Entrepreneurship 101

By: Melissa P. Bernier, Esq.

Many people dream of owning their own business and being their own boss.  I turned that dream into reality several years ago when I started my own law practice.  Whether you are dreaming about it or are actively taking steps to make it a reality, here are some pearls of wisdom I’ve gained along my entrepreneurial journey that would be useful to you.

  1. Adjust your mindset. Entrepreneurs spend several years living like most people won’t so that they can spend the rest of their lives living how most people dream. If you’ve been working as an employee most of your life, you are going to have to adjust your mindset and start thinking like a business owner.  That means you have to start taking control, being decisive, learning how to take and manage risks, and be willing to be uncomfortable.


  1. Find your passion/purpose. Truth be told, you should do something that you absolutely LOVE. Better yet, you should love it so much that you would be willing to do it for FREE.  Life is short, so why not spend it doing something that you love to do.  I’m a firm believer that you should never chase money – for the simple fact that if you are always chasing it, you will never catch it.  But, when you do something that you are passionate about, the money will come.  Trust me.


  1. Plan, Plan, Plan. The next, and most important, step is planning. You need to create a BUSINESS PLAN to serve as the blueprint to your business.  How much will it cost the get your business up and running?  How will you pay your current bills?  Will you be flying solo, have a partner or work with a group?  Will you need outside capital to get going?  These are all necessary questions that need to be answered before you open your doors.


  1. Assemble Your Dream Team. Teamwork makes the dream work. Your starting lineup should always include: an ACCOUNTANT, a LAWYER, and a FINANCIAL ADVISOR.  Early on in my career a mentor told me that you should always outsource anything that someone else can do better and faster.  That way, you have the time to focus on what you do best.  Additionally, you definitely want to start out on the right foot.  Starting a business is serious business – you want to make sure that you are compliant with all applicable laws and that your books are in order.


  1. Network. Your network determines your net worth.  No man is an island, and if you are, you probably won’t get much business.  Networking is a fun and effective way of getting your name out there and letting the world know what you do.  Use networking to build meaningful relationships with people that you may do business with now or in the future.  Remember my golden rule of networking – the best way to achieve your dreams is to help others achieve theirs.


  1. Enjoy the ride. Entrepreneurship is a journey.  There will be ups and downs, twists and turns, joys and disappointments.  Enjoy every minute of it.

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