TIME Careers & Workplace

12 Steps to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur

One step at a time

If you’re fed up with your job, it may seem like there are only two steps to becoming an entrepreneur. The first is to quit your job, and the next step is to start a company. While it is possible to transition successfully from employee to entrepreneur, it’s a little more complex than that.

Here are the 12 steps you’ll need to take to become your own boss.

1. Determine what you’d like to do.

Some people call this finding your passion, but it’s more than that. Think about your skills, abilities and experience. Consider what you can realistically see yourself doing for hours each day, for weeks and years.

2. Think about what others will pay for.

A viable business is the intersection between what you’d like to do and what others will pay for. Remember the “Jump to Conclusions Mat” from the movie Office Space? Todd loved building it, but no one was going to buy it. It wasn’t a viable business opportunity.

3. Interview ideal customers.

Find a few people that you think would be your ideal clients. Ask them about their biggest needs, fears and aspirations related to the business idea you plan to pursue. Are the benefits of your product or service in line with their real needs? Also, make a note of the words they use, as they’ll eventually help make your marketing more authentic.

4. Design your marketing and business plans.

Today’s marketing involves content creation, social media, email outreach and more. Make sure you know how you’ll approach each of these alternatives to introduce your idea to customers. At the same time, lay out a business plan that details how you intend your business to function. It doesn’t need to be super formal, but it does need to cover your operating structure, product, delivery systems and expansion plans.

5. Set up your business on a small scale.

If you can, test your company idea by launching on a small scale on the side, while still working your day job. This gives you a no-risk opportunity to test your ideas, get your first clients and see if the business will hold up over time before you leave the security of your current position.

6. Assess feedback and adjust.

Running a small-scale operation will help you determine which parts of your idea are great and which ones need adjusting. Take customer feedback seriously and make any necessary changes before you begin scaling up.

7. Assemble a team.

If your idea seems viable, determine who you’ll want on your business leadership team when you eventually launch full time. Depending on your personal experience, you may need help in areas such as finance, marketing, customer service and production.

8. Secure financing.

For a small venture, this might mean saving up some money to get through the first few months or taking cash from your 401(k). If your aspirations are a bit larger, you may need to think about how to procure venture capital or other outside investment.

9. Set up the structure of your company.

At the same time, you’ll also want to decide what kind of company structure to register. Do you want to incorporate, form an LLC or create a partnership? Get this taken care of legally and carefully define the roles and investment of each of your leadership team members.

10. Leave your job.

When you’re ready, leave your day job. This may feel like an amazing relief after all the work you already put in, but trust me, more work awaits. Although it may be tempting, be sure not to burn any bridges as you leave — you never know when you’ll encounter former bosses and colleagues again, and you may need to work with them in the future.

11. Set up a working budget.

With your full-time schedule now devoted to your business, set up a company budget. This should include payments for marketing expenses, salaries and other important purchases. Just be sure not to waste money on frivolous expenses!

12. Scale up your business according to your marketing plan.

Finally, all that’s left to do is to work the plans you’ve carefully laid out for yourself. Of course, that plan may change over time as you encounter and overcome obstacles. But, this is it — you’re a full-fledged entrepreneur. Congratulations!

As you can see, becoming an entrepreneur requires a lot of work before you even consider quitting your day job. However, if you follow each of the steps listed above and your idea still seems viable, you can leave your life as an employee and become an entrepreneur instead.

There are still many challenges you’ll face, but for most entrepreneurs, the benefits of meaningful work and self-direction are much more important.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

More from Entrepreneur.com:

MONEY food and drink

Company Cooked Up in the Kitchen is a National Hit

This entrepreneur learned a love of cooking from her father in Singapore.

Small business owner Nona Lim learned to love cooking from her father as a child growing up in Singapore. When she wanted to create her own company, it was important to her to bring healthy food with Asian-inspired flavors to her busy customers short on time but searching for a wholesome meal. At Nona Lim, what they don’t put into their products, such as preservatives, is just as important as the fresh vegetables and ingredients that are included. Lim’s company has grown from a one-woman shop selling locally in the San Francisco area to a national brand carried by grocers throughout the country.

MONEY

Shark Tank’s Daymond John Blew His First $20 Million Before Wising Up About Money

The Shark-Daymond John Presents "Xpensive Habits" Lavo Brunch Sponsored By: Jack Daniels, Miller Lite & Evian Water
Jerritt Clark—WireImage Mark Cuban and Daymond John attends The Shark-Daymond John Presents "Xpensive Habits" Lavo Brunch Sponsored By: Jack Daniels, Miller Lite & Evian Water at Lavo on February 14, 2015 in New York City.

