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  • Writer's pictureValerie Clay

How I Became an Entrepreneur

Updated: Aug 4

You can start a service-based company literally from nothing. All you need is the drive and passion to make it work.

At age fifteen, my aunt hired me to help her clean houses.

The only other thing I could find at that age was a job at a fast food restaurant making $3.80 per hour.

My Aunt made an average of $55 per job and was usually done within 2 hours. I never even started the fast food job, even after being hired, because what she did made much more sense to me.

Realizing the income potential, I started asking around to see if the people I knew needed their houses cleaned. Before long, I was cleaning regularly.

Even though my friends made fun of my job, I gave it my all, as my future depended on it.

They thought it was a maid's job and teased me about scrubbing toilets for a living. What's the difference between scrubbing a fast food restaurant's toilet or one in someone's house?

I realized even at an early age that people's thought processes were a little distorted so I didn't let it bother me. What they didn't know was that I had a plan.

While they were all earning minimum wage, I was at home building my business.

I would have had to work about 13-14 hours at a fast food job to make the kind of money I was making cleaning one house a day so I let them talk about me. I never have worked a job so that others would be impressed with me. What I care about is my bottom line.

As I got older, most of my friends wanted a title they could be proud of. I have to admit that rubbed off on me, so I took an online design class and started my own decorating business.

At the end of the day, I cared more about flexibility, freedom, and my bottom line so I continued to grow my cleaning business.

I learned that impressing other people really adds no value to your life. I was making quite a bit of money from my businesses so I didn't worry about what others thought.

Over the years, the flexibility to be able to make my own schedule and have the rest of my day free was pretty awesome.

As I aged, the importance of having that kind of freedom and flexibility increased as I had children and a home to maintain. I wanted to be able to go on their field trips, be a room mom, and take them to the park after school. I also wanted to keep them out of daycare.

I increased my pay every so often by increasing what I charged. I charged above what I felt my current income would have been if I were working for someone else, to cover expenses.

When you're in business for yourself you have to take into account all of the small expenses such as fuel for your car, clothing you use for work, and even minor details such as personal items used for business such as copy paper or ink.

I developed different skills over the years and offered more services as a result.

I eventually added organizing as a service and got paid very well for it. Organizing was useful in the cleaning industry and brought in more money than cleaning did.

My clientele immediately increased and I saw the potential to turn my business into something more than just a maid's job.

I was sometimes making an entire week’s income off of one organizing job.

Start Small

I told you my business history story because the point is, you have to start small. Start with a side gig and work your way up. Don't jump head-first into charging outrageous fees that you don't have the skills to justify.

Don't forget to take into account what other people are making, inflation, taxes, insurance, expenses, and payroll taxes.

Over the course of about 12 years, I worked my way up. Once I hired a couple of employees I made more money than ever but was no longer having to do all the hard work.

The difference between being an entrepreneur and being self-employed depends on who is doing all of the work. If you are doing all of the hard work you are just simply self-employed.

An entrepreneur hires help and then makes money in other areas.

Even as a self-employed person, the best perk is being your own boss and setting your own schedule.

Starting a side gig is a great idea, but your full-time job is your ace in the hole. Don't quit your day job until there is a need to manage your business full-time.

I didn't have my first child until I was 25 so I had ten years to build my business before then. If you have people depending on you, the best solution for extra income is to work a side gig.

Then if you're blessed enough to turn it into full-time, go for it!

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