4 Myths About Starting a Side Business
Have you thought of starting a side business, but didn’t follow through? If so, you probably started out excited by the idea, but then got put off as you began to think about it in more detail. It can be overwhelming, especially if you believe one of these 4 myths about starting a side business.
You need a lot of money
Many people believe that you need a lot of money in order to start any type of business, even a side business. So they begin by investigating small business loans, or seeing how much they could borrow on credit cards to get them going. But you don’t need a lot of money to start a side business. In fact, depending on what kind of things you already have on hand and what you plan to do, you may not need any money at all to get started.
That may be hard to believe, but consider this. If you live in the midwest and already have a lawnmower, you could start a lawn mowing business for nothing by walking around the neighborhood and knocking on doors until you get your first few clients. Or if you wanted to tutor students in German, you could get started by passing the word to local high school and college teachers. (Who could then give out your name and phone number for you.)
Of course, you might need some money in order to get going with some types of opportunities — for example, you might need $60 or so for a year’s worth of web hosting if you want to set up a web site — but most side businesses won’t require any type of loan. You can start with just one client, and cash flow the expenses that may come up later.
Many people also believe that starting a side business is complicated. Well, it’s not. In fact, if you’re in the U.S. and you’re ok with being a sole proprietor, you can do so by saying this sentence: “I’m in business.”
And poof, you are.
You don’t have to spend months getting things set up, spend thousands of dollars on lawyer and accounting fees, create a corporation, take a year or more to get your company name approved as a registered trademark, etc. in order to, say, write a few articles a week as a staff writer for someone’s blog.
No, you just have to start doing business. Now it’s certainly a good idea to get professional legal advice, and you’ll want to talk to your local city or town about any requirements they may have so that you don’t accidentally do anything illegal, but that’s not nearly as complicated as you might imagine. It’s two hour’s work, tops.
You need a business plan
Speaking of complicated, you can also skip the myth that says you need a business plan before you can open a business. Sure, it’s good to think things out. But you don’t need a 45 page document that gives a detailed background of your work experience and lays out everything you intend to do in order to open, say, a web design business. And if you discover that you’ve overlooked something, you can probably fix it. There’s no one perfect way to start a business.
You don’t have to pass a test that says you’ve done it the “right” way. If you absolutely want to spend a lot of time on something before you get going, learn how to market and sell. Because that is something you’re probably going to need to know how to do, unless you’ve already got potential clients coming out your ears.
Someone will steal your idea
This myth about starting a side business is really more of a fear. People sometimes get so caught up in making sure that others sign NDAs before they’ll even have a conversation with another person about their idea that they spend a whole lot of time being paralyzed and creating needless delays.
Well, you know what? Ideas may as well be a dime a dozen.
What’s hard is implementing the idea and bringing it to fruition. So spend your time working and getting customers instead of worrying and being secretive. Most people aren’t going to steal your idea anyway, and even if they do, they’ll never do it the way you can.
What do you think? Have you run across any other myths out there around starting a side business? And if you’re thinking of starting a side business but don’t have an idea nailed down yet, check out 101 Ways to Make Extra Money in Your Spare Time.