It is safe to say that at some point every American has wondered if the American Dream is really achievable in modern times. Sure, the early settlers in the American West had the land of opportunity opened wide to them, but is it truly possible to carve out a comfortable living for the average Joe in the 21st century?
The fact is that our modern economy has convinced us that we must work non stop if we want to truly have anything in life. Our families have become focused on earning with both household leaders working to keep the bills paid and food on the table. While this has led to a more financially stable lifestyle, it has also contributed to a loss of community over time.
When families are running multiple directions trying to keep up with soccer practice, work, piano recitals, and school events, we find ourselves in a never ending race to nowhere. The results of these actions lead to a lack of community, with neighbors who no longer know each other.
We have all become accustomed to working for mega corporations, pulling 50 plus hour work weeks just to keep the bills paid. We have been trained to accept that being in debt and working to pay those bills is the acceptable way of life in America. Sadly, our children are learning this lifestyle all too well. It is not uncommon to see twenty-somethings buried in a mountain of debt, and then struggling to find a way to pay it all back.
Breaking The Mold
So, how do we combat the constant pressure to go further into debt and become more entangled in the rat race? The answer is to use our own personal skills to build the life we want. For some people that actually does mean climbing the corporate ladder and becoming a powerful part of the company they work for. Others yearn for a more meaningful existence with substance beyond zeros on the end of the bank balance.
The answer for these people is to use their skills to create a small business. Small companies are what made America great in the first place. The will to create something where nothing existed was the driving force behind the incredible economy we now have. Believe it or not, that ability still exists in modern times. But, it requires a great deal of research and effort to find the perfect opportunity to put into practice.
Knowing what you are personally good at is the key to designing a successful small business. For some people it means making artsy projects and selling them on Etsy or eBay. For others, it’s opening a motorcycle mechanic shop that specializes in certain vehicles. For folks like me it means providing well written content aimed at helping other people succeed. Knowing your skill set is the first step in creating a successful business.
Making A Plan
Starting a business is not as simple as just waking up and quitting your job. You need to have a plan that protects your family financially until you are turning a profit. This may mean continuing in the job you currently have while you work to set up your business and build clientele.
You need to know you can turn a steady profit before you walk away from your nine to five. If you choose to walk away before you have a solid business plan to turn to, you could find yourself in financial ruin very quickly. However, if you learn your market niche and figure out your profit versus cost ahead of time you can set up safeguards to help protect and grow your business.
When you prepare to exit your job, do so with a notice as this helps retain bridges you may find you need to cross again one day. For most people, starting a small business means launching a company directly related to skills they use in their current job. Not burning those bridges could leave doors open for collaboration in the future that can help bring profit to your new company.
Make sure you talk with your family about your plan. Having them on board is key to your success. Many people have attempted to launch a small business without the support of their family, only to find the emotional strain of not having their loved ones on board drained them of the desire for success.
Work The Plan
Once you have the plan in place, work the plan. Make sure your supply chains are intact and operational and that you and any employees you may have are ready to take on orders. By sticking to the plan you have laid out, you set yourself up for success. Going off half cocked or deviating from the goals you have set can lead to a business that fails to turn a profit.
When you determine the time is right to walk away from your current job, act decisively. Focus your attention on your business and grow it to maturity. You can be successful in the modern world, but you will have to be dedicated and you will have to sacrifice in order to get to that point.
Success Is Not Measured In Dollars
If you speak to successful small business owners they will inevitably tell you the same thing. They did not start their business in order to become rich. They started their business in order to lead a certain lifestyle. Farmers do not farm to become millionaires. They farm because they love the life. Home remodelers do not work in construction because it pays the bills. They do it because they enjoy working with their hands.
If you are going to start a small business, the most important thing to keep in mind is that success is not measured in dollars, but in units of happiness. If you love what you do, and you are able to support your family with it, you will find that you are successful, no matter how many zeros your bank account does or does not have at the end of the balance. This is the definition of the American Dream…not to be rich, but to be happy.