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Before the age of 30, Felicia Joy was high-powered executive in Corporate America making $167,000 a year. For most, that would signal success; but Joy wasn’t fulfilled. “I felt I wasn’t using my full set of talents,” she says. “I was getting bored and I just felt like there was so much more that I could do.”
Always driven to start her own business, Joy and her former business partner launched their own seminar company offering daylong seminars in hotel conference centers. Unfortunately, six months later, the businesses failed. “That experience shook me to my core, but it also gave me strength. It was not that I could not pursue it, but I needed to be smart about it.” Second time around, Joy decided to keep her regular paycheck while pursuing her business–becoming what she has dubbed as a “Hybrid Entrepreneur.” Since then she has been able to own and represent a diverse portfolio of companies, including Ms. CEO Media, Inc., a fast-growing media enterprise that creates actionable, inspirational content to enable women entrepreneurs to achieve their greatest potential.
In her new book Hybrid Entrepreneurship: How the Middle Class Can Beat the Slow Economy, Earn Extra Income and Reclaim the American Dream ($20, Joy Group Press), Joy shows readers how to overcome fear and self-doubt and how to get additional income that gives you the confidence in your ability to thrive through various economic conditions. We asked her to share some of the things hybrid entrepreneurs should avoid when starting their businesses. Here are her tips:
- Avoidance tactics: Focusing too much on emails, buying supplies, and other administrative duties that are really not helping grow the business.
- Not investing enough in your own development and mentality: We are willing to spend thousands of dollars to get a four year college degree or to go to technical school but when time to pay for workshops or consulting or coaching to grow a business we don’t want to do it. You have to constantly develop yourself; it doesn’t ever stop.
- Comingling personal and business expenses: It’s very important to have separate accounts. If you need pull documents for your accountant, the IRS, or even if you want to grow, hire employees, get investors, a loan and even sell your business, they all want to see that you’ve kept good records. It shows a certain level of savvy that you understand and are disciplined enough to keep business and personal.
- Unprofessional presentation: Create an email address that is at your domain name (which can be bought for as little as $10 a year). Also, have business cards. They are great marketing tool to let people know what you do and how to contact you. Get a business phone number using sites like Magaicjack.com which allows you to forward that number to any phone. You can also get a vanity number for an extra $10. It adds an extra bit of polish to your business image. Send thank you notes or follow-ups on company letterhead. Everyone is emailing these days. The old art of writing and signing letter or handwritten note is kind of impressive.
- Forgeting to network: Join a professional association related to what your business is. It’s just a way to meet more people and to have access to resources that will help you grow as an entrepreneur and help to grow your business.
Looking for more tips on launching your business? Join us at Black Enterprise’s annual Entrepreneurs Conference, taking place May 22-25, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit blackenterprise.com/ec for more details. As an incentive BE is offering you a discount on early registration: Just enter code BEDG295 and receive $200 off.