How to Start Your Own Business
Meet the media whiz.

So you want to be an entrepreneur.

You’ve got big ideas, but before you start your business, start brainstorming.

Product or service?

The first step is to decide what your business is going to be. Your passion will show in your product or service and help create customer bonds that last, so pick something you’re passionate about.

Would you rather sell a product or a service?

Services involve actions that you do for people. For example, if you like animals, you could have a pet-sitting service and watch people’s animals while they’re out of town.

Products are tangible items that you sell to people. If you’re crafty, you could knit hats and scarves and sell them to people in the winter.

No matter what you pick, make sure there’s a demand for it. You won’t sell anything if people don’t need it.

Shore up the pillars of marketing

Once you’ve decided to start a business and picked your product or service, you’ve got to market it. When marketing, think about the four pillars, or the four Ps, of marketing:

We’ve already looked at product, so let’s move on to price.

What to charge?

2218_ben_160Meet the songwriter.

Price, what you charge, is very important. If the price isn’t right, people won’t buy.

As you undoubtedly learned in economics class, price depends on many factors, including supply and demand.

If there's no demand for your business at your chosen rates, you may have to lower your price. If you have more work than you can handle, consider raising your rates.

You may need to do some market research before setting your price.

If you’re offering a service and want to determine how much to charge an hour, start with the federally mandated minimum wage. While you can always get minimum wage at a fast food joint, many high school students have skills that can command higher than minimum wage.

For example, if you produce professional quality Web design, you're entitled to charge what professional Web designers charge. If you’re not sure what the going rate is, join a young entrepreneur forum and ask your questions.

Once you know what you're selling and charging, you'll need to promote yourself...

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