What You Need To Know Before Starting A Business

I had a stable career and a decent salary three years ago. I was in my early 30's and miserable so I decided to walk away and start over. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but I knew life was too short to be unhappy. My life was about to drastically change and I needed to know that I was okay with it all before I took the plunge. Here are the things you need to think about before you start your entrepreneurial journey.

Dating

I was single when I made my decision to start this journey (as I remain). I had to be sure I was okay with not finding love for some time, before I made the jump. Frankly, no one wants to build with a partner who isn't stable -- harsh but true. No person wants to hear as an opener, "Hi I'm Bob and I have no clue whether or not I'll have any cash flow for the next two weeks. Wanna go out?" Sure, you can go on dates here and there (the weeks when cash isn't as tight) but it gets hard to sustain that over time, if your business doesn't take off quickly for you. If you're already partnered and you have someone willing to take the entrepreneurship ride with you, great! But there are many men and women who aren't happy to give up a stable life to roll the dice. You just need to know that.

Friendships

Your friends are everything -- true friends, that is. When I started my journey I began to notice there were people around me who would "joke" a lot about my ambitions. Over time, I noticed that these were not truly jokes but in fact, they were mean-spirited attacks meant to tear me down. Frankly, I had enough doubts all my own and didn't need any more negative energy. I separated myself from those people. My real friends are great but truthfully, I'm not always eager to share with them all of the unpleasant details of my day to day. When times get rough you have to identify those people you feel comfortable sharing your pain with. Be careful, however, that you don't simply surround yourself with other people on the struggle bus because you need individuals who inspire you to achieve more.

Mental Health

Are you mentally sound and stable? Entrepreneurship will challenge you in a myriad of ways that you can't easily predict. If you are in the process of healing mentally, maybe you should hold off, just a bit. In my former life people respected my degrees and title. I've often taken odd-jobs to make ends meet while I'm building my business and it's different. When you're delivering pizzas, people tend to treat you differently than when you're lobbying on some important legislation. The disrespect people have casually directed my way, at times, is a challenge. The strain of balancing the business, paying the bills and trying to keep it all together can be tough. If you don't have strategies and resources to address mental health, build those into your plan.

Support

Ask any Black entrepreneur and they will tell you that they have struggled to get support, even from the people they thought would be their biggest supporters. It could be the crowdfunding campaign that none of your friends will give to. Don't be surprised if you could use help finding a property and your realtor friend doesn't think to surrender a few minutes to help you out. It's normal and it doesn't mean anyone is bad or evil -- this is your baby and no one will care about it like you will. Plan on not having support more often than having it, in the beginning. Plan on perfect strangers on social media cheering for you a little bit harder than your homies. Plan on taking out a small loan to get that startup funded faster than a crowdfunding campaign will. Again, it's normal.

Credit

Speaking of small loans, you might want to check your credit before you take the plunge -- you'll definitely need it. You could beg people for money over years or take three minutes to get approved for a small line of credit to get you started. There is no wrong answer here, just a matter of how soon you want to get moving. Even with a half decent credit score in the mid 600's, you'd be amazed at how many companies on LendingTree will gladly deposit $5,000 into your account in 24 hours. You'll want to be wise when using credit, obviously, so do your homework. I'm only saying that it's a tool that can be used so you should make sure it's available to you, before you make a move.

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