Now Read This: Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months

If entrepreneurship is your objective, Melinda Emerson offers a step-by-step road map

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Emerson provides an encouraging, but practical guide to getting your business off the ground.

A while back, I wrote a blog post, “Memo To Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Learn Before You Launch.” It was my effort to communicate to would-be business owners–many of them looking to escape hated jobs, desperate for an income solution after being laid off, or eager to make fast money as a mogul on the rise–that there are no easy short-cuts to successful, sustainable entrepreneurship. Too often, I and my colleagues at Black Enterprise have to tell the inconvenient truth: being your own boss takes lots of time. It takes diligent planning. It takes great, mutually supportive relationships and contacts. And most of all, it takes work, work and more work. (And did I mention work?)

Those unwilling to embrace this truth usually end up doing entrepreneurship the hardest and most costly way possible–by trial and error–and become unhappy and frustrated, if not bankrupt. Or, intimidated, they give up on their dreams of business ownership altogether, deciding that they are not really cut out for the risks and challenges of entrepreneurship. (And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.) The rest get their mind, body, relationships and resources committed to learning exactly what it will require to take their venture from potential opportunity to profitable enterprise. These are the ones who go on to launch, build and run successful, profitable businesses.

If you’re in the last group, or aspire to be, I strongly recommend you read Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works by Melinda F. Emerson. The founder and CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, a marketing video production company, Emerson does more than just steer you away from mythical short-cuts. She literally provides a month by month road map, with critical checkpoints along the way, for anyone who is truly committed to their entrepreneurial journey, bringing clarity to the fundamentals of starting a business in any industry.

Become Your Own Boss In 12 Months is not a substitute for other books aimed at helping entrepreneurs get new ventures off the ground. For example, while Emerson, a small-business consultant, devotes a chapter to business plan writing, there are other good books totally devoted to that topic. However, if you’re serious about entrepreneurship, Become Your Own Boss could well be the first book in a steady regimen of self-education and continuous learning common to all outstanding entrepreneurs. Become Your Own Boss In 12 Months is ideal as required reading before moving on to books on more specialized aspects (business planning, incorporation and financing, etc.) of launching a business.

What Emerson does best is to give aspiring business owners constant reality checks along the way, avoiding the rah-rah, inspirational tone of many books which champion entrepreneurship. Instead, Emerson blends enthusiasm for business ownership and an encouraging demeanor, while unflinchingly addressing the price entrepreneurs must anticipate, plan for, and be prepared to pay to achieve their objectives, including potential strain on marriages and other relationships, as well as the inevitable impact on their finances and their lifestyles as a whole. The fact that Emerson leads off by emphasizing that would be entrepreneurs must establish a life plan before creating a business plan–and that the two must line-up and be compatible, if not integrated, with each other–may be the best thing about the book.

If you’re even thinking about starting your own business some day–or even if you’re an established entrepreneur who started on the path to business ownership without a road map and need help deciding where to go next–do yourself a favor: Now read this. You’ll thank me later. Actually, you’ll be thanking Emerson.

  • Hey Alfred—

    Thank you so much for helping to get the word out about my book Become Your Own Boss in 12 months.  Since I subscribed to Black Enterprise in the late 90’s I have kept almost every issue. You all do such a great job of helping people take their careers and businesses to the next level. It means the world to me that you love my book.

    Keep up the great work.

    Melinda F. Emerson

  • pam

    This is awesome. GREAT BOOK. Your interview exudes your energy:

    • Ajay

      Great advice. I would say Marketing 102 would be to accpet flaws in your plan and make the necessary adjustments. If you can’t accpet that your plans always have flaws, it will stifle you at step one. Too many people make their plans their sacred cows! But without plans, there’s no focus- which leads to wasted time and effort. Plans are an unavoidable first step.

    • Delaine

      Szia!Megne9ztem a munke1idat e9s nagyon tentsezek.Nekfcnk van egy 130nm-es tetőteres csale1di he1zunk.Szeretne9m e1talakittatni kivfcl-bekfcl.Szeretne9m a segedtse9gedet ke9rni.Kf6szf6nf6m:edi

  • FABULOUS BOOK!!!!! A must read for those would be business owners. Thanks Melinda for having the vision to help answer the questions that we have along our way to business success.

  • Renee Truitt

    I’m so glad I read the blog. I am self-employed, building my business and my sister and I are launching a business together. I wll make sure I purchase this resource this weekend. Thank you for sharing.

  • This is wonderful Melinda and thanks Alfred Edmond, Jr. for the information.  This is a must read.

  • Ms. Melinda:
    Your blog is inspiring and interesting. Great advice and something for everyone aspiring to start a business or those like me who have been in business for more than 20 years. Keep up the GREAT work and keep us learning from your wisdom. I appreciate YOU.

  • Mimi

    awesome read. I have been a police officer over 15yrs and I always wanted to be my own boss to have free time. Life is different now because I hung in there..thanks again

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  • I just wanted to stop by to thank everyone for their comments. I truly believe that Melinda’s book and others like it can help new entrepreneurs to avoid the painful, costly and demoralizing trial-and-error experiences that characterize too much of small business ownership, and black entrepreneurship in particular.

  • christina

    Good article. Catchy title. Just wish it had more practical advice. Now I have to make another stop and buy a book before I can get the information. Would like more details next time.

    • Ummm….Christina? This is a book review. The whole point is to write just enough about the book to help you decide whether or not to buy and read it. My practical advice, for this particular post, is that you should buy and read the book.

      By the way, this is just one of many books you will likely have to read to get all of the practical advice and information you’ll need to launch, sustain and grow a profitable business.

  • Michalea Smith

    I currently have a home daycare and I am looking to expand with the next year.My husband is an accountant and wants top start his open business, so we are going out today and pick up this book. I was ver inspired by the blog

  • Francess Clarkson

    Melinda your book is great, thanks for such incredible job well done. My dream is to be a business owner, your book will be a good source for me.

  • Morris Anderson

    Loved the book! I think that the sections on social marketing are particularly good in helping folks use 21st century tools to start and grow their businesses. Great job Melinda

    M. Anderson
    Marketing Consultant

  • Loved what I read in the blog can’t wait until I get the book.

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  • Jennifer Williams

    I just bought my copy. I been in business for 9 years for myself and recently moved to another state. My success back in Washington was from friends and family memebers that knew me. Now I feel like I need a little more help. So wish me luck!

  • Jenie

    Szia Meli!Nagyon tetszenek a munke1id. Reme9lem tudsz segedteni. c9pfclf6 he1zunk lsaasn a feste9shez e9rkezik. Mivel a tetf6 faszerkezetes, azt mondta a festf6, hogy fel kellene tennie ezeket a stukkf3kat, diszle9ceket, mivel a he1z mindig mozogni fog, repedezik. A plafon gipszkarton. Nekfcnk ezek a diszle9cek egye1ltale1n nem tetszenek. Nincs valami me1s megolde1s a repedezettse9g elkerfcle9se9re?Ve1laszodat elf6re is kf6szf6nf6m!dcdv. Df3ri