Recently, I had the pleasure of re-reading a true gem for anyone interested in starting their own business entitled, “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works” by Melinda F Emerson. This book is really special to me as I first read it in 2013, the same year I started AMW Site Designs. I also recently discovered that Melinda F Emerson is an African-American author, which might be why the book was so relatable :).
The book lays out a 12 month plan on how you can prepare yourself for the transition out of the workforce into going into business for yourself full-time. Just minutes into reading the Forward written by Michael Critelli, Former CEO of Pitney Bowes, advice is given like, “you must capture your target’s attention in the first seven seconds or you fail.” Another tip he shared was, “we must not overlook opportunities that can arise at taxi stands, on an Amtrak train, and in churches and alumni associations. Whether one is representing a small or large business, we are all brand ambassadors for our businesses 24/7 and can make those encounters with others either moments of success or missed opportunities.”
Some key takeaways I got from reading the book include:
- You should go through roughly 500 business cards every two months when you first start a business.
- Before you write a business plan, you must develop a life plan – Besides knowing what your business will do and how it will function, how will your life change from running this business and how will you prepare for these changes?
- Identify your niche market – Not everyone is your customer!
- Small businesses typically take twelve to eighteen months to break even and three years to generate any profit.
I also learned why we need at least twelve months to plan before taking the leap to entrepreneurship:
- To achieve a 700 or higher credit score
- To have zero debt (including no car payments)
- To have six months salary in emergency savings
- To have twelve months of monthly budget to run your household
- To have the first year of operating expenses to start the business
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is considering going into business for yourself full-time now or in the near future.
Let me know your thoughts on the book in the comments below!