 an hour to babysit one child, two children would be $15 an hour. This way no misunderstandings will occur.
Having your own business is a big responsibility but it can be very rewarding, both financially and otherwise. But it’s not the only way to make money during the summer time…
Have you ever had a really awful boss? What was working for that person like?