The FUBU founder shares what he's learned about investing since then.

On ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Daymond John scrutinizes the business plans of wannabe entrepreneurs, but how does he manage his own finances?

A self-made businessman, John is actually pretty realistic – working his way up many ladders and learning from failures. A native of Queens, New York, John founded FUBU at age 23 in 1992, riding the wave of hip-hop fashion trends.

Now 46, he has been with “Shark Tank” since its debut in 2009. He serves as a consultant, gives motivational speeches, writes books and is a spokesman for other businesses, such as Gillette.

Reuters spoke with John about how his acumen for business translates to managing his own money:

Q: How much of your net worth is locked away for the future, and how much is at your disposal now?

A: I’ve probably put in 50 percent for long-term, and the rest I play with. I have squirreled away enough to not have to worry about it. Hopefully, I’ll never have to touch it, and it will be passed onto my kids or a great organization.

What I play with now, it can fluctuate. I can end up using a good percentage of it on a great acquisition, or I can hold it.

Q: How involved are you in the management of that money?

A: There are several levels of it. I’m involved when I’m doing my day-trading. When we’re talking about asset allocation, I have very different approaches. I’m with Goldman (Sachs) and various other firms. I kind of let three out of five of them do their own thing. For two out of five, I monitor (my account) over the course of every month or so.

Q: Most of what you do on ‘Shark Tank’ can be considered alternate investments, but do you do anything beyond that to diversify your portfolio?

A: My larger investments have been apparel brands. As for real estate, I’m part of a fund, but I’ve never been that great at real estate.

Q: When you do a promotion like for Gillette’s Shave Club, do you have an investment in that, or is it just for promotion?

A: It’s a brand association. It’s just an investment of my time and my face and my integrity. I don’t take it lightly.

Q: You lend your name to a lot of causes as well. How do you decide what charities get your time and money?

A: It’s not really a planned thing. I try to give on various platforms, and not do too much check-book philanthropy. For some, I will try to make more people aware of the plight, and help get more people to give. To some I will dedicate time, such as my desire to get out word about dyslexia.

Q: Do you have planned giving worked into your estate plan?

A: I don’t have that formal plan – some will go to family and certain small organizations. One is animal related, one is dyslexia, one is hip-hop against violence.

Q: Who first taught you about finance and money management?

A: I got the knowledge by blowing about $20 to $30 million the first time I made it. I’m not one of the few who hit lotto or peaked at 25 as an athlete. I have had several other bites at the apple.

Q: You have listed Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” as one of your favorite books. What have you learned from it?

A: The fundamental lesson to it is it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save. You should go after small opportunities that have the potential to grow into large opportunities. That educated me on the tool of money.

TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Myths Entrepreneurs Should Walk Away From

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"You have no time for friends and family"

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Question: What is one business myth that entrepreneurs should disregard?

You Have No Time for Friends and Family

“Smart entrepreneurs know that having a supportive network of friends and family is critical to helping cushion the falls inherent in startups. Just because you work a lot doesn’t mean that you should neglect the people you love; they are critical to your success.” — Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

Successful Entrepreneurs Always Know What to Do

“While many successful entrepreneurs may appear to always have a plan and actionable steps to create success, many of them accomplish their goals from continuous failure. Embrace the fact that you will never know everything and fall in love with the process of failing.” — Kyle van dyn Hoven, Creation Burst Studios

You Have No Boss

“You are accountable to both your customers and your employees. If you raised money, you are also accountable to your investors. At times, this can feel like you’ve traded one boss for many. There is definitely a certain freedom in being an entrepreneur and defining your own way; however, many entrepreneurs feel like they have traded a direct boss for numerous indirect bosses.” — John Arroyo, Arroyo Labs, Inc.

