Want to Become Your Own Boss in 2022? Small Business Expert Melinda Emerson Explains How You Can

We’ve heard a lot about the ‘great resignation,’ a term used to describe the large number of employees who left their jobs during the pandemic. Many of those who resigned went on to pursue entrepreneurship. Have you decided you want to become your own boss? If business ownership is something you’ve been considering and is at the top of your to-do list for 2022, we have a few things you need to know.

On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Melinda Emerson, America’s number one small business expert, CEO of Quintessence Group, and best-selling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, updated edition out now.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks so much, Melinda, for joining us once again on the Atlanta Small Business Show.

Melinda Emerson:
I’m so happy to be here, Jim. It’s a new year. It’s a great time to start a small business.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s exactly right. And as I said in the opening, a lot of people have… When they sat down, they said, “Okay, I want to lose 20 pounds. I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to read more. And oh yeah, I’m going to start my own business this year. ” Certainly in light of the last couple of years with the pandemic that’s been looming, a lot of people realized that they can work from home.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Many of my friends said, “I’m going to go into my own business, whether it be consulting or what have you, because I realized that actually I’m comfortable now being my own boss and managing my own time and getting things done from my office right in my own home.” I think that’s kind of opened the eyes of a lot of people. That coupled with the fact that they don’t want to go back to an office setting right now. Where does one start on the journey to becoming their own boss from your perspective?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And I know you’ve been doing this a long time and have helped thousands, if not millions of people to open their own business.

Melinda Emerson:
Well, I think anyone who thinks they want to go into needs to just take some time and really reflect about their life, what do they want and why. Because sometimes they might just need to go get another job. But if they decide after they spend quality time with themselves that they really do want to start a business, then they’ve got to think about the lifestyle that they want so that they can build a business that is going to allow them to live that way. The second thing they got to figure out is how they’re going to fund their new little dream.

Melinda Emerson:
Because here’s the deal, banks do not loan money to start up businesses. The money to start your business is going to come from your right or your left pocket, right? You got to figure out how you’re set up financially. The reason why I give people a 12 month timeframe in my book, Become Your Own Boss, is because you might need that 12 months to get your finances in order. You really can’t start a business if you got a ton of card debt or really bad credit.

Melinda Emerson:
You need at least 700 or higher if you want to be taken seriously, because people are going to search your credit to decide even with whether or not you’re worthy of them even doing business with you. That’s why things like credit score and savings are so, so important because it takes 12 to 18 months for a small all business to breakeven, let alone replace your corporate salary.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Boy, no true words have ever been spoken. I agree with you. I also agree when you first started out and you said, “Maybe it’s not a small business that you need after all. Maybe it is just a new job,” and I think that people do have to do some soul searching in that area. Is it that you’re so mad at your current employer that you say, “The hell with it. I’m just going to open up my own business,” or maybe you just need a different employer to work for, one that works better for you. There are a lot of decisions being made. I love what you said also about your credit rating.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
The key about the credit rating too and then I think for entrepreneurs or those wantrepreneurs out there that want to become an entrepreneur, all of that stuff is all fixable, right, Melinda? I think there’s CreditRepair.com and a number of other credit companies out there that will help you fix that. It’s all repairable and fixable and certainly to put the money away for savings to start your own business. The great news is all of these things can be done. Don’t let it dampen your enthusiasm, right?

Melinda Emerson:
Exactly. I mean, the real issue is you’ve got to cure your addiction to your paycheck, right? I tell people all the time, start saving 30 to 40% of every check if you’re a single person. If you’re married, figure out how to live off of one check, because that’s what it’s going to feel like when this business is really rolling full-time. You want to adjust your lifestyle and, frankly, adjust your spouse and maybe your kid’s lifestyle a little bit, because they can become saboteurs when they don’t understand what’s going on. You want to have a family meeting.

Melinda Emerson:
You want to get everybody bought to what’s happening and why mommy or daddy’s start work so hard on their off hours. You just want to make sure that especially your spouse or your partner is bought in. Because an unsupportive spouse can kill a business faster than a bad marketing plan.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Melinda Emerson:
Okay? You want to make sure that you’re really clear and transparent with your partner about how long you’re going to pursue this business and how much resources it’s really going to take to get it off the ground.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. A lot of people that you share your ideas with, whether it be your spouse or your parents or family members or siblings or friends on the block or people in your circle, they all have a concern for you and your wellbeing. And oftentimes, you’ll find that they’ll say, “Well, you’ve got such a great job, Melinda. Why are you leaving that to take something that’s iffy? You’ve come this far in your career.” When you know you’ve got this burning desire to be your own boss and to start your own company, you got to be really careful as to how much of that you listen to.

Melinda Emerson:
Well, you also need to just be careful who you tell your dreams to, because there’s tons of dream snatches out here. People with jobs don’t necessarily understand people who are entrepreneurs. You want to kind of get what I call a kitchen cabinet of advisors of people around you who can confidential sounding board for you to get business advice from. You probably want to have somebody in there that can give you some emotional support as well. You need somebody who’s an existing entrepreneur, someone who’s a potential customer or is a customer.

