Who Wants to Be an Entrepreneur?

Submitted by SharpMan Editorial Team on Sunday 10th October 2010
In this article
  • Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
  • Sites to check out.
  • Where to go for the legal stuff
Who Wants to Be an Entrepreneur?

Have you ever had a great idea for a "can’t miss" business, but no idea how to get it off the ground? Or even worse — a great idea that someone else gets off the ground first?

Offices all around the country are full of armchair entrepreneurs who talk a good game, but still end up punching someone else’s clock every morning. What is it that separates the true captains of industry from the wannabe business owners? Is it initiative? Money? Education? Brains? Luck?

Actually, it’s pretty much all of the above. So, if you’re one of those motivated, smart, creative types who already owns your own business… congratulations. You might as well move on to SharpDating. If, however, you’re a working stiff like the rest of us, read on and discover the quick, inexpensive way to take the hassle out of the legal details of starting your own business.

So You Want To Be an Entrepreneur…

Step One. Learn to spell e-n-t-r-e-p-r-e-n-e-u-r. No one will take you seriously if you can’t.

Step Two. Come up with a good idea. Just because you like coffee doesn’t mean your neighborhood needs another coffee house. Similarly, Internet companies are crashing and burning faster than you can say "dot com," so no matter what that little voice inside your head is telling you, realize that "if you build it, they may not come."

The key is to find a gap in the current marketplace. This means identifying something that people need (ideally, a need that has been expressed) that is not already being done by someone else. So forget about being the Pepsi to someone else’s Coke — consider that an expensive fluke and move on.

Step Three. Look for help. There are hundreds of entrepreneurial societies, clubs and Web sites out there to help you. If you are looking for inspiration or motivation, check out www.drjeffcornwall.com for personalized success coaching and training (The Entrepreneurial Mind - Dr. Jeff Cornwall - Belmont University - Business Entrepreneur), or try www.myprimetime.com, which specializes in tips for entrepreneurs, calling itself a "personal trainer for life."

You’re a Sharp — Idea — Man

Unfortunately, while the most important aspect of starting a new business is coming up with the idea, once you know what you want to do or sell, the rest of the work is nothing but details. The worst part? These details can become complicated and expensive if you don’t know what you are doing.

Let’s face it: you’re an idea guy, right? How can anyone expect you to have all the ideas and know what to do with them? That’s where the lawyers come in — and the start-up costs go up. No matter how practical and economical your plan to run an erotic bakery out of your mother’s-in-law kitchen seems, you may soon find yourself up to your cakes in everything from insurance to tax trouble — unless you take care of the legal details.

Making Sense Out of the Legal Dollars

Let’s examine your erotic cake business: Will it be an LLC or a corporation? What about trademarking and copyrighting your name, logo and materials? How about insurance for you and your employees? And you thought finding skin-toned icing was going to be the big problem…

Answering every one of these questions — and then taking the necessary steps — usually results in accruing a large legal bill from the get-go. Putting off these expenditures, or attempting to muddle through them yourself, often leads to more serious legal snafus down the road. A great alternative to all three options are "do-it-yourself" Web sites designed to help movers and shakers "move on up" while keeping their legal bills down. For example, Legalzoom, a site favored by the SharpMan Team for their cheap and easy prenuptial agreements (see Prenuptial Agreements 101 and Sharp Ways to Bring Up and Work Out Your Prenuptial Agreement) also provides quick, easy and cheap solutions to your entrepreneurial legal needs.

Says Legalzoom’s Brian Lee, "The main advantage you get with Legalzoom is the convenience and efficiency of the online service. The legal fees on basic start-up paper work can range anywhere from $1500-$3000 with an attorney, versus just $200-$450 with us."

In fact, the Legalzoom service can help you with all facets of starting a business. By using their "LegalWiz" questionnaires and answering a few simple questions, you can take care of all the confusing paperwork on your own — all "virtually." "LegalWiz" will generate all the proper filings required for your business, which will then be reviewed by Legalzoom’s experienced paralegals and delivered for your signature via e-mail. You’re done!

Beyond basic legal paperwork, Legalzoom also provides a valuable list of incorporation resources ranging from Web development to financial resources, office supplies to shipping. Best yet, the site also provides unlimited access to their extensive, easy-to-use legal library, allowing you to quickly answer any questions you may have.

So Get to Work!

After all, you’re too smart, talented, and good-looking to be working for someone else, right? Come on, admit it, your company underpays you and your boss is a brainless, uncreative corporate puppet in a bad suit…

Life is too short to waste 40-60 hours a week at a job you hate. The world is your oyster, and SharpMan is here to help you with the shucking. We’ve done our part. The rest is up to you.

This article last updated on Sunday 12th February 2012
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