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4 Things You Can Do NOW to Create a Future as an Entrepreneur

Discover actionable insights to becoming an entrepreneur.
Four Things You Can Do NOW To Create a Future as an Entrepreneur - Article by Jeremy Ames, CEO and Co-Founder of Guidant Financial

“I definitely want to start a business someday in the future.”

This is a common statement I hear from people when explaining what I do. Many dream of the freedom, autonomy, and financial opportunity of owning a business. Yet most don’t know where to start.

As an accidental entrepreneur, I get it. I was lucky enough to fall into my first business opportunity. I was fortunate enough to get repeated opportunities to affordably fail while I learned how to be a business owner. But you don’t have to wait to be lucky.

Regardless of how far into the future your dream of business ownership resides, there are things you can do today to create future possibilities and increase your chances of success.

Working on these four things NOW will increase the likelihood of you becoming a successful business owner in the future:

1. Pay Down Debt and Reduce Expenses

In 20+ years of working with aspiring entrepreneurs, the most common thing I’ve seen that holds people back is the fear of going without a paycheck.

As people age and progress in their careers, their income generally increases. Unfortunately, for most of us (me included), our expenses grow proportionally to that increasing income. This creates a set of golden handcuffs that can tie us to jobs that don’t align with our dreams or goals. 

Reducing expenses and paying down debt gives us more flexibility. I’ve seen too many businesses fail because new business owners need to draw significant compensation from the business to cover their personal lifestyles.

High personal burn rates will limit our ability to support the cash flow needs of a new business, and, in many cases, also contribute to fear-based decision-making that can sink the business.

Remember: The more debt we have — and the more expenses we carry on a monthly basis — the less likely it is we will be able to muster the courage to leave the certainty of a job (and its paycheck) for the uncertainty of a new business.

2. Sock Away Money in Your 401(k) or IRA

The government gives us tax breaks to save money for our retirement. Most people know that.

What many people don’t know is that you can use retirement funds to invest in buying or starting a new business.

At Guidant, we’ve helped more than 30k people successfully direct their retirement funds into business ownership — all while bypassing any early withdrawal penalties or taxes. The common term used to describe these plans are Rollovers for Business Start-ups, or ROBS for short. If want to understand more about how ROBS plans work, check out Guidant’s FREE ROBS white paper explaining them in detail. 

Regardless, saving for our future is a smart choice. If we never end up starting a small business, then the worst-case scenario is that we’ll have a stockpile of resources to open up more possibilities for when and how we retire.

3. Practice Making Calculated Decisions with Uncertainty

Running a business is like playing poker. We can lose with a great hand and win with a poor hand.

Yet, over time, successful poker players are the ones who most consistently bet when the odds are in their favor and fold when they are not.

One simple way to build this skill is to keep a decision journal. We can track meaningful decisions we have to make. We can journal about the possible outcomes and how we think about the likelihood of each. We can capture our assumptions driving what we think is the best course of action.

The key here is to build self-awareness and to make decisions. Nothing will stall a business out faster than an entrepreneur who can’t make a decision because they are waiting for everything to be perfect and/or certain.

Learning to be a better entrepreneurial decision-maker requires putting in the reps, making decisions when we aren’t sure. We need to practice making decisions when we have limited information while refining our sense of the right amount of time and effort to invest in the decision-making process.

4. Invest in Your Education and Connections

Becoming a successful business owner involves a different set of skills and competencies than most jobs out there.

I’ve seen many aspiring entrepreneurs that have been managers in large companies and believe it’s going to be as simple as taking their management skills to a new business. Management is undoubtedly a component of running a successful small business. But there are many other skills needed as well.

The biggest one is a shift in mindset. In corporations, problems are solved by committees, outsourced agencies and large budgets. Small business requires a scrappy, creative, action-oriented approach.

Want to learn to become an entrepreneur? Invest in your entrepreneurial education. Read books about entrepreneurship, small business, psychology, and strategy. Find ways to experiment with the concepts you learn. Tap into the entrepreneurs in your network. Take them out to coffee and ask about their journey. Dig deeply into your strengths and grow your self-awareness. This will help you find the right business to start your own journey when the time is right.


The key takeaway? Your entrepreneurial journey can only happen ‘someday’ because of the preparations you’ve made in all the ‘yesterdays’ leading up to it. You can increase both your probabilities of becoming a business owner and your chances of success by taking one or all of these four steps now.

If you’re ready to take the next step, Guidant Financial can be your partner in entrepreneurial success. With a proven track record of funding and supporting over 30,000 small businesses across the U.S., we’re equipped to fuel your business venture. Whether you’re launching a startup or expanding an existing enterprise, let Guidant help pave the way for your success.

Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!

Jeremy Ames is the Co-Founder and CEO of Guidant Financial, a company that has helped launch of over 30,000 small businesses since 2003. Jeremy’s experience as a business owner spans both franchises and start-ups. He has owned three franchise businesses across the real estate, personal services, and wellness sectors and also founded or co-founded five other businesses, including ventures in the media and business services industries. He is a staunch advocate for small business ownership, believing it to be the best route to personal and financial independence.

Want to Use ROBS to Start a Business?

Our step-by-step Guide to Rollovers for Business Startups is a complete handbook of everything you need to know about using ROBS to start or buy a small business or franchise.

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