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We Guide to Entrepreneurship

Getting started with entrepreneurship can be a bumpy ride, especially if you're striking out on your own for the first time.

From determining whether or not entrepreneurship is really right for you, to uncovering your strongest passions, finding the right type of business for your skill sets and learning how to help solve meaningful problems for your audience, there's a lot to learn.

However, at the end of the day, there's no better way to learn than to just get started.

Entrepreneurship: How to Determine Whether or Not It's for You

To start determining whether or not entrepreneurship is right for you, ask yourself these questions:

• What's your tolerance for risk?

• Do you prefer a steady paycheck or potentially unlimited earnings in exchange for risk?

• Are you ok with taking on a multitude of different responsibilities each day?

• If you have a business idea already, are you truly passionate about it?

• Do you have the support of other stakeholders in your life?

• Are you a good decision-maker?

If you feel confident in taking on the risks, rewards, and responsibilities that come along with starting your own business, let's keep going. If you're having second thoughts, that's ok—talk it over with friends and family, gather their feedback and consider pausing on your business ambitions if it's not the right time.

Sure, turning a profit and eventually earning more income than your day job affords you is a great reason to start your own business, but simply exploiting a market opportunity you've identified won't last for very long.

When you pursue a business opportunity that you're not genuinely passionate about, the temptation to give up in the face of your first (inevitable) failures will become an increasingly appealing option. By solving a problem you care deeply about, you're aligning your goals with the success of the people your business will be helping—which makes you much more likely to push past any obstacles that come your way.

More importantly, you'll be setting yourself up for long-term success in entrepreneurship.

Here's How to Discover Your Passions

If like most people, you're not exactly sure what your strongest passions are, or which ones have the most potential to create a lasting business, start by asking yourself these questions:

• What are your favorite hobbies?

• What's the best part of your day?

• What do you love doing?

• Which topics could you enjoy writing an article about?

• What do you like talking about with friends and family?

• What are your strongest skills?

• Are there any topics you're an expert on?

By carefully examining how you choose to spend your free time outside of your 9-5, you'll get a glimpse into the different topic areas that you have a genuine interest in. We tend to fall in love with doing the things we're good at—so do a personal SWOT analysis to determine your greatest strengths and strongest skills as an entrepreneur.

Next, you'll need to think critically about whether there's overlap between any of your interest areas and your current strengths.

Therein will lie the best path for starting to turn your passions into profits.

For example, if you love running either competitively or for exercise, and your friends often come to you with questions about what type of running shoes they should buy, where they can find the best running trails in your city, or which upcoming races they should sign up for, that's evidence that your community already views you as an authority on running.

The next step on the path of entrepreneurship is to formalize a business model—and specific problem you want to solve within your strongest interest area.

Deciding Which Type of Business Idea Is Best for You

If you're not sure which type of business will suit you best, start by reading through this diverse list of small business ideas that spans across dozens of industries and see if anything gives you inspiration.

Once you have the general topic area you want to build a business around while keeping your day job, evaluate which of these types of popular businesses will be best for your existing skills, strengths and lifestyle goals.

1. Services

If you have a set of skills that are in high demand, such as web development, graphic design, writing, content marketing, or otherwise, choosing to go out on your own as a freelancer, consultant or building an agency are all great ways to build a service-based business around your interests. Leverage your existing professional network to land your first paying clients by tapping old co-workers, catching up with acquaintances, reconnecting with former classmates and ask if they know of anyone who could use your services. Nail your first projects, create a portfolio to highlight your best work and grow through referrals for as long as you can before turning to cold outreach.

2. Physical Products

If you've got an idea for a physical product you want to bring to life, whether it's writing a book, manufacturing the next great iPhone accessory or something else entirely, at the end of the day physical products need to be shipped from door-to-door. After building your product, having an eCommerce website will be a must, so that you can market your products to an online audience.

Partner with other companies that reach the audience you want to sell to by forging joint promotions, distribution agreements and marketing partnerships to keep growing from there.

3. Digital Products

From writing and selling eBooks to teaching online courses, making graphic design templates, running an online magazine, producing online workshops, training seminars and more, a digital product-based business can be attractive for many reasons. Once you create your product, it can live out in the marketplace for years—accruing more sales and boosting your bottom line without the need for major updates if you find the right niche and figure out the best marketing strategies for reaching your audience.

4. Blogging

Choosing to start a blog and build your authority within your interest area can easily be one of the best investments in your future as an entrepreneur, even if it's not your primary business model right away. Begin by writing about topics you have a passion for, start sharing with others in your community that have the same interests and spread out from there. Decide how you're going to monetize the traffic coming to your blog, dial in your promotion tactics and you'll be on the fast track to increasing your income with each visitor to your site—especially if you begin offering digital products to your new audience.

5. Podcasting

Podcasting can be a great way to make money once you build your listenership into the thousands per episode. Get started by recording a few episodes talking about different issues and challenges you've found within your interest area, capture some interviews with other experts in your field and begin promoting the first few episodes to other people you know that share your interest. Then you'll be ready to approach sponsors and start selling advertising space on your podcast.

What Comes Next?

Diving into the world of entrepreneurship requires taking a lot of action every single day. Get out there and start connecting with people who share your interests and challenges.

Then, learn how to solve their problems, determine how to best reach a wider audience with the same struggles and start spreading out to help more and more people as you grow.

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