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7 things you will have to give up to become an entrepreneur

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Geico Made of Money

You’re not made of money, so don’t act like it. Especially if you want to start a business.

Unless you’re made of money, or are related to somebody made of money there is a lot you are going to have to give up to make your dream a reality. This is why most people with an idea never step out and pursue it. It’s not comfortable, it doesn’t make sense, and everybody is going to tell you that you are crazy. Society has this ridiculous idea that everybody who owns a business is somehow rich; well that simply isn’t the case. It can take years for a business to become profitable.

The multi million-dollar company, Duck Commander, was only making about $35K annually a few years into operation. Many businesses even operate at a loss for years, tech companies are known for burning investor capital faster than the latest meme goes viral. But, not every startup wants an investor, and most companies probably don’t need them.

In order to pursue your dream though, it’s going to take tightening down the purse strings on your personal budget for some time. This might be so that you can live on your spouse’s income, or for you to save your own money so that you have money in savings to live for a period of time without getting paid. So, here are a list of things you are going to have to give up to make your dream a reality.

  1. NetFlix, sorry, this is a frivolously and unnecessary expense. Besides, you are not going to have as much time to watch television or movies now that you are working on building a business. You know what else has to go? Cable television if you have it, and any other entertainment related subscription service. All are unnecessary weight holding you back from getting your business off the ground.
  2. Gym Memberships, lets face it. You can do the same thing you do at the gym from home. CrossFit exercise is all the rage these days with most exercises involving own body weight. Running doesn’t required a treadmill either, in fact running outdoors is better for you anyway, and far more enjoyable.
  3. Cigarettes and Beer, ok, I don’t actually smoke cigarettes, I just wanted to grab your attention. Items that used to be a mainstay on your grocery list are going to have to be cut out. Basically you are going to have to live on rice and beans! Maybe not literally, but you are going to have to find as many ways as possible to trim down. When I started Bearded Brothers I went from a $600 a month grocery budget (for myself alone) to only spending $400 a month for my wife and I.
  4. Travel, traveling is going to be out of the question for a while. No matter how hard we tried to fit a travel budget in to see our families it just wasn’t happening. The only way we were able to travel and see family is if we managed to use our allotted monthly gas money and grocery money. Sure, your family and friends might be bummed, but remember it’s only temporary.
  5. Eating out and concerts, this one was really hard for my wife and I. There were many days that we would come home after working and just want to chill out, not make dinner and go grab something to-go. But we had to say no, we also frequently had to say no to friends that invited us out to lunch, dinner, and concerts. Money budgeted for entertainment should be minimal!
  6. Giving gifts, this was somewhat embarrassing, but one Christmas we literally made all of the gifts we gave our family and friends. The dad’s got a BBQ sauce we made for them, and I think the moms got homemade bath products. Since we were already living off a small income we had zero dollars saved to buy Christmas presents. If you are used to buying all your friends birthday presents and gracing people with gifts at Christmastime you are going to have to put that on pause for a while, are at the very least cut back.
  7. All those expensive hobbies, ok you aren’t really going to have to give up those hobbies, but let’s face it, they can be expensive. If you are into running then you might not to be able to enter any more races. If you are a rock climber like myself, you can forget buying that shiny new set of cams. New running shorts are also out of the question, and you just might have to keep running past 500 miles in those shoes. But don’t let the lack of funds keep you from getting creative. If you run a business that sells a product reach out to smaller companies and embrace the barter system. This is how I’ve gotten new shoes for the past 3 years. Also, if you enjoy running races consider volunteering at the race in exchange for an entry to also run.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. But it gives you a bit of an idea of the amount of sacrifice I went through to start Bearded Brothers, and the sacrifice many other entrepreneurs go through every year to start their businesses.  If anything, the lack of money shouldn’t keep you from starting the business. It only serves as motivation to become a sustainable business fast, and remain profitable from day one!

Trail Runner Magazine article, and inspiring others

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Trail Runner MagazineAs a small business owner, I hope my story inspires others to start their own business as well, or at the very least take a leap of faith and pursue doing something they love. It was people I viewed as mentors and other people’s success stories that inspired me to start Bearded Brothers.

