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What career should I pursue if I am interested in starting my own business?

I already have a small crochet business that I would like to expand, and I am a very artsy person who likes to do good with my work for other people.

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Pablo’s Answer

Business, business, business!
In order to be your own boss and start your own business, the hardest part is to understand how to create, run and evolve a business. Your passion will dictate the product, the company values and where you want to go, but the business training will help you acquire a lot of tools that will considerably reduce the chances of failing.
If you look at the most successful companies, they're all founded by people that are very passionate about the product they make, but more importantly, they either have business degrees, business expertise or an excellent business partner.

I highly recommend the book "Shoe dog" by Phil Knight (The Nike CEO). It's a very easy read because it's more biographical than business and he had a cool life, but you can clearly see how he approached creating the brand and the business.

Short story: business first! Your passion is the easy part :)
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Tara’s Answer

Hi Sylvia!

You are off to a great start! Check out your local farmer's markets or annual craft fairs--it's time to get a booth! Also, open an Etsy store and start selling your products online. Did you know that you can even sell your crochet patterns online to make some easy passive income? People can just download the pdf and you get paid. Easy cheese. If Etsy is too intimidating, you can use Instagram to market your products and build a strong following. Wix and Wordpress offer super affordable website hosting and development to help market your online business. Use Canva to create free marketing materials. You can use PayPal to track the flow of money. Whether you want to go to school to get your MBA is up to you. I think you can do this without taking out exorbitant student loans to pay for a business degree--especially when it sounds like you already have a great product and good common sense. You can invest your hard-earned money into making your business awesome.

Start small and see how it goes! Offer to sell a few items at a local coffee shop or mom-and-pop clothing store. See how it goes! Once you've grown your business a bit, you will need to incorporate it and open a business account.

Good luck to you!
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Andrea’s Answer

Hi Sylvia, I wouldn't say you need a specific degree/career to start your own business. I have met many business owners and they come from a variety of majors or have been in different fields throughout their careers before starting their own businesses. However, if you are looking to learn more about growing your current business, I recommend taking business classes or considering pursuing Business as a major. It is great that you have a creative mindset, but studying business will help you become more knowledgeable about the many areas that are key to successfully managing a business. Good luck!
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Jonathan’s Answer

If you're interested in starting your own business, and the end goal is running your own business, then you simply need to find a way to make ends meet until your business is big enough to support you independently.

You could pursue a formal education in business or business management (through either a university, community college or online degree), or you could just get a job working for a local small business you're interested in. You can learn the ropes of what it takes to run a business from someone who's already doing it, then work on your own business in your downtime.

There's also a lot of online courses and tutorials available through LinkedIn and YouTube for all kinds of skills you may need like learning to build a Shopify store, running Facebook ads, etc.. that you can pickup and learn whenever your schedule allows. The real challenge is the self-discipline to stick with it, as launching any new business from scratch takes a lot of work in a lot of areas... but you can do it!
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Anthony’s Answer

Hello Sylvia,
It's good that you already have ideas for a business. There are many things you need to consider when starting a business. Even thought a college degree (BA/MBA) is not required, a formal education is beneficial as your business grows. Business school may also offer entrepreneurial courses for small business owners and that will cover a lot of information you will need to know. The most important thing is you will learning (through the various business courses) how to develop your business plan.

These are a few things to consider:
1-Business entity: are you going to be a sole proprietor, Limited Liability Company(LLC), partnership, S-corporation or Corporation? There are pros and cons for each of these entities for both liability and taxes.
2-Tax and licensing: to do business, you must find out the law in each jurisdiction: city, county, state and federal (for licensing and taxes.) These jurisdiction can fine your business or shut it down if the law is not follow.
3-Finance: Do you have enough fund to setup and sustain your business until it can generate enough to run itself? Where will you secure these fund (saving account, loan from relatives, or bank?)
4-Sale/Marketing: how will the public know about your goods or services. How will you price your goods and services?
5-Production/Manufacture: where/how you will get your goods and services for sale.
7-Accounting: Both financial and cost accounting are complex subject. But you must understand how your business is doing.
8-Employee: employment law and payroll. As business owner, you are self employed and some of these law/rule may also applied.

Do not feel overwhelmed by these. Small start-up (one or a few persons operation) may get away with not having all things setup correctly. The start-up may focus all energy on develop the idea for products and services first and have very basic implementation of these areas. As your business grows, the complexity of these business management areas will grow with it. You do not have to do everything by yourself (No successful business owner do thing all by himself/herself.) You can always hire someone (outsourcing) to do them for you. But the basic understanding of how to manage a business will go a long way.
Best of Luck.
Anthony.
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Max’s Answer

Hi Sylvia,

I lived in SF for 10 years - tried starting a few of my own startups (all 3 failed) and consulted many others that succeeded!

If it's technology related - you'll (most likely) need 3 key people:
-Technology - Software/hardware engineer
-Product - Someone with vision to build, iterate, and understand customer needs
-Business - Someone that can operate, hire, scale, and raise money

Sometimes folks can get away with being 1 or 2 of these people and offshore the other but you will need these 3 things to start a technology company.

The main takeaway I've learned -- Don't be afraid to try and fail - again and again until something works! RARELY does anyone get it right the first time. Rarely does the first idea become the end product as well -- Slack was bought for $27B and was created for a totally different idea when they realized their internal chat app was really awesome and they threw away their core idea to sell the chat app.

Don't overthink it -- try something, it should never be perfect when you show people or you've taken too long to perfect it. Be okay with the imperfections, launch things quickly, take feedback, and enjoy the ride!

Cheers,
Max

Max recommends the following next steps:

Don't be afraid to try and fail - again and again until something works! RARELY does anyone get it right the first time. Rarely does the first idea become the end product as well -- Slack was bought for $27B and was created for a totally different idea when they realized their internal chat app was really awesome and they threw away their core idea to sell the chat app.
Don't overthink it -- try something, it should never be perfect when you show people or you've taken too long to perfect it. Be okay with the imperfections, launch things quickly, take feedback, and enjoy the ride!
For your idea: Find something you either -- really love and are passionate about OR identify something you think is painful and could be a better experience
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Anya’s Answer

I would pursue starting a business in a service or product that you are very passionate about. Learning. researching, and building out the business will never feel like a chore. You will find yourself spending a lot of time working when starting the business but you are more inclined to be comfortable with long hours if you are exciting about the field. It will also make it easier to network because showing your passion will come very easily.
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