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4 Websites to Help Quit Your Job and Start a Business

4 Websites to Help Quit Your Job and Start a Business

Are you feeling trapped by a hum-drum job that leaves you unsatisfied and short of cash at the end of each month? Do you love solving problems, being creative, and being a hard-working, dedicated self starter who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty?

If that sounds like you, then it’s likely that starting a new business might be just the thing to inspire you to greater heights and ultimately put you in control of your own destiny. But starting a new business is not all that easy, and often comes with substantial financial risks that can leave you penniless, or even in debt.

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    Luckily, there is plenty of great advice out there to help guide you through those all important first steps. By empowering yourself with the insights, creativity and knowledge provided by our top 5 list of sites for entrepreneurs, you’ll be able to:

    1. Reduce the amount of time it takes to find and validate a fantastic idea
    2. Research and build a top class business plan
    3. Build a cutting edge, responsive website
    4. Promote and market your business like a pro
    5. Know which software, tools & services are available to increase productivity and cut costs
    6. Understand tax, financial, legal and industry rules and regulations
    7. Work efficiently with your money

    Sound good?

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    Each of the sites listed here has a focus on at least one, sometimes more, of the above listed points. It’s important to remember that almost no single website will give you all the answers you need in one place. I suggest spending some time browsing through all of them to build up your own broad and deep understanding of the challenges that lie ahead.

    Bplans

    Bplans offers free business plan samples and templates, business planning resources, How-to articles, financial calculators, and industry reports.

      Bplans offers an incredible range of business plan templates, advice about how to research and create plans, and insights into finding funding, selling, and pitching during the startup phase.

      Have it bookmarked from the time you have an idea, until the time the business is established and out of the startup phase.

      Along with their vast selection of free downloadable plans and templates for virtually any type of business imaginable, they also have a decent blog and lots of in-depth, useful guides on a range of startup related topics. In particular, you’ll find the following guides of great use:

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      ThePennyHoarder

      The world's largest personal finance blog with 5+ million monthly readers.

        ThePennyHoarder, unlike the other sites in this list, is not really focused on business per se, rather on personal finance. But, what they do bring to the table is a huge variety of creative money hacks and advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

        Ideas to stretch or save a dollar that you wouldn’t think of in a million years are part of their daily routine, which is super useful if you’re having to bootstrap a startup without funding or loans to keep things afloat.

        In addition to plenty of information focused on working from home, they also have lots of budgeting tips and even coupons available to help save money when it counts the most.

        Here’s where I recommend you start:

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        SBA

        An electronic gateway of procurement information for and about small businesses.

          The SBA (Small Business Administration) is a U.S. government run resource aimed at helping small business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the complex world of tax, finance, grants, loans, contracts, commerce, government rules, and business legislation. Basically anything you might need to know about your business and industry’s regulatory environment.

          Use this site as a companion from start to finish. It’s not only useful for learning about complex rules and regulations, it can also help you find tax breaks and incentives, make connections with other entrepreneurs and business people, and make full use of the local, state and federal resources available to you.

          For my money, the most useful aspects of this site are the following:

          Entrepreneur

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          Advice, insight, profiles and guides for established and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide.

            Entrepreneur is arguably the world’s leading online resource for entrepreneurs because, in addition to all the standard guides and advice you would expect from a leading business resources, they also offer something more… real-world insight. Their reach and reputation is such that they can get the inside scoop on news, developments, leaders, influencers, and trends that allow them to get valuable business related insight into your hands earlier than other sites.

            If staying on trend is vital to the survival of your business, then Entrepreneur is the site to bookmark right away.

            Entrepreneur’s site is also so massive that it likely covers every bit of information you could possibly need. The downside is that because much of their content is contributed by third parties, it isn’t always easily discovered or presented in a uniform manner. With that said, there are a few stand out pages that you definitely need to check out:

            So those are my top 5 sites that will help you realize your dreams of leaving the rat race and taking control of your own destiny by building the business of your dreams. Of course, these sites aren’t the only game in town. What resources do you find useful? Share your suggestions in the comments.

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              photo credit: Pinterest

              Featured photo credit: Christian Dembowski via flickr.com

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              Last Updated on October 18, 2018

              10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

              10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

              When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

              Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

              People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

              These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

              1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

              Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

              To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

              Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

              When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

              Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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              2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

              Things go wrong when you run your own business.

              Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

              Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

              Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

              Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

              If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

              3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

              Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

              As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

              Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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              After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

              Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

              He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

              4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

              No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

              It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

              You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

              Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

              An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

              5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

              You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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              As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

              Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

              Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

              You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

              6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

              In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

              Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

              • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
              • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
              • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

              By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

              7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

              Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

              As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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              8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

              No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

              Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

              9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

              Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

              If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

              10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

              Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

              Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

              If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

              The Bottom Line

              Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

              Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

              Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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