I spent eight years in two different jobs that I hated. Not everything about the jobs as awful, but I never liked going into work. There was never a day where I woke up and said, “I’m excited about work today.”

Now, almost every day I wake up excited to go to work. Sure there are days that work is hard and you would rather be doing something else, but for the most part I look forward to Monday’s… and a small part of me is sad when my work week comes to an end.

As Bearded Brothers grows I hope my story will inspire others to great heights. I was recently interviewed by Trail Runner Magazine for a section called  ‘Entrepreneurial Endeavors: Lessons from those who had dreams and “ran” with them

The article talks a bit about how Bearded Brothers got its start, my training schedule as a runner, how I got into trail runner, and how rock climbing ultimately made me a runner.

Also I wanted to take a moment to point people to a few resources. I know there are a lot of people out there that are restless in their current job. Some of you flat out hate your job. Some of you might even think that, is just life and these were the cards I was dealt. Well, I’m here to tell you that is false. There is no reason you can’t have a job you truly love. Below are a few resources that helped me see my full potential, and inspired me to start my own business:

Dan Miller – 48 Days to the Work You Love
Dan Miller – No More Dreaded Mondays
Dan Miller 48 Days Podcast
Kent Julian Career Coaching (one of the smartest things I ever did)

Recent inspirational reads:
Dave Ramsey: Entreleadership
Entreleadership Podcast
Jim Collins: Good to Great
Jon Acuff: Start


15 Reasons to start your business TODAY

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1. Job security is a falsehood

Lets get something straight; there is now such thing as job security? I worked a government job for six years and saw plenty of lay offs during that time. My dad worked for a company for 25 years only to see his retirement (invested in stock) disappear when the company came to a near halt. He just happened to be the only one in the plant to keep his job. He was transferred to a new plant in Mexico, and three years later the company was bought up. He didn’t stick around to see what happened. It just goes to show; job security really does not exist. It doesn’t matter how secure you think your job is, it can disappear in the blink of an eye.

2. There is never a perfect time

For years I worked a traditional 9 to 5 job, hating every minute of it. I kept waiting for the perfect time to break into the world of freelance, but the truth is, that time was never going to come. Like many people, I was waiting for the stars and moon to align at some magical moment where it was crystal clear; this is the moment to start your business. Well, give it up, that moment is never going to occur. You will always sit around waiting for it, so get up and do something! Now is the time to launch your business.

3. Raising Capital has never been easier

With websites like Kickstarter and other crowd funding sites it has never been easier to raise the startup capital needed to launch your new idea. As long as you have a great product, service, or idea you have a good chance at having a successful project, just as long as you invest plenty of time into the project.

4. Starting a business creates jobs, many times over

Okay, it may seem obvious. You start a business, you hire employees, it creates job. But in reality this happens many times over. Once you start a business you are going to in turn boost cash flow for other companies you are purchasing from, thus causing them to grow and hire more staff. And who knows, one of your team members might move on to start another venture and repeat what you have done.

5. You have an idea, and it solves a problem

Chances are you are fully capable of providing a service somebody wants. Or you have solved a problem in an existing industry. You would be doing the world an injustice by not bringing your product or service to market. If your idea has met your own need, chances are it will meet the needs of masses.

6. Independent Freedom

Ahh freedom! Say goodbye to two weeks paid vacation and 12 paid Holidays a year. If you own your own business, you set your own schedule! Granted, this isn’t a cakewalk. You are going to have to hustle, and might even forgo some vacation days in the start. But in the long run you control your own schedule, and life becomes more flexible. Want to live in Colorado for the summer? Need your mornings free to train for a triathlon? Well, you’re the boss, do what you want!

7. Empower others

By starting your own business you are going to inspire others to do the same. Others will also ask you for help when they are starting their business. It’s a wonderful opportunity for you to develop your leadership skills and help the economy grow through the power of influence.

8. Create your own destiny

No longer do you have to slave away for “the man” and hope you get a promotion and a raise. If you run your own business you control how much you make. Keep in mind, you might not make as much as you would like to start, but who ever said starting a business was easy and wouldn’t require some sacrifice?

