The Age of the Entrepreneur If you’re anything like me, you probably have ideas for businesses, events, or products scribbled into a notebook or on random pieces of paper laying on your nightstand, bookshelf, or desktop collecting dust. Everyone, at one point or another in their lives, has been struck by an idea of how to make money, improve a way of life, or bring something to the City that hasn’t been done before. For some reason, though, these ideas remain just that, ideas. Why is that? Something generally holds us back from making these ideas more than just words on paper. It may be family, debt, fear of failure, or uncertainty where to begin. Maybe it’s the comfort of working a job with a guaranteed paycheck. All of these reasons, which may previously have been the hindrance from pursuing one’s dream, may now prove to be the motivation to explore this option. With the current state of the economy, nothing is promised, and jobs are being cut everyday. Alabama’s unemployment rate is currently at 10.0%. College graduates are finding themselves competing with GED recipients for jobs, when there are some available. One would think that, with this being the current condition, dream chasing would be more foolish than ever before. However, it may be more lucrative than ever before. Your idea for a clothing line, improvement to a household appliance, or home daycare center may be just what the doctor ordered. I have had the pleasure of being in the company of some of Montgomery’s great entrepreneurs. When discussing their pursuit of their passions, they all said the same thing: they saw a need and filled it. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Without a doubt. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing something you envisioned come to fruition. Still unsure? Well how about this, I’ll give you some tips and tools to get you started and you can make the decision from there. Deal? The first thing to do, before diving in headfirst, is to do some research. Look into the type of business you’re interested in starting. Check the number of businesses of this kind in your area. Research ways to begin operating with minimal out-of-pocket investment. For example, do you like to make jewelry? Look online for wholesale prices on bulk purchases of the tools that you’ll need. Consider hosting a party at your home for friends and family before renting a vendor’s booth. Create a Facebook product page before paying for a custom website. Be smart about things and, before you know it, you’ll be generating income from your pastime. Have I piqued your interest yet? Well, there is a plethora of information right at your fingertips that can help you bring your dream to life. Take some time to review these books, check out these websites, and/or stop by these places to look into things for yourself. Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not By Robert T. Kiyosaki A must-read for anyone wishing to be successful in business. Montgomery’s Small Business Incubator Offers everything from office space to workshops to mentors to anyone interested in beginning their own business. Websites: Information about entrepreneurship offered by real entrepreneurs: http://entrepreneurs.about.com/ Obtaining a business license in the City of Montgomery, AL: http://www.montgomeryal.gov/index.aspx?page=132 PASS THE WORD!