What would you do to get your business started?

If you are like me, you have read countless stories of start-up businesses.  They bootstrap, they borrow, they get investors.  They start with $10 and a laptop and become professional speakers.  They do this and they do that and sometimes, we don’t even really know who “they” are.

The question still stands, what would you do to get your business started?  Would you fund it yourself (bootstrap)?  Would you go to the bank, family, friends, etc for loans?  Would you pitch the idea to venture capitalists for the money?  What would you do?

For many of us, our business ideas are small.  We may want to open a restaurant, a small specialty store, or something.  If you don’t have a pile of money sitting around, you either go to the bank or get investors.  Since the idea is small, investors are usually not interested.  Since often, this is your first business, banks don’t want to take the risk on a start-up.  What do you do?

Besides borrowing the money from friends and family, here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • RothIRA contributions can be withdrawn at any time with no penalty or tax liability (Please don’t take my word for it, call the IRA to make sure…)
  • If you cancel your cable tv or satellite your head will not explode, the world will not end, and if you have them, your children will not die from boredom.  You will often save over $50 per month, add more than 10 hours per week to work on your business, and learn that reading can be fun informative (and free if you utilize your local public library)
  • The food that is the best for you is often some of the cheapest.  I have been trying to eat better and part of that is eating more legumes.  Many days, my lunch consists of a small chicken breast, black beans and lentils.  I cook it all in batches and have lunches for several days.  It is cheap, easy, nutritious, and tasty.  Personally, I like to have the lentils and black beans together, otherwise, the whole meal is not as yummy as I like it to be.

These ideas mostly focused on money, but often, time is in shorter supply for many of us.  We rush here and there, taking kids to school, picking them up, transporting them to and from activities.  As a society, we equate activity with productivity and if we are not moving, we get restless and bored.  These activities are all choices, although they often seem like necessities.  What can we do?

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about time:

  • Your children don’t have to be involved in several activities at one time.  If your child is doing two sports, you are spending a lot of time (and money) getting back and forth to practice, games, etc.  I believe that family time is very important and feel that a limit of one activity a year (yes, a year) is a reasonable limit.  So, if my child wants to play soccer, that is fine, but it is also the only “organized” activity besides church they will participate in that year.  Some people may think that view is harsh.  I am teaching my children to focus their attention and concentrate on what they really enjoy.  Sometimes, we have to get rid of a few good things in our lives to make room for the great things.
  • I started waking up at 5:30a, changing from 6:00a.  May not sound like much, but I can usually get 45 minutes of work or study in before starting my “real” job.  It was a very minor change but it did take time.  I have tried and failed to wake up earlier many times before  until I read about creating habits at Zen Habits (a blog by Leo Babauta).  For a week, I set my alarm at 5:55a.  Next week, it was 5:50a, then 5:45a, etc until 5:30a.  Not as difficult as you would think
  • As I mentioned in the money ideas, getting rid of TV not only saves money, but a lot of time.  If you can’t bear to miss your favorite shows, often times you can watch them for free over the internet when you want (I especially like House, Bones, NCIS, Eureka, and Warehouse 13 to name a few)

Starting a business can be difficult.  It takes money, it takes time, and often, you don’t have much extra of either.  Is it all worthwhile?  What would you do to start a business?  I believe this excerpt from Robert Frost says it all:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What would you sacrifice to accomplish a goal that would make all the difference?

Are you taking the path less traveled, or just following the crowd?

What would you do to be remarkable?