9. It becomes a platform to promote your personal convictions

I’m a huge advocate for sustainability and organic farming. These values can be seen in my business. Likewise your business can become a megaphone for whatever cause you truly believe in. There has been an increase in the number of companies that are tied in to a social cause. That isn’t for everybody, but owning your own business helps you reach more people with whatever message you want to proclaim.

10. Everybody else is afraid

Lets face it, many people are afraid to start their own business. Don’t be that person. Jump on in – the water is fine! And while everybody else is still dipping their toes in the water you are swimming ahead, leaving the would-be competition in your wake (if there is even a wake left by the time they catch up).

11. You will never work harder, and be more successful

Hate your current job? Well you can kiss a promotion goodbye. Chances are if you are stuck in a job you hate you will never succeed. I speak from experience (8 years of it). But once you find something you are truly passionate about, you will work harder than you ever have, and that hard work, persistence and dedication will equate to success. Hard work, boring work, and monotonous work will no longer be drudgery when it is focused on building something you care about with all your being.

12. People love a good story

Take Sweat Leaf Tea for example. Although owned by Coca-Cola now, they have a story to tell. They started out making tea in a garage with pillowcases. Similarly Clif bar started out of a disdain for the only other energy bar available at the time. It was started in the founders’ mother’s kitchen. People latch onto stories and want to support it because it’s human. Perhaps we all have a bit of entrepreneur in us just waiting to come out.

13. You are only getting older

This ties back into, “there is never a perfect time.” Stop saying, I will start my business when I’m ___ years old or have ___ years of experience. Start now! Experience doesn’t matter…..

14. Experience doesn’t matter

Yeah, I said it twice, and I will say it again, “Experience doesn’t matter”. When I launched Bearded Brothers, neither Chris or I knew jack about food manufacturing, distributors, gross profit margin, or what was even required by the FDA and local health department, but we didn’t let that stop us. We learned what we needed to do to launch, and continued to learn as we went along. We are still learning today. Don’t use lack of experience as an excuse; if you care enough you will learn what has to be done.

15. You want to do this

If you have read this far chances are you really want to start your own business, or already have. So, do what you want to do. Life is short, and if running your own business is your true hearts desire, then go for it. The worst thing that can happen is you fail! And if you do, it’s not the end of the world, just pick yourself back up and start something else.

Don’t waste your time with a business plan

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No Business Plan

Say no to business plans!

Are you in the process of starting a business or thinking about it? One of my best pieces of advice to you is don’t waste your time on a business plan.

This defies common logic, but after all, a business plan is just a giant guess. The financials are a guess, the projections are a guess, the rate of growth is a guess, and it rarely ever pans out how you plan it.

When I started Bearded Brothers I projected I would start paying myself within 6 months, that never happened. It took two years before I was able to take a salary. The rate of stores I thought we would acquire per month was also far fetched.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to just jump right out there and start a business without doing any research or knowing anything about the market. I’m simply saying book sized business plans are a frivolous endeavor. Most people that write their plan simply write it and never return to it.

Your time is better spent refining your brand, perfecting your product and actual action steps to make your business go live. Time wasted scribbling down your guess work is only going to delay your launch and slow you down.

I do believe there are a hand full of key things you should be aware of before you launch.

Profit Margin
Do some basic industry research to make sure you are selling your product for enough money to keep the doors of your business open. Also, don’t confuse markup with Gross Profit Margin. I made this mistake early on. Markup is rarely used. Gross Profit Margin will let you know how much money you have left to operate your business (for every dollar you make) after you pay for materials and production.

Overall Industry
Make sure you have a basic knowledge of the overall industry. How big is the market? Will you even be able to become a key player?

Make sure you have an excellent product. Does your product address a need that isn’t currently met by the market? If so, you stand a much greater chance of success. Branding is also key to having a successful product or service. If you have an awesome product growth will come organically.

Many people will tell you it’s going to take you twice as long to get your business started as you think. I would say, “double that”. And, do the same to the amount of time you think it’s going to take you to get paid. You need time to launch a product or service, so make sure you are ready to live lean until the time comes you can actually pay yourself.

No business is complete without at least having a mission, a vision, and a set of goals to work towards. Without these you have no purpose. Technically these are part of a business plan, but you don’t need to spend endless hours slaving over the. Keep them simple, but keep them real.