How many times have you looked out of your office window, if you even have a window, and thought, “I would be so much happier if I could have my own business, doing what I love?”
Often it is the monetary challenges that hold us back from pursuing our career ideals. You want to follow your passion but those pesky bills still need to be paid. While you may not be able to up and quit your current job immediately, you can start the wheels turning in order to roll towards your dream.
Many entrepreneurs have started their businesses slowly, often on a part-time basis, while continuing to work a full or part-time job. Take Nancy Stingone, owner of Unique Designs in Yorktown Heights, for instance. Nancy has had her hands in the finger paint all her life. Creative by nature, Nancy has done everything from designing and making jewelry, T-shirts and floral arrangements to knitting, crocheting and, the focus that became her business, gift basket design.
The gift baskets started off as a fun way for Nancy to make one-of-a-kind presents for family and friends. The delighted recipients encouraged her to go into business. While her family was young, she held various part-time steady jobs and operated Unique Designs on a part-time basis.
About two years ago Nancy noticed that, despite the downturn in the economy, her business was increasing. She decided to kick-up her efforts so that she could follow her passion full time. She has not spent any money on advertising in the past few years. Her business is growing rapidly through her use of social media. She uses her website, facebook and LinkedIn as her storefront.
Each time she posts a picture of her latest creation she gets positive feedback and, more importantly, new business. In addition to social media, Nancy belongs to several networking groups and local organizations that have led to referrals of small businesses.
Similarly, Mike Lipowski, owner of Pure Physique in Shrub Oak, NY, has grown his business from providing personal training, as an independent contractor, to being the proprietor of his own facility. Mike graduate from college with a degree in physical education and absolutely no interest in becoming a gym teacher. He did know, however, that he wanted to pursue something in weight training. He started out working in facilities that provided one-on-one training.
Mike developed his personal training philosophy working at various fitness centers in Manhattan and reading many different books about weight training. The thought of having his own facility he could manage with his approach to training began to formulate. Although he was confident in his training abilities; he realized that he did not have the business acumen required to start his own business in the manner he wanted. Mike decided to work for another facility in Manhattan.
This time he focused on honing in on how the business was run. In addition, he inhaled as many business books as he could. The club soon offered him a management position but Lipowski knew it was time for him to branch out on his own.
He relocated to Westchester where he spent a few years building his client base. During this period he also penned his first book, “Pure Physique: How to Maximize Fat-Loss and Muscular Development.” In 2007 Mike opened the doors to Pure Physique. He currently employees four people at his facility and is looking to open up additional sites.
Even though he works more than 60 hours per week, Mike enjoys his work and is proud that he has created a business he loves. Mike advises, “If you really want to build a business around your dream, recognize that it is going to be a struggle. There will be ebb and flow, do not get discouraged. Remember, your business must constantly evolve, if it does not it will not last.”
How should you get started? Talk to people who have done it. Learn from their successes and mistakes. Research, network and persevere. Dreams should not just occur when you are asleep, wake up at make it happen!