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Slowly working your way up the ladder isn’t for everyone — sometimes people want to be the ladder. Many people leave their 9-to-5 jobs dreaming about starting their own business and supporting themselves as their own boss, but very few do. Don’t let the years slip by working in the corporate world; here are five ways that you can become an entrepreneur.

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Start an Etsy Shop

If you think Etsy is a website where people sell knitted bears and button necklaces on the side, think again. Etsy has a whole blog category with case studies of people who were able use the site to support themselves full time. Called “Quit Your Day Job,” there are stories of people who started their own brick-and-mortar stores, have customers across the country, and learned exactly how to brand themselves through Etsy. Think of this website as a stepping-stone to learn about the industry and your competition instead of a cutesy knickknack store.

Find a Business Partner to Lean On

Even though you have support from your family and friends, the idea of going into business alone can be daunting. One way to make it in this harsh world is to find a business partner to help you. On top of having someone to bounce ideas off of and take a chunk of the workload, your partner can provide emotional support for you and offer a fresh perspective when times look rough.

Entrepreneur recommends finding a partner with complimentary skills – someone who offers something you can’t – and who has similar work habits. It’s easy for someone to grow bitter when they think their partner isn’t pulling their weight, so you need someone similar who you can trust.

Return to School for an Entrepreneurship MBA

With the power of the Internet, it’s now significantly easier to return to school and further your education. Some universities have started to offer specific Master’s degrees in entrepreneurship. For example, Villanova University offers online classes and let’s students work toward their MBAs both part and full time. Whether you’re taking the full 21 courses over the span of 20 months, or taking a class or two after work, your knowledge of entrepreneurship will prepare you to eventually start your own business.

Start Your Business During Nights and Weekends

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to immediately support yourself and your family with your product or idea, start building it out and preparing your business in your spare time. If it’s service-based, take on a couple of clients when you get home from work or on the weekends. If it’s product-based, construct the product and deliver it when you get home. Keeping your full-time job until you have a strong client or customer-base gives you time to make mistakes and hone your system before you strike out on your own.

Take a Leap of Faith

While most of the above suggestions have recommended ways to start your business without risking your regular paycheck just yet, those tactics don’t work for everybody. There are some people who need to fully cut their ties and jump full force into business. If they don’t, their company goes from brilliant idea, to side project, to what could have been.

Put in your two weeks notice. If you’ve been fired, that’s great. It’s a much-needed kick in the pants that you needed. If there are lay-offs or other cutbacks where you currently are, it’s a sign. Listen to fate and strike out on your own. Don’t think of it as losing your job, think of it as your current company opening up 40 more hours a week for you to focus on doing what you love.

You’re not going to get very far if you sit around longingly reading articles on the Internet. What steps can you take today to start your own business? What goals can you set for the end of the month, the week, and the day to bring you closer to your dream? Your career as an entrepreneur starts now, are you ready for it?


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Miles Young