Entrepreneurship is revered in today’s society. Starting something on your own, not being controlled by a big corporation and having the freedom to chart your own path is what so many of us desire.
Becoming an entrepreneur is exciting, empowering…...and difficult. That said, it’s still possible for people who are willing to take a different approach.
What Percent of Businesses Succeed?
It’s good to start with the numbers to ground yourself in the realities of becoming an entrepreneur. Are you comfortable with continuing forward knowing these odds?
- 50% of businesses survive their fifth year
- 14% of businesses have gross revenues above $500,000
- 9% of small business owners have household incomes above $150,000
The picture often portrayed of entrepreneurs riding in private jets, hanging at fancy parties and driving luxury vehicles is far from the reality.
I am constantly hit with content in social media showing the 1% of entrepreneurs who “made it” talking about how you can do it too. They make it appear so easy. The reality is that it is possible, but VERY difficult to make it to that level. The numbers do not lie.
The Alternative Way to Start Your Business
I have a small business. It has been around for 7 years (beat the odds!), has reached a sales level beyond most small business and I've built it all WHILE I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB!
For the past 7 years I have dedicated most of my time to a demanding full time job in marketing at one of the largest corporations in the world. I have dedicated my nights and weekends to my side business, Sloane.
This balance has given me steady income, stability, the opportunity to learn and the cash flow I need to support the growth of Sloane while I am becoming an entrepreneur.
There are days where I wonder , "WHAT IF?". What if I devoted all my time to Sloane. Where could I take it? How much faster could it grow?
There are other days when I have the same, "WHAT IF?" question. What if I didn’t have the stability of my full time job? Would Sloane have fizzled out because it just needed more time? Would we have made irrational decisions on Sloane out of desperation that would’ve hindered the company? Taking on investment way too early? Trying to grow too quickly?
What Holds People Back
The fear of becoming an entrepreneur is very closely tied to your financial situation. The costs of starting your own business are high. Jumping in without a parachute is what is holding most people back. EY and EIG did a survey of millennials about entrepreneurship and found these very interesting numbers.
- 62 percent of millennials “have considered starting their own business
- 42 percent of millennials cited insufficient financial means as the biggest obstacles to starting a business
- 53 percent of millennials have student loan debt of are expecting to take on student loan debt in the future
- 79 percent of millennials are worried that they will have enough money to retire
No wonder millennials are starting businesses at much lower rates than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers! Millennials are financially strapped and simply don’t have the money to get a business off the ground.
I was in the same boat as these millennials. I developed the idea for Sloane in business school. I graduated from business school with tens of thousands of debt! There was NO WAY I could even consider Sloane without a full time job.
Sharing My Story To Help Others
I want to help this large group of millennials who want to start a business actually do it. I have learned so much (both very good and very bad) over the past 7 years and want to share that in the hopes of inspiring a few people to reach their dreams.
I invested $10K to start Sloane at the beginning. My parents aren't rich and have not backed the company. We have not received any outside equity investment. It has been a labor of love that is possible for many with the right steps.
It has been a long road for myself in becoming an entrepreneur and working hard to make Sloane successful, but one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. With hard work, persistence and some business smarts, many people can get here. I hope that my story will motivate you to start on the path to achieving your dreams!
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