Revenue Equals Success

“It’s easy to look at a company’s revenue and deem them successful. However, the true value of a company is based on profitability — not just on shear revenue size. Keep revenue in mind, but always focus on profitability and sustainability of the business.” — Ryan O’Connell, LaunchKC

Only Data Signifies Your Business’ Success

“There’s an entire culture that believes data holds the key: that if you optimize your click rates, you’ll build a successful business. But if you study data science, you’ll find that correlation doesn’t always equal causation, and that more clicks don’t necessarily mean more customers who care. Don’t become blinded by incomplete data and forget your strategy, vision and how you want your customers to feel.” — Todd Medema, Sled

You Must Always Think Big

“While thinking big is something that is always taught, it’s also important to realize the power and profitability within smaller niche markets. Thinking big doesn’t mean you have to go after large markets like finance, health or entertainment. Instead, entrepreneurs can focus on these niche markets and become an authority within that space. Instead of thinking big, think about how you can be the best.” — Zac Johnson, Blogging.org

Success Is Achieved Solely Through Churning Out Work

“While all entrepreneurs have to work incredibly hard to be successful, action should never be confused with progress. Entrepreneurs should constantly evaluate whether their approach is proving successful and stop or change it if necessary. They should simultaneously see both the immediate and the bigger picture.” — Tom Chalmers, IPR License

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

This article was originally published on BusinessCollective.

MONEY

Attention Millionaires and Millionaires in the Making!

Do you already have a seven-figure net worth, or are you on your way there? If so, MONEY would love to chat with you about the smart financial moves you’ve made that put you on the path toward becoming a millionaire. Whether you’re a relentless saver, a shrewd investor, real estate mogul, or an entrepreneur, we want to know what makes you tick, what drives you, and strategies you’ve employed to get you to your goals.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a young professional or a seasoned investor — millionaires in the making from all walks of life are welcome!

 

MONEY Workplace

These 5 Myths Keep Women From Starting Small Businesses

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Never sabotage your own success.

Deborah Sweeney owns a small business that helps launch other small businesses. She’s noticed an interesting trend in the last five years: Her clientele has changed from 10% women to 25%.

It would be more, says Sweeney, whose MyCorporation.com helps entrepreneurs deal with paperwork and legal hurdles, except for what she says are misconceptions that keep women out of the small-business world.

Women playing a bigger role in small businesses is no longer big news, of course. In 2014, there were roughly 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 8 million workers and recording nearly $1.4 trillion in sales that year, according to data from the National Association of Women Business Owners.

But Sweeney thinks more women would give entrepreneurship a shot if not for these five major myths:

1. It’s impossible for a woman to succeed as an entrepreneur.

When she tells people that she runs her own small business, Sweeney says, they assume she’s talking about something, well, small. They don’t imagine her being at the helm of a company that posts nearly $9 million in annual revenue.

“Oh, are you doing that out of your garage?” is a common question she’s asked, she says.

Some people just assume that when you’re a female small-business owner, you’re “making beaded necklaces or making nursing products for children,” she tells NerdWallet.

In Sweeney’s case, the false assumptions can be comically sexist.

Her husband, Tor, is also a small-business owner, and she says it’s not unusual for people to ask “if we work together at my business.”

People “have this mindset that I would not run it alone,” she says, “that I am a business owner, in essence, because I married a man who is a business owner. It’s funny.”

Coincidentally, Tor Sweeney’s company is called Dresses.com. It’s a clothing manufacturer that makes prom dresses and wedding dresses.

And yes, she says, people often also ask if she owns that company, not MyCorporation.com.

2. Women just aren’t as entrepreneurial as men.

“Women have a difficult time conceptualizing for themselves what entrepreneurship is about,” Sweeney says.

That’s because they don’t have enough role models, she says. Sweeney has met young women who say they want to be entrepreneurs but eventually pivot to another career, working for a company.

Sweeney notes that many of the women coming to MyCorporation.com are venturing into entrepreneurship for the first time, whereas many of the men are serial entrepreneurs who have used her company’s services multiple times.

3. Women don’t achieve as much success as entrepreneurs as they do in the corporate world.

Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg sparked a national discussion in 2013 on how women can reach their goals in corporate America with the release of her best-selling book, “Lean In.”

“Many women who ‘lean in’ can be successful,” Sweeney says. “That’s what they want. I wanted more. I wanted not to have to hire a nanny to be with my kids. The way I could do that was to run my own business.”

Besides, she says, she simply was not happy in the corporate world. “You can be extremely successful, but I was going crazy,” she says. “You can forge your own path as an entrepreneurial woman,” and “compete on your own playing field.”

“I always say ‘reach up’ instead of ‘lean in,’” she says.

4. Running a small business is more time consuming than working in the corporate world.

Most people assume running your own business means working outrageously long hours. For female entrepreneurs, that has typically meant added pressure, given the traditional, if outdated, roles they’re often expected to play in the home.

But outrageous hours are another misconception, Sweeney says. She quit a corporate job six years ago to become an entrepreneur and says it “actually presents a fabulous opportunity” for achieving a better work-life balance.

