As many of you out there may already know, we here at Mana Punk HQ work with a fairly small staff and crew. Small enough in fact to merit being categorized as a team of two. While I predominantly play the role of Barker for our website and public demo games, my wife Jenn also plays several critical roles in this small endeavor of ours. We get to work side by side, developing something that both of us care about and in which we see great creative potential. We are working together on more than just something we are personally invested in; we are working on our own future as well. All of this brings with it the great rewards of “Self Employment”.
With all of that being said however, starting your own business is far from easy.
I do not anyone to take this post as some attempt on my part to dissuade you from whatever small business idea you may have. If you have a solid idea, product or skill to offer folks then I firmly believe you need to grab that brass ring and go for it! Self employment can be one of the most rewarding business endeavors you get into, giving you personal rewards on levels well beyond the financial. You gain control of your own employment fate, no longer working for those nightmarish bosses or companies heard of in workplace horror stories. Suddenly you are empowered with total control over your own schedule, your own time tables and your own pace of business. Just make sure that you remember, starting your own business does not mean “get rich quick” .
I firmly encourage anyone thinking about taking that first step out into small business does extensive research; what other products or services already exist in your area of interest? Will they end up being direct competitors, and if so how will this impact your plans? A great resource to answer numerous questions of this type is your local city’s branch of the U.S. Small Business Administration (or SBA for short). Check out their website (www.sba.gov) to find local branch offices near you! The SBA quite often does free seminars and classes for anyone in (or interested in) small businesses, helping small business owners avoid some of the worst pitfalls that can happen to you during your early stages. It is a free resource that your tax payer dollars are going towards anyway so you should exploit it as much as possible for your given subject or business arena.
Do your research, talk to others who started up their own small business in the process. Most important of all though is to grab that opportunity when you see it! While I have to don several different hats over the course of any given week (website admin, graphic artist, editor, writer, author, publisher, designer) it is still one of the most personally rewarding experiences of my life.