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4 Questions You'll Ask Yourself When You Become An Entrepreneur

If you've never started your own business—but you want to—maybe one thing stopping you is what's unfamiliar about the idea. 

Simply put, you have no clue what it'd be like to employ yourself. 

If you've always had a boss, co-workers, and standard working hours, it's difficult to imagine suddenly having NONE of those. The transition can be tough in ways you never expected, even while it's fun.

If you're considering that path, it pays to think ahead. So today we're sharing 4 specific questions you'll ask yourself along the way—which we've asked (and in some cases answered) for ourselves on our own entrepreneurial journey.

"How much is my time worth?"

Whether you want to sell goods or services, it's the same question. Either way: if someone wants to buy something, it will cost you a certain amount of time to provide it to them. So what should your time cost?

Pricing is a delicate game. Anyone starting a business learns that. But eventually, an entrepreneur realizes that setting your prices is kind of like choosing the price tag to put on yourself.
And you thought picking a good outfit was hard.
But you also realize that everyone's prices, at some level, are completely made up. For this reason, you can charge whatever you want—as long as you have enough people who will buy. Supply and demand figures out the rest.
Remember also: among the fair and consenting, there is no price too high. If someone agrees to pay your price, and they like what you sell, everyone has already won. No need to be insecure about it. 

"Why can't I use any of this money?"

Oh, cash flows. It's the bane of any business—yet most people don't know what it is or how it works. Therefore, most brand-new business owners don't know how it'll affect their paycheck.

 To make a scary accounting concept seem simple: cash flow just refers to how money is moving in and out of someone's account. You have to make sure there's enough money coming in to pay for everything going out.

Suppose, for example, you'll need expensive AV equipment soon. Maybe you'll be able to afford it—but if you need it sooner than your next big paycheck, that's a cash flow problem. To solve the problem, you can (A) buy the equipment later, (B) find a way to get paid sooner, or (C) take out a small loan.

Why will this all matter to you? Because your paycheck is just ONE of the things that has to compete for your business's cash. 

In a way, all money you make is yours—but if you're smart, you won't think that way. The money belongs to your business, and it goes to what the business needs—including to pay you, its mastermind, but only to the extent you need personal funds to keep working well. 

Sometimes, you'll be sitting on mountains of cash—yet you won't feel like you can touch a penny. It's a weird feeling.  

"When will I be able to take a vacation?"

HA! Ohhh—ahem. Sorry. Didn't mean to let that slip out. 

But all right, let's be blunt: you won't get to take a vacation for a while. If you're starting from the beginning, you don't get a vacation until you catch a break. (And sorry, poor people, but... if you're starting with thin resources, that last sentence goes double for you. It's just true; we've been there.)

Seems weird, right? I thought entrepreneurs were permanently on vacation. 

Only in the loosest sense. Entrepreneurs have an unusual freedom, yes—and there's no one to limit their vacation time. But just as they're "never" at work, they're always at work. If you're an entrepreneur, your mind is your office—and it's kind of hard to leave your mind (completely). 

Here's the truth: you can take a vacation whenever you want. But the point is that you probably won't want to take a long break until you've feel secure enough to do so. 

Vacation right before you launch a business. That's when it'll be most useful. 

"Can I ever go back?"

Like a lot of "bugs," entrepreneurship might only bite once—but it never completely leaves your system. In the best possible way, you're infected for life. Even if you choose to re-enter the job market, you won't see the world the same way ever again.

Some of this—if we may—is just you getting smarter. You learn how things work by running them yourself. Entrepreneurs learn by doing, and by rights that becomes a lifelong habit. 

But there's another, bigger part of this. In a phrase: entrepreneurs see the world's opportunities in a way they never did before. They gain the freedom and self-reliance to "see around" most jobs, certainly to understand them better.

With full freedom to choose what you do, the ways you spend your time become all the more significant—to you and to the rest of the world. 

So—to answer the question Can I ever go back?—sure you can. Much the same way the prisoners of Plato's Cave could walk back in. Much the same way Neo and Morpheus can re-enter the Matrix. As they would say, sure, you can go back—but the better question is, why do you want to?

We started Code&Quill with $500, a good idea, and a lot of questions. We wanted to know if that idea could come to life—so we started answering questions to make it happen. These were the four questions we didn't expect to be asking—and that needed some time for us to enunciate our answers.

We've had other ventures along the way, and each one has taught us a lot. More than anything, though, they've shown us that community and brainstorming and passion matter every day. That's how you keep digging up answers to your questions.

(Want the perfect notebook for keeping your answers while you get started? Check out our notebooks here or by clicking the image below!)

And whether you're writing down the questions, the answers, or anything in between, always write it down. That's how you share; that's how you keep a record; that's how you understand something better than you ever could in your own head. We're here to help people answer their own creative questions—the way everyone has to do for themselves. 

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  • I am so proud of Ronak for having the temerity to step into a business that was so far afield from the one I worked on with him. Congrats and bully for you..

    chris klutch on

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