For one thing, she stresses, “you’re not mandated by corporate America to work certain hours.”

5. Your children and family will suffer because of your small business.

Her work certainly keeps her busy, and she admits “you never stop thinking about your business when you’re a business owner.”

There are certain things she’s not able to do with and for her two sons. “We don’t do play dates in the afternoon,” she says.

But being a small-business owner has made her a more effective parent, she says.

“Some say, ‘I can never be an entrepreneur as a mom.’ And I say, ‘It has given me flexibility.’ You can find the right balance when you’re the master of your own destiny.”

Yes, her schedule can get hectic. “At 2 p.m., I run and pick my kids up and take them to work with me,” she says.

But that’s been good for her children, she says. When they’re with their friends, she says, “I hear them talk, ‘There’s my mom’s office and she has 30 employees.’”

“There’s something about engaging your family in your career,” Sweeney says. “They see an example of work ethic and believe in it.”

More From NerdWallet:

MONEY Kids and Money

Shark Tank for Kids: This Game Delivers the American Dream

A cattleman from Peoria, IL gets a second chance to show the Sharks what he's learned about his gourmet meat business since his Season 4 visit to the Tank.
Kelsey McNeal—ABC

Educators are using reality TV as a model for teaching kids about money. Here's why it works.

As part of his middle school history and civics classes, James Kindle incorporates a segment on money. He calls it Shark Tank after the popular TV show, and while the idea is to introduce personal financial concepts and entrepreneurship what Kindle believes he really teaches is how to achieve the American dream.

Just like the competitors in the TV show, Kindle’s students must come up with a business idea, write a proposal, and pitch the concept to teacher “investors.” He’s a pretty good pitchman himself. Bringing financial education alive through his Shark Tank program at Sullivan Community School in Minneapolis, Minn., earned Kindle first place in the PwC Financial Literacy Innovation Challenge and a $50,000 prize for his school.

“I want to give my students a taste of this dream, while teaching persuasive language, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills,” Kindle wrote in a request for funding. In an email, he added “while it might be awhile before my students are meeting with investors and venture capitalists to fund their business ideas, it won’t be long until they are presenting at science and history fairs, competing in speech and debate, or meeting with college admissions officers.” So his program teaches presentation skills, too.

As one of the judges in the PwC Charitable Foundation contest, I can say that what resonates in Kindle’s program is the game-based approach to a difficult subject, along with the infusion of popular culture to make the experience relevant. These were common traits of all top finishers. The results suggest to both parents and educators that they would do well to keep the principles of fun, hands-on, and timely instruction in mind when trying to teach young people about money.

Second place went to a history and civics class at Lawrence County High School in Moulton, Ala., where they play Biggest Loser, also modeled after a popular TV show. Students visit “exercise stations” where they choose a loan or credit card or make some other decision to help them lose “weight” (debt). Who knew reality TV could serve a purpose? Other finalist programs were organized around things like how much various careers pay, and everyday saving and spending decisions.

“Mr. Kindle’s Shark Tank lesson bases financial literacy around core values and behaviors versus facts and figures in order to teach skills like persuasion, negotiation and ownership,” says Shannon Schuyler, PwC corporate responsibility leader. “The idea was contagious, authentic and, most importantly, fun.”

Interestingly, this contest’s winners are taking bows even as educators around the country wrestle with the role of play in learning. With today’s focus on formal education, kids are being asked at earlier and earlier ages to put away the blocks and listen to their teachers lecture. Yet some researchers say this “head start” may backfire. Rebecca Marcon, a psychology professor at the University of North Florida, found that pre-school students allowed to learn through play earned significantly higher grades in the third and fourth grade. With financial education, especially, most experts agree that a game-based approach works best.

One study found that when good instruction is paired with high-quality digital games there is a 12% jump in cognitive learning outcomes. The game-oriented H&R Block Budget Challenge has produced evidence that this type of learning significantly improves financial know-how. Says Kindle: “Using games always increases student engagement. An activity that seems mind-numbingly boring, when slightly twisted into a game, suddenly becomes thrilling.”

Relevance and timeliness are also important. Modeling programs after Shark Tank and Biggest Loser gave students an instant touchstone. At home, parents trying to make a financial point might choose an opportune moment—perhaps when their teen is getting an iPhone upgrade, which means more to them than the incremental cost of your adjustable-rate mortgage as bond yields tick higher.

Understanding personal finance isn’t just a way to make ends meet. As the enterprising middle school teacher from Minneapolis might say, it’s how you achieve the American dream.

