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Ready to be your own boss?

It has been almost a year since the coronavirus pandemic arrived here in the U.S. While essential workers continued to work in a new environment, other jobholders were sent home to work from their dining room tables, often while trying to manage kids who were suddenly home from school. And millions of others lost their jobs either temporarily or permanently.

Thousands and thousands of people have entered the ‘gig’ economy, piecing together paychecks from multiple part-time ventures or have relied on unemployment. For many people who are lucky enough to still be working, the pandemic has caused them to do some serious thinking about their jobs and career trajectories.

In online forums and around the dinner table, conversations are starting about new jobs, going back to school and career changes. And as time goes on, we hear more and more success stories!

In Alexandria, Virginia, where we have many members, we’ve watched as people open new restaurants, pet stores, and various franchises. In Harrisonburg, we’ve seen a lot of this happen, too. Members have come to us to use some of their home equity to fund a new business or take out student loans to go back to school. And we’re happy to support them in any way we can.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you happy in your job now? Are you only staying in your current job because you get health insurance? If you’ve ever wanted to start your own business, here are 3 questions to ask yourself:

  • What problem am I solving for my potential customers? See if you can get your answer down to just two sentences and then start telling your family and friends. If you start hearing, “That’s a great idea!” from them, that’s a good sign.
  • What funding do I need to get started? You may be able to keep doing your ‘gig’ or keep your job while starting your new business as a “side hustle.” If that’s not possible, it’s time to create a budget and look at what resources you can tap into such as your home equity or other savings. (CommonWealth One’s financial advisers are really good at helping you with this part!)
  • What’s the competition doing? Research your industry, including who your competitors are in the local area and nationally. Figuring out their business model, their strengths and weaknesses can help get you started.

Want to learn more? Check out our free online financial education resource Banzai.

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