Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Started My Own Small Business ... and You Can Do It Too!

by A.L. Woods, Staff Writer

Even though we're told that the economy is on the upswing, many are finding that the jobs available to them aren't enough to meet the needs of their household. On taking these types of jobs, they join the ranks of the underemployed. If you are one of the folks who fall in this category, I want to tell you that there's another way to handle this challenge. I started my own small business, and you can do it too.

As the dynamics of my chosen career for the past 25 years or so continued to deteriorate, I finally became one of its casualties. I was laid off with no warning. And even though I held two degrees, one of them a graduate degree, I couldn't find any jobs that would provide a significant income for a 50+-year-old educated woman. So I decided if I couldn't find a job that would fill the need that I would create one.

I decided that I would partner with my husband, a graphic designer, to open a specialty greeting card shop. He would design the pictures, and I would write the words. It was a perfect pairing of skills.

These are the steps that I followed to get the shop going. If you duplicate my efforts it's possible that you can be up and running in the next two weeks with your own business.

  1. I found a location for the shop in a small strip mall that had a monthly rent that we could afford.
  2. I obtained a business license from the county that we would be operating in and applied for a tax ID number.
  3. I made a list of office equipment and supplies that we would need and purchased them.
  4. I worked along with my husband to decorate the shop and move in all of our equipment and supplies.
  5. We opened for business.
  6. We did small promotions to let everyone know that we were open, i.e., passing out and mailing flyers, passing out business cards, sending out email blasts, and asking friends and relatives to spread the word.
  7. We do our best to service our customers with excellence and quality, and in this way we encourage repeat and referral business.

So, you see, it doesn't have to be brain surgery. It really can be this simple. Don't allow the job market to determine whether or not you can make a decent living for your household. If the market doesn't offer opportunities that are in line with your goals, get out there and create an opportunity for yourself!

*Photo: via Flickr

[Originally published on Yahoo! Voices on 06/06/2014 (no longer published there).]