Where to start?

Becoming self-employed is always most definitely a life changing experience that will affect all aspects of your life and the people around you. This is why it is often very scary to make the leap into the unknown and make a go of it. It is necessary to have that good gut feeling and trust your insincts, skills and most importantly your idea to create a successful business, but is is equally necessary to be organised and well prepared for this transition in your life. You will need support and finding the right type of support for you can take time and effort, but getting prepared is a step you do not want to skip!
Peer Support
There are many ways to prepare for self-employment and get support. Doing some research on your possible markets, how innovative and new your idea is, and who can be your target audience is a must, as are finding initial capital, business partners, location etc.; but on top of this you also need to think what kind of personal support you might need in this transition.
Looking up successful social entrepreneurs online, reading articles on the topic and finding out how they coped with the initial stages of starting their own business and what tips they may have for getting started is a great way to get some reassurance from others who have already done what you are about to do. However, simply reading articles and getting familiar with the sector might not always be enough which is why personal connections and concrete ideas and advice from someone close to you can be far more beneficial than simply doing research on your own. You might just need a sounding board for your ideas and some direct feedback from someone. This is why role models are important.
You know these people but you may never have paid that much attention to them before. There are people in your area who run their own businesses and it might be worthwhile going to have a chat with someone in your area. Another way of finding a support network is to contact chambers of commerce, business networks, job centres and other groups in your local community to find out more about self-employment and the opportunities in your area. Some innovative networks of entrepreneurs are already out there and their numbers are growing all the time. One example is the HUB that operates in several cities in several countries to support social entrepreneurs and other self-employed people.
Don’t try to do Everything Alone
Identifying your skills and competences is another step worth taking as you do not need to do everything yourself but can ask for help, outsource some of your activities or even take business partners. Co-operation after all always beats competition.
You might have a very good technical skills but are completely lost when it comes to marketing and doing business. Another person might have a great idea for a new type of technical product and they need your help in designing and producing it. Chance for cooperation? Chance for success?
Do you already have a great idea in mind for a service or a product needed in the society to solve a problem? Take a look at some useful links that might give you some ideas on how to push forward and find the support you need to turning that idea into action.
If you are still thinking what you could do take a look at the next section of this guide Creativity and Innovation on how you can generate that great business idea and use it to help your community and the society at large. These tips will also help those already running their businesses to expand and revitalise themselves.
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