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With unemployment rates rising, starting your own business isn’t a bad idea. However, when you’re an inexperienced college graduate, it could be a catastrophe both for your finances (hello, student debt) and your morale. But is this enough reason for young business woman to let go of her entrepreneurial dreams and apply for the first available junior position? Definitely not. You should explore your options, make a plan, and conquer the entrepreneurial life. Just take baby steps and read your way to the top.
Craft the Business Plan
Never start a business without a clear goal in mind. Assess your know-how, any experience you have, and most importantly your interests and passions. Keep in mind that the first year will probably mean a lot more work than if you would be in a junior role in a corporation.
To get a good starting point you could review the business model canvas, which is a simple way of organizing your ideas. Keep in mind that this is only a preliminary stage, and you’ll need to put a lot more details into the final document, including numbers.
Don’t underestimate the power of partnerships and networking in your endeavor. Enlist the help of any organizations you’re part of — sororities, alumni, or local start-up incubators.
Get the Money
Once you know what you want to do and how you expect to do it, you’ll need some finances to get you started. Depending on the nature of your business idea, you could start with some savings. It’s likely that you’ll need at least a couple of thousand dollars. Most people take out a personal loan to start a business or borrow from friends and family.
Having a limited credit history could prevent you from getting a personal loan from most reputable lenders. However, a few innovative financial companies, like the one listed in this AAA Credit Guide have created special products for clients with limited credit histories. Their scoring methods take into consideration education, possible future earnings, and financial responsibility, like paying your rent diligently.
If you take out a loan, the monthly rate should be listed in your business plan as a fixed cost. Also, if your interest rate is variable, put the worst-case scenario in your budget. If the worst never happens, you’ll have extra money for advertising or other expenses.
Leverage the Power of Online
The great news for this generation of entrepreneurs is that the entry barriers are so low you just need to get organized to do it. The Internet and globalization offer you a vast amount of choices just a few clicks away. You just need to think about the strategy of putting it all together to make it work for you.
Even if you’re not tech savvy, learn about the tools you can use. Some of these are great to manage your business, promote it using social media, or keep track of expenses and sales. Some young entrepreneurs even choose to create their businesses entirely online and become digital nomads, living around the world while earning a living from a laptop.
Find a Mentor
You can make up for your lack of experience by learning from others. Finding a mentor and having regular growth meetings is a common practice even among successful leaders since a new perspective can lead to innovation. A new entrepreneur needs to find strong mentors who can help both with business and personal development.
Most new women entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed, not taken seriously, or disrespected. Having someone to look up to and who is willing to share great advice can help you overcome these struggles in a matter of minutes instead of days or months. Keep your energy for what matters.