Melinda Emerson:
You need somebody who’s a mentor. Maybe that has nothing to do with business or your industry, but somebody who can talk, you doubt from the ledge on those days you need to be talked down. And then you need an accountant and you need a lawyer. If you had the opportunity to go to college, you probably know somebody who’s an accountant and a lawyer. You want to make sure that you pull this group of people together when it makes sense to do so. And you got to be careful. Because if they give you advice that you don’t take, you could be burning a relationship.

Melinda Emerson:
You really want to make sure that you ask these people for advice when you’re ready to accept their advice, because the number one thing you want to be as a new entrepreneur is coachable.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. Melinda, one of my friends said to me, “I’ve got two good people. I’ve got my attorney who handled my divorce. I think that would be a good person. And also the person that prepared my taxes. I’m going to go to them to be my accountant.” What is your take when somebody tells you something like that? Because as we all know, a divorce attorney isn’t necessarily the type of attorney you’re looking for, right?

Melinda Emerson:
No. You need a business attorney and you need someone who specializes in working with small businesses, because you may have contracts. You might have lease agreements. You may have a franchise agreement. As a matter of fact, if you’re going to sign a franchise agreement, go get a franchise attorney. A general attorney is not going to cut it, for example, because a franchise contract is the scariest contract you’ll ever sign in your life. You really want to be clear about getting proper advice. Your cousin that’s a divorce lawyer, that’s not the right lawyer.

Melinda Emerson:
You also want to make sure that the person that prepares your taxes, you want to make sure they can also give you counting and tax advice. You need tax planning advice when you become a business owner. You don’t just want a tax preparer. You want to make sure that you understand what their skillset is and how they can support you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. So often people will say, “Well, I don’t have any money yet. I don’t have any money coming in. So why would I talk to somebody about planning the taxes or financial issues or what have you? For that matter, why would I even go see a trademark attorney? We didn’t even sell our first widget yet. Don’t I do that down the road when I’ve got revenue coming in?”

Melinda Emerson:
No. You want to protect your brand as early as possible. Particularly if it’s a brand name you’re putting on a product or something like that, you definitely want to protect it. You also want to make sure that the URL is even available. Before you go trademark anything, make sure you can actually get that real estate online first and just make sure that… I mean, when you need to patent something, that’s a very expensive and long process, but you can get a temporary patent, a patent pending that’s a little less expensive.

Melinda Emerson:
You need to talk to the lawyers that do this work so that they can help you and tell you when it is appropriate, but you definitely want protect your brand name. SmallBizLady, my nickname, is trademarked. Small BizChat trademarked. Succeed As Your Own Boss is trademarked. These are things that are assets of my company. You definitely want to make sure that you trademark things. Now, I can’t trademark a book title, but you can trademark just about anything else.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Boy, that’s for sure. Speaking of your book, which is Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, what do you want the reader to leave with? What are some of the morsels of information in there that they can take away from? I know there’s so many.

Melinda Emerson:
Well, I want them to know that the world is still waiting on a better mouse trap. And if you build it, the world will be a path out to your door no matter where your door is. But you do have to plan for success. It is not going to just happen to you. Do not spend more time planning your vacation or your girls trip than how you’re going to support yourself and your family financially. Make sure that you know your numbers, know how much profit is in every sale, and track your profit year over year. It should be growing. If it isn’t, you need to look at your business model and make sure that it makes sense.

Melinda Emerson:
And lastly, have a great value proposition. Nobody’s looking for a business that’s just okay. They want to buy from somebody who makes them feel amazing or whose product really transforms something critical in their life. Think about how you can have an outstanding value proposition and you’ll have customers for life.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Boy, that’s so true. That’s so true. For those of you, we’re showing down on the screen right now Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. High recommend it. This is a must read for anybody that’s on the cusp right now of saying, “Should I go into my own business? I’d like to explore this.” This is the book that you need to pick up without a doubt. Let me ask you this quick question. There’s a lot of people out there that are on the sidelines and they’re going, “Eh, COVID is still among us. There’s different issues out there.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Some hotels are postponing things and airlines seem to be shorthanded. There’s a lot of turmoil out there. Although it looks like the economy’s good, is now a good time to start a small business, or should I wait six months?”

Melinda Emerson:
Oh no. If you have a valid idea or solution, I say put it out there now. And guess what? COVID is doing nothing but driving online sales and everything else, so you need to be selling online. The great thing about the latest edition of my book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, is I break down how to sell online, how to develop a sales process, how to get your email marketing going, how to buy ads, whether it’s Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

Melinda Emerson:
Even if you’re going to be a marketplace seller like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, you can buy ads on those platforms too, and you probably should because they got traffic, but it’s really, really hard to stand out on those marketplace platforms. You really want to make sure that you understand online selling no matter what you sell, because COVID or no COVID, people are still clicking and buying all day.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, that is so true. No question about it. Melinda Emerson, CEO of Quintessence Group and a small business expert, best selling author, I want to thank you so much for joining us once again here on the Atlanta Small Business Show. We very much appreciate it. I know our viewers and subscribers get so much out of you being on with us. Thank you.

Melinda Emerson:
Thank you so much for having me, Jim. I’m happy to come back anytime.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Awesome.


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