Read next: Kids and Money: The Search for What Really Works

TIME Startups

These Are the Best Cities to Launch a Business in the U.S.

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From Memphis to Tulsa

When you think of the prime place to start a business, what springs to mind? If it has the word “Silicon” in front of it, the findings of a new study from Washington, D.C.-based personal finance platform WalletHub may surprise you.

The survey took a look at the 150 biggest cities in the United States to figure out where new companies were most likely to succeed and where they were most likely to fail. The city of Shreveport, La., came out on top, while Newark, N.J., came in at the bottom.

The cities were ranked based on their business environment and access to resources. WalletHub and 13 professors of business from colleges and universities across the country used a methodology system of 13 points, which included the cost of office space, employee availability, annual income, taxes, cost of living, the education level of the population and the number of small businesses per capita, among others.

If you’re looking for the least expensive office space, you might want to look into Toledo, Ohio. Meanwhile, Salt Lake City was found to have the most accessible financing and you’ll find the highest employee availability (the number of open positions minus the number of out of work residents) in Fresno, Calif.

For more information, check out the full list over at WalletHub.

Best Cities to Start a Business Worst Cities to Start a Business
1. Shreveport, LA
2. Tulsa, OK
3. Springfield, MO
4. Chattanooga, TN
5. Jackson, MS
6. Sioux Falls, SD
7. Memphis, TN
8. Augusta, GA
9. Greensboro, NC
10. Columbus, GA
141. Anaheim, CA
142. San Jose, CA
143. Santa Ana, CA
144. Oakland, CA
145. Ontario, CA
146. Fremont, CA
147. Yonkers, NY
148. Garden Grove, CA
149. Jersey City, NJ
150. Newark, NJ

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

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TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Things You Can Do to Impress Your Boss

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Propose solutions

Working at a startup is worlds different from a corporate job. As your team navigates the uncharted waters of industry disruption in a bootstrapped-vessel, with big dreams and a small bank account, the expectations of your supervisor has may seem unrealistic at times. Structures of support might not yet be in place, and resources scarce. And yet, you face higher scrutiny because the stakes are higher.

Most of these pressures aren’t solved by possessing a single technical skill. In fact, much of what separates a good startup employee and a great one comes down to emotional intelligence. Here are seven ways to impress your boss at a startup:

Make them irrelevant

As the company grows, even the broadest role will become more specialized in time. Your manager wants to see you own responsibilities and run with them. This frees up their time to think about the bigger picture while advancing you professionally. What are you doing to take on more and see your skills point upward?

Manage up

Your boss might not be the most experienced manager, or their management cycles may be diluted by having to execute themselves. Be allies in your growth. Share in the responsibility of managing you by communicating what you need. Do you want to discuss your performance, or future with the company? Initiate the conversation yourself.

Propose solutions

No one likes it when someone drops a problem in their lap, expecting them to do the work. The counterexample to this is the person who won’t address challenges until they become catastrophes. Make sure you are neither of these people.

Grow yourself and others

Working at a startup, your learning curve is bound to be formidable, and the needs of the company constantly in flux. At Startup Institute, this one is a must—commit to your own growth and catalyze this in others.

Adapt easily to change

The concept of wearing multiple hats doesn’t always mean doing so concurrently. Over time, changes in team, product roadmap, or external circumstances will change your role. Your ability to adapt and remain high-impact through different organizational structures and industry landscapes will have a direct correlation with how long you last at a startup.

Be optimistic and audacious

On the roller coaster ride of startups, do you clench your eyes shut and beg it to end safely, or do you throw your hands up in the air, channelling the fear into courage? Startup work is challenging and risky, and often an uphill climb. Maintaining your positivity and can-do attitude is key to culture and success.

Fight nice

Growth only occurs under stress, and the interpersonal version of stress is conflict. It’s unavoidable in startups, but how well you embrace and harness conflict to resolution and greater outcomes make all the difference.

Startup work is not for the faint-of-heart. It takes true dedication, initiative, and passion to meet the expectations that your company leadership has of you. But then again, if you really are cut-out for it, these are probably not far-off from the expectations you have of yourself.

This article originally appeared on Startup Institute.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Why You Should Start More Than One Business

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Because one company is not enough

There are two types of entrepreneurs: Those who start one company and those who start lots of companies.

Those who start lots of companies like to describe themselves as “serial entrepreneurs,” which may or may not be slightly fatuous. Those who start just one company may think of themselves as “business owners” once the thrill of the entrepreneurial journey has ebbed.

