I encourage GRS readers to pursue their dreams. I also extol the virtues of entrepreneurship. Mike believes he’s ready to take both pieces of advice to heart. He wants to leave his job, set out on his own, and start a new business. But he’s worried. He wonders if Get Rich Slowly readers can offer any advice. Here’s his story:

I’ve been at the same job since I graduated from college nearly ten years ago. Lately I’ve lost the passion for what I do and am aching for something completely different. I want to start a retail shop.

Two problems:

  1. I’m paid well here, so I’m going to have to figure out how to make this transition in a way that won’t hurt the family’s finances.
  2. I don’t have any real business training, and the thought of keeping books for the business gives me stomach pains.  But there are resources out there to help with the logistical side of running a (retail) business, and I know where I need help and will pay for it (accounting, interior decorator, etc.).

The bigger issues, I think, are how to get from where I am now — sitting behind a desk doing the job I’ve been doing for 10 years — and getting the momentum going to really make this happen (and to not fail at it, leaving me jobless and penniless).

Also, I worry about some of the things that may not be covered in standard business-type books, like the best ways to look for employees and how to deal with them on a employer-employee level. Or ways to balance family and work when you’re putting in six 12-hour days a week trying to build your business. Or a good step-by-step timeline of how to go about hunting for business space, gathering financing, etc., all while continuing to work your regular day job.

Are there any good resources — be they blogs or books — that can help with the problems that don’t come down as much to tried-and-true business rules, but more to the everyday human side of trying to build a new business?

I think all new business owners wrestle with these questions. Since quitting my day job to blog full time, I’ve gradually come to realize that Get Rich Slowly isn’t just a hobby — it’s a business. I just hired my first contract employee yesterday, and although he’s a friend I trust, the process was still a little scary because it’s so new.

Based on my (very limited) experience, a lot of this stuff can only be learned through the doing. Mike will make mistakes along the way, but I don’t think that should dissuade him. Mistakes are frustrating, but they’re also learning opportunities. Here are some other tips for Mike as he considers this endeavor:

  • Be sure you have adequate savings. Build a buffer in addition to your normal emergency fund so that you have a cushion to fall back on if times get tough.
  • Tap into local resources. Check with the Small Business Administration to see if they offer classes or seminars in your area. Better yet, visit a community college. They’ll offer business classes, and many provide additional resources to small business owners.
  • Seek help from your social network. Do you know any friends with small businesses? Do you have a working relationship with a lawyer and accountant? Is there somebody in your community who can act as a mentor?

I grew up in a small business culture. My father was a serial entrepreneur, and so I got to see first-hand his failures and successes. One thing I learned from him is to proceed cautiously and deliberately. Know your business, and seek to be the best at what you do. Don’t try to be the biggest — try to be the best.

Many of you have experience with small businesses — either as owners or as employees. Can you offer Mike any advice? What should he consider as he leaves his job and strikes out on his own? How can he learn to handle the human side of owning a business?

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