“An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.”
– Reid Hoffman
There’s a certain level of attraction of being your own boss, writing your own checks, and enjoying the freedom and flexibility the entrepreneurial lifestyle brings.
There’s a very big “but” though…
…It’s not for everyone!
Despite those who make the entrepreneurial lifestyle look “easy,” it can be a very grueling and unforgiving process.
To ensure you are equipped before you take the entrepreneurial leap, here are seven experts who share some pearls of wisdom before you take the leap.
Certified Master Chef & 2-Time Chef-Owner
Above all, you have to believe in yourself. That’s such an important part. In my career, I always believed in myself.
You have to get along with people and know how to get people to believe in you.
If you’re the type who doesn’t do good with people, you won’t find anyone to follow you – at least not for long. Understanding people and getting along with them will help you in your entrepreneurial pursuits.
CEO of Prestige Food Trucks
Definitely have some money in the bank to fall back on and work as hard as you can. If it’s an hourly job, work overtime, do whatever you need to do.
Get six months of your expenses in your bank account because it’s going to be really difficult to be an entrepreneur if you don’t even know how you’re going to pay your rent, pay your light bill, etc.
If you’re going to quit your nine-to-five to start a business, you have to fully believe this business is going to be a success. Don’t just quit to start a business. Quit with a plan: knowing what business you’re going to start, knowing how you’re going to get new clients, knowing the type of money you’re going to be making after year one, after year two, and so on and so forth.
Chef Author, Speaker, Trainer & Coach
I think it is important for people to identify their weaknesses and hire someone to support that area of growth until you have it solid.
Example: Most culinary people are creative, and we want them to be. Without that creativity the food industry would be grey, tasteless and boring. However, to run a successful business of any-kind, one must also concentrate on working on the business and not just working in the business.
Designing a start-up, and keeping it sustained is not so creative. It is cut and dry business formula containing many departments going to work for the greater good — which all fall under the umbrella of Small Business Management.
This can include departments such as design and construction, finical fees, negotiation of loans, fees to city planner’s department, insurance, legal, marketing, advertising, bookkeeping, design and study of your demographics, financials to included profit and loss statements, managing labor, relationship management, examining cost of goods sold etc. And depending on your first few years, redesign of goals and exit plans are all things to think about. Then, there are taxes.
Certainly many line items we are not necessarily prepared to handle when we are so immersed in the creative side of our brains. These are all things that need to be mastered just as good, if not better than our knife skills.
Founder & Executive Director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association
Do your homework. Make sure that you’re prepared, research what your idea is, research it in depth.
- Is it a valid need?
- What need does it fill?
- Who needs it?
- How many people need it?
- Where are they?
- Who are they?
Make sure that you’ve done your homework before you throw yourself off that cliff, because if you throw yourself off the cliff you can’t exactly knit yourself a parachute on the way down.
Make sure that your thoughts are completely clear and that you’re prepared to be responsible for your decisions.
Chef Consultant, Educator & Restaurateur
Have three times the money socked away that you think you will need. Capital is the downfall for most if not all good, failed businesses.
Award-Winning Chef Author & Culinary Nutritionist
You absolutely have to be a go-getter and self-starter. I always prided myself to be a man of action and a “get things done” kind of guy. That is what is needed when you start your own business. Even more, than when you are a chef because the buck stops with you. There is no one to do it for you. You’re the boss. Anything goes wrong, you have to find a solution.
When I started my own bakery & cafe, I could do it all, from washing dishes to wedding cakes to bookkeeping, payroll, tax reports and all that needs to be done to run a business, especially when all you have are your own savings. I never believed in OPM – other people money. My business, my money. I did not want anyone else to control my business and tell me how to run it. We did well, but it was exhausting. I am glad I got out of it and only work for myself now. No more “running a business” headaches for me.
Go with your instincts and listen somewhat to you parents, it worked for me.
Get a great basic education and spend quality time with quality people who know more than you because it’s contagious.
Leave your comfort zone before you graduate and develop a plan of continuous education.
Move to foreign countries, learn languages and the most important of them all, learn critical thinking.
Remember, the real successful people do not expect handouts, only a way out to become unique and exceptional.
And one final word of caution, there is no entitlement given, you have to earn it.