Wanting to start your own business is a worthy and compelling goal. Knowing that you want to start a business and actually doing it, however, are very different things. As anyone who has braved this path can tell you, figuring out how to work on the business and in the business at the same time can be a tricky endeavor. There are many paths to entrepreneurship and not all require great levels of risk-taking and start-up capital. In fact, getting started is easier than you think!
Is entrepreneurship one of your goals next year? Here are four ways to get started on the entrepreneurial path.
So you work in a corporate job that you essentially enjoy and have started to do some work on the side, or maybe you dislike your job but see it as a means to an end. You are not alone. Recently it’s been reported that over 50% of millennials and nearly 25% of baby boomers have a side hustle. In fact, over half of the individuals with a side hustle hope it will eventually turn into a day job.
Side hustling is great if you want to make extra money, develop more experience in a skill you already have, or simply feed your entrepreneurial drive. Not only are there are plenty of resources to find short-term projects that allow you to keep your day job, many times side projects can turn into something bigger. Side hustling is great if you want to work on things you enjoy more than your main form of work, solve new problems and embrace new challenges.
A great way to step out on your own without having the need to constantly hustle for new business is contracting. Contracting is perfect if you want to choose the projects you want to work on, and in many cases the companies you want to work with, all while having some level of flexibility in terms of schedule and location.
Finding contracting roles is relatively easy if you are connected to the right platforms or recruiting teams. Having a 3, 6, 9 or 12 month contract enables you to work on projects you choose and then move to something different. Say you want to develop your expertise in an aspect of front-end web development and then shift into another language for a completely different industry? No problem.
With contracting you have flexibility and may even have multiple contracts of varying hours happening in parallel. Since entrepreneurship means you get to choose how and where to spend your time contributing, make sure you choose well and set yourself up for success.
As with contracting, consultants are typically hired for supplemental staffing needs or specific expertise whether based on skill set or industry experience. One of the greatest aspects of consulting is that if you truly are an expert in your field, you get to operate at the highest levels for your clients.
Take a product manager who rose to the ranks of VP in her corporate position and then went out on her own consulting. She understands how to do the day-to-day level product management, has been involved in product strategy and product marketing, and also brings management of teams and leadership skills to the table. When she is hired as a consultant to an organization, her ability to work across her skill set is magnified.
Consultants typically need management and project management skills to be successful and learning how to magnify opportunities by having the right team matters. Solid contacts and enough work experience to create referral relationships is going to be key, and partnerships with other practitioners is recommended.
The concept of intrapreneurship is relatively new. An intrapreneur is someone within a company that takes risks in an effort to solve a given problem, often disrupting ideas that the company status quo believes. Many companies today are creating innovation teams where this type of working is needed and supported.
Solving important problems while validating the market and using high degrees of experimentation and leadership skills within a company is needed in today’s marketplace. In fact, never before has there been such a push for employees to take ownership to drive new solutions. Not all employees are cut out for intrapreneurship but those that have an entrepreneurial drive, challenge traditional thinking, constantly look for new ways to solve problems, and get fired up to make positive change are perfect contenders.
Which Do You Choose?
While these are the most common ways you can get started on the entrepreneurial path with very little risk and very little capital, the key is to begin. The reality is that the way we work is changing, and having entrepreneurial skills is becoming more important to better serve business in general. Whichever path you choose, know that you can pivot at any time but staying committed for a period of time once you decide is important. If you build a strong support network and stay flexible you are guaranteed to enjoy the process.
About The Author
Shelley Iocona is a product strategist helping startups and enterprises innovate. Her approach to building great products is based on the belief that ideas should be validated using a lean approach before development begins, and that having the right team is pivotal to a company’s success.
Before founding ON ITS AXIS, Shelley held leadership roles at companies such as Outcast Media (now Verifone Media), Yahoo, Connexity (formerly Shopzilla/Bizrate), DIRECTV, and led product strategy and lean product development for numerous start-ups and incubators.
ON ITS AXIS is a full-service consultancy consisting of technical, business, marketing and product experts with a talent acquisition and staffing arm to help accelerate your biggest opportunities. Get in touch with us to learn more.