If you’ve started one company, you can do it again. And you probably should. One company is not enough.

I will explain why.

Starting multiple businesses guarantees that life will never be boring.

Let’s face it. Entrepreneurship is a rush. Whereas most people get into business to make a living, I find that a life worth living includes starting businesses.

After having started a few, I want to start more. Running a business is exciting in its own right, and I continue to do so on a daily basis. Starting them, however, has a set of unique challenges and thrills.

Keep starting companies and you’ll never live another boring day in your life.

Multiple businesses can provide financial security.

If excitement isn’t your thing, then maybe financial security is more palatable.

According to CrunchBase, the average successful U.S. startup raises $41 million and exits with $242 million. Notice, however, that is only successful startups. For every one successful startup, there are as many as nine unsuccessful startups. Angel.co puts the average valuation of their startup list (not all successful) at $4.3 million.

Not every startup turns out like Apple ($590 billion valuation), Facebook ($200 billion valuation), Airbnb or Uber. Those companies are the rare exceptions, not the general rule. If you want to sit on a future mountain of cash, you may have to start more than one company.

Starting multiple businesses allows you to stay fresh.

Every time you start a new company, you learn something new.

In my entrepreneurial pursuits, I’ve launched businesses in industries that I knew nothing about going into. Learning is half the fun of doing, and keeps your mind sharp and your skills fresh.

Not starting another business is a waste of your personal experience.

One of the worst things that you can do with your experience is to let it waste away. Experience is meant to be used, shared and acted upon — not stifled.

When you have the experience of starting a successful company (or an unsuccessful company, for that matter), you can turn around and use that experience to do it again. Or, you can use that experience to teach others how to do it.

Experience is one of the most valuable takeaways from founding a company.

Starting a business creates a valuable network that makes it easier to start another company.

Another valuable entrepreneurial asset is your personal network. When you start a company, you meet investors, advisors, other entrepreneurs, vendors, service providers and other people who help to grow a business.

These relationships are highly valuable. They enrich you personally and they allow you to create the platform upon which to build more companies.

Starting a network from scratch is tough. The game of who-do-you-know-that-I-can-meet gets old fast. Owning such a network, however, has value that goes way beyond money.

Starting more businesses gives you exponentially more influence.

Revenue isn’t the only thing that grows bigger with more businesses. Your influence grows, too.

Serial entrepreneurs don’t remain out of the limelight long. Because of their experience, they are called upon to share their experience, speak at conferences, participate in panels, provide interviews, and write blogs.

Such influence can be exhausting, but it’s also rewarding. Influence is part of your personal brand, which you can then leverage to earn even more.

The more businesses you start, the better you become.

The first time you do anything, you’re barely hanging on. The second time you do it, you get a little bit better. The third time, you’re starting to develop confidence. The fourth and fifth time, you feel like you’re getting the hang of it.

This is true for starting businesses, too. With every new business, you’re building on knowledge, brand visibility, marketing experience, and other resources, creating a business that is even better than the one before.

Why would you do it only once when you can get better with each successive attempt?

You can build every successive business faster than the one before.

Everything about building a business takes time — funding, marketing, development, research, strategizing, etc.

These time-consuming activities become easier and quicker every time you do it. You can spend less time finding VCs, writing proposals, searching for vendors, hiring developers, developing a marketing plan or researching your target market.

Each new attempt goes quicker, meaning that you can launch a successful business in just a fraction of the time. Starting only one seems like a definite lack of strategy.

Some warnings on serial entrepreneurship.

Starting lots of businesses is every bit as exciting as I’ve indicated. That being said, you need to keep in mind that there are risks, disappointments and stressors. Let me provide a few disclaimers.

  • Beware when starting any business. To be an entrepreneur is to take risk. To live life in general is to have risk. Based on my experience and disposition, I tend to think that to be an entrepreneur is to take less risk than, say, giving your life and livelihood to work for someone else’s company. Entrepreneurship has its own sets of risks.
  • You don’t have to break up with your old business. When you start a business, you become deeply invested in its success and future. When you start a new company, you aren’t neglecting the old one. You can still run it, coach it, advise it and profit from it.
  • Take a break between businesses. Even though starting businesses is fun, you’ll benefit more if you unplug now and then. I suggest taking a nice, long break between business ventures. You’ve earned it.

Conclusion

The more you start, the better you get. Launching a single business is only the start of a promising and successful future as a serial entrepreneur.

If you’ve started one business, good for you. Now, go and do it again.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

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