“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu

This is an inspiring mantra to follow. We all have an entrepreneur spirit inside of us, and for many this spirit leads to opening a business. It’s important to remember that many ventures that you embark upon have potential for entrepreneurship. Remember the 6th grade class picnic you organized and planned for the school? How about the time you initiated the entire campaign for your best friend who ran for school president? Both of these are examples of entrepreneurship, and these tips are created just for you. It takes a lot of hard work to be an entrepreneur. You will have to work harder for yourself than for anyone you have ever worked for in your life. But it’s worth it.

1. Start your own business now, even if it is small.

You can read all that you want about entrepreneurship, but there is simply no replacement for experience. If you think that you are too young or too inexperienced to start a business, think again. All you really need to start a business is a website and a product or a service. If you think about it, you can probably come up with at least one name of someone you know who once had a small, and not necessarily lucrative, business. Humble beginnings make for great stories. Even if your venture isn’t wildly successful, it’ll help you understand the fundamentals of business in a hands-on way. Becoming an entrepreneur is hard work and it isn’t something that happens overnight. Prepare yourself for constant failure, but always keep an eye on the prize.

2. Join entrepreneurial or industry-specific organizations.

As a budding entrepreneur, it is important to develop a strong, supportive network as early as possible. If you are still in the process of completing college, or if you’ve recently graduated, you don’t yet have an established professional network. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t begin the network building process. One of the best ways to build up a network is by joining entrepreneurial or industry-specific organizations in your school or in your community. Most universities have business or entrepreneur clubs, and your wider community should also have business organizations that focus on a specific industry that you may be interested in.

3. Read entrepreneur-focused books.

Even if you’ve graduated from college, to be a successful entrepreneur, you must establish a love for learning. Reading is one of the best ways to absorb new ideas efficiently and there are an abundance of entrepreneur-focused books to help inspire you and to assist you in beginning the journey to becoming your own boss. Personally, I balance out my reading list—half of the books that I read are biographies or memoirs of entrepreneurs that serve to inspire, and the other half are more technical books that can teach me about specific problems that might result from running my own business.

4. Find your niche

The great part about having a niche business is that it keeps your marketing costs low because you already know who your customers are, what they need, and where to find them. It also keeps your customer loyalty high because you’re one of the specific persons that offer the services. Owning a niche business is also nice because it allows you the opportunity to expand upon a talent or a resource that suits your personality and your interests. Everyone that seeks your particular product or service will benefit form your personal knowledge, so make sure that you choose a business that you feel confident and positive about.

5. Grow your network

Inspiration doesn’t come solely from mentors. Some of your best business information might be the result of speaking with other entrepreneurs who happen to be at the same stage in their businesses as you are. Most individuals, unless they are competitors, will likely be willing to share what they’ve already learned and you should be prepared to share, as well. Networking is mutually beneficial whenever you take business advice, so make a point to return the favor.
As a budding entrepreneur, you will need to devote a great deal of time to growing a successful business. Yet with the right tools and the right foundation, you can expect a fruitful venture. By heeding to the suggested tips, you can count on starting your business off on the right foot, and on reaping the rewards of your labors. Keep a focused, positive mindset, and enjoy the wonderful ride.