(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)
You’re contemplating taking the dive and setting up your own business, or perhaps you have already. It’s no more 9 to 5, you’re setting your own timelines, you are your own performance review. Your days now vary from being highly productive to highly disruptive. If you’re like me, the thought of doing anything non-work related between 9 to 5 makes you anxious, yet you then end up working all day and throughout the weekend. I’ve come to realize that not only is this ridiculous, it’s also unsustainable!
So what’s the key to settling into the lifestyle of an entrepreneur? Here are some tips I’ve used to help me.
1. Create a project plan
To get somewhere, you have to know where you are going. Your mind is probably running a mile a minute, and you have to lay out a plan to make sure how, and when, you can make those dreams possible.
As a business owner, you should be pretty clear as to what you are going to offer and to whom. You must be very clear on your vision, especially in year one, as to what the product offering is, and an in-depth insight into who your ideal customers are. What do you need to accomplish to get there? Laying out a 12 month, top-level plan will help you see what your year looks like (is it realistic?), the lead time needed for projects, and will allow you to figure out what your priorities are i.e.,. when you need to start planning trips, conferences, vacations, etc. Being clear on your vision and why you’re taking this leap will be the light at the end of the tunnel when days are a bit dark.