This Independence Day, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel had a look at what it takes to be your own boss.
Fortitude. Stamina. A gut built of Titanium and nerves extruded from Kevlar.
Those will help. Even prospective teleworkers can use some gut-check efforts when strategizing their departure from the traditional office.
What also will help is writer Cindy Kent’s article on the key ingredients to successful workplace independence.
Enjoy the nation’s Independence Day. And make it your own Independent’s Day.
Thinking about declaring your independence from the corporate grind this Independence Day? Preferring to be your own boss? Maybe you’ve been laid off — or fear you may soon be — and are contemplating a small-business startup.
It’s a tempting proposition — and the foundation of the American dream.
But before you proclaim your entrepreneurial independence, experts advise taking a reality check. Could you handle being the creative department and the CEO? Where do you begin?
In the spirit of ’76, some South Florida entrepreneurs who’ve gone down that path share their key experiences, considerations and resources.
Be the brand
Hope Bruens was more than ready to achieve her goal: to work for herself. But she also acknowledged she avoided leaving the comfort of big business for the past 20 years, because she feared the unknown. She was most recently marketing director for a restaurant group. She shared her goals and dreams with her employer. The dialogue was empowering. She learned a lot about herself including that she was the asset. Two months ago she launched Boca Raton-based b. marketing LLC. “By the time I left, I already had a client — my former employer,” said Bruens.
Bruens incorporated with the Florida Division of Corporations at Sunbiz.org or 850-245-6052. Bruens is becoming more comfortable in projecting herself as the business. People can gain confidence and skill in communicating through Toastmasters International chapters at Toastmasters.org or 949-858-8255.
For Allen Baumgarten, starting his own business was driven by a desire to focus on his craft as a shoemaker. Working for someone else the past 17 years limited his contact with customers. His creations come from working closely with the client, including detailed molding and fitting sessions. So he and his wife, Leta Lynch, opened AL Custom Shoe Service in Fort Lauderdale in 2008.
“All I do is make shoes,” Baumgarten said. He hired an accountant and lawyer to set up his business. He developed his skills as an apprentice as a teenager. Trade associations, like The Shoe Service Institute of America keep him informed and engaged in his industry. He provided his own financing. But entrepreneurs who need financing can start with the Small Business Administration at Sba.gov or 800-827-5722.
Chrisanne Sternal knew she would have to expand her professional network when she decided to leave her corporate marketing job and strike out on her own. She, and her husband, John, founded Understandingmarketing.com in Plantation 14 months ago. Theirs wasn’t just a business plan, it was an action plan. Creatingadownloadable “PR Toolkit” for her clients using social media and embracing a do-it-yourself philosophy became the nucleus of their operations and their services. A second income enabled Sternal time to learn technical skills.
Face-to-face networking. On the Internet, social media applications and venues thread people together because of common interests, goals, needs. Some examples: Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
In the past, Steve Zorovich worked for himself: he had a retail shop but he didn’t miss the worry of property, inventory or employees. He recently worked for a national furniture retailer, and what he did miss was the flexibility of being his own boss. The idea of owning a mobile franchise caught his attention. The branding and operating template would be in place. Materials would be provided. Investment was relatively minimal.
Savings. Test the waters: Zorovich owned his franchise for more than a year before he left his day job. Check out the International Franchising Association at franchise.org or 202-628-8000.
Find your purpose
Barry Murray’s plan to broaden his horizons would mean leaving his six-figure-a-year salary as Truly Nolen’s “Bug Guy,” to step out on his own. “At my level and in my industry, vertical movement is limited,” said Murray. He started The Murray Group in Plantation in April. He retained his former employer as one of his clients. Murray’s advertising and marketing firm represents businesses that perform a variety of home services. In addition to full creative production, the firm also provides lead generation and tracking services for measurable results.
SCORE to obtain operations know-how. “You might have an entrepreneurial side,” said Murray. “But you have to be well-rounded.” Go to SCORE at score.org or 800-634-0245.