Starting a business is time consuming, complex and oftentimes risky. The brave entrepreneurs who build a business from the ground up face many challenges — and not everyone is cut out for it. But there are less-traveled paths to business ownership that can feel much less intimidating.
If you crave the freedom to be your own boss, but lack the resources to take that leap, consider these approaches to becoming a business owner.
Turn your passion into profit
Ask yourself: What am I good at? Many successful small business owners started a business by turning their hard-to-find talents into thriving businesses. Your hobbies and interests could become your full-time job.
Do you make things?
The explosion of e-commerce empowers creative people of all kinds to sell their wares online. Platforms such as Etsy, Shopify and Amazon connect makers to customers around the world, with minimal upfront effort. There’s a market for seemingly every product. From apparel and jewelry, to homemade honey, to lawn games and bird feeders, and beyond — if you’re good at making things, you’re a few clicks away from cashing in.
Do you make things happen?
Never underestimate the value of your skills. If you thrive on the challenge of achieving a goal or completing a project, imagine how your talents could help others. Are you great at planning vacations? Get certified as a travel agent. Are you addicted to fitness? Explore how to become a personal trainer. Are you a party-planning powerhouse? Launch an event-planning service. The possibilities are endless.
Buy an existing business
As baby boomer business owners enter retirement in the next decade, they will pass on $10 trillion in assets. This means that many established small businesses will be changing ownership.
Buying an existing business has numerous benefits:
- Get access to a built-in customer base
- Work with a product or service that has proven value in the community
- Learn from the last owner’s triumphs and mistakes
- Bring renewed energy to an older idea
If you decide to purchase a business from a retiring owner, do so selectively. Make sure the business is healthy, that you’re familiar with the offerings and that you can believe in the mission.
Become an independent contractor
If you are a highly experienced professional in an in-demand field, consider going freelance. As a freelance worker or independent contractor, you get the freedom to work for a variety of companies, on your terms.
Some common freelance positions include:
- Project manager
- Writer, designer or photographer
- Web developer
- Delivery truck driver
- Occupational therapist
- And many more
Be aware that taking your job into freelance mode presents several risks. Before you quit your full-time job, save enough money to cover your personal expenses and startup costs as you begin gaining clients. And don’t forget to replace the perks provided by your employer such as health insurance, retirement savings and paid time off.
There’s no right or wrong way to become and entrepreneur. But if you can leverage your talents and navigate the risks, becoming your own boss can be a rewarding outcome.