For many people, the dream is to retire early and start your own business. Those who strive to retire early are an ambitious lot. For many that includes an undeniable drive to bring a business idea to fruition. Starting your own business will be challenging. But if you do things right it is also very rewarding.
If you plan for succeeding then you have a far better chance of being profitable. I have had two businesses that I started while on my journey to financial independence and early retirement. I later sold them for a modest profit. I am always open to starting another business now that I am retired.
Many people are rejecting the traditional definition of retirement and looking to live life on their terms. Where they happily define retirement as the absence of NEEDING to work. Pursuing passions and interests in retirement, including starting a business are all part of living the early retirement dream. Whether your motivation is creating something of value and personal reward or just earning some extra money doing work aligned with your passions and interests, there are certain attributes that you will need and some strong suggestions you should follow to help you succeed.
Early Retiree Business Start-up Success Attributes
Budgeting and forecasting.
Obviously those who successfully reach early retirement know a thing or two about budgeting and cash flow. Projecting income and sticking to a plan are the same skills that will be necessary as a business owner.
Having a professional network.
Over the course of your career you have met and worked with a number of people who you can call your business contacts that will now come in handy. People who successfully retire early didn’t do so by screwing people over or leaving financial destruction in their wake. People you have in your network that will be of benefit are those in marketing, investing, banking, sales, investing, public relations, advertising, insurance, etc. Having good contacts is a huge benefit.
Having the wisdom to follow a plan, watch for trends and learn from mistakes.
The years it took to reach early retirement means that you most likely had to do a few plan reassessments and re-tweak your plans to stay on course towards your goals. These same abilities are necessary in business.
Have sufficient start-up money
Normally a new business will not generate a lot of income in the first months or even years. This means you must have enough money to carry your business and your personal lifestyle cost until the business becomes an income producing monster. You should also plan on having extra money available to put into the business above your initial plan, call it your business emergency fund. Not to be a total bummer but we need to keep things realistic here. Be ready to put in long hours and understand that there is a high rate of new business failure during start-up. Having the right amount of business and personal financing along with realistic income goals is a huge plus to not being one of those in the failure statistics.
What to do before starting your business
Home based business
Because having a home based business is popular among early retirees we will start with that. Go over your local laws for home operated businesses. Make sure before you get too far into the process that you will be able to have your business startup in your house.
Talk to your insurance agent and go over all the insurance implications associated to your business. Having an idea about the cost will help as you complete the rest of the new business activities.
Select a business name
Pick a good business name and check to see if it is available in URL form for your business web site. If it is then reserve and register it to lock it down immediately. An easy way to check for the URL availability is to use Godaddy.com. You can use Godaddy to register your url or any host provider you choose to house your website. (See my easy and low cost way to create and get your website online). Be cognizant in your business name choice that your business name is the first impression for your business to your customers.
Write up a business plan
A business plan is especially critical if you intend on borrowing money from the bank for your start-up. Your business plan should show how you intend to generate enough income to cover your business costs, your own expenses, and in the case of going to bank or investment firm show how you can make a satisfactory return for them. It should include the following:
- Executive Summary— Plan highlights that pitches your idea in two pages or less.
- Company Summary— A factual description of your company, ownership, and history.
- Products and/or Services— A description of your business products and/or services. Provide a competitive analysis.
- Market Analysis– Provide a summary of your customers, the market size, the competition, and your expected market growth.
- Implementation Plan– You should describe the way you plan to sell your product and/or services.
- Leadership or Management Summary– You should give your experience and background along with anyone else you will have on the management team including any key accomplishments.
- Financial Plan– Probably most looked for because this should contain your key financials. This includes sales, cash flow, and profit projections.
Select your business structure
Consult with an attorney or accountant to go over the best business structure to run under, i.e. sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or corporation.
Keeping your books
Consult with an accountant to understand the necessary bookkeeping and accounting processes necessary to meet all legal, income, tax, and functional business reporting needs.
Have your funding in place
Have enough start-up money way in advance of beginning your business. Use your business plan to decide what amount of money that will be necessary.
Make sure you are legally good to go
Last but not least is make sure you do your homework and get any and all proper licenses and certifications to run your business.
You might want to consider going the Franchising route. Where you can use another firm’s successful business model to start your business. Be very diligent in vetting your target franchise as they do cost a chunk of money to license along with franchise fees. There could also be monthly marketing fees and you having to pay a percentage of your profits back to the franchise. In many cases franchising may offer a higher rate of business start-up success. It may also make it easier to get financing than going on your own where even the franchise company may offer financing. Franchises are referred to as a “Business in a box” because they offer everything you need to start your business including in most cases any required operational manuals, instructions, and training.
I hope you find this page informative to help you Retire Early and Start your own Business.