By Chanda Temple
I have a friend interested in leaving her full-time job to start her own business. But what’s stopping her is that she’s single. She says she’d prefer to have a husband as a safety net to help with the mortgage and living expenses in case her business fails or is slow to produce income.
When married, she knows she’d love her husband and care for him, but she’d also love the idea of having a mate as a “cushion” in the event her business flops.
My friend’s comments got me thinking: What do single female entrepreneurs think about this? I posed the question to Melinda Emerson, a divorced, Philadelphia mother of one who’s known as “America’s No. 1 Small Business Expert.”
Melinda, nicknamed the Small Biz Lady, got real in five seconds flat: A husband is not a back-up plan in business.
“Listen, when I first started my company 15 years ago, I was single, I got married and later I got divorced,” she says in a YouTube video I recorded for this blog. “And I have been by myself for the last five years. So if I can do it, you can do it, too.”
Melinda, author of “Becoming Your Own Boss in 12 Months,” says that anyone with a plan, can start a business. But they must be smart about the approach.
“You have to plan for success. It just won’t happen,” says Melinda, 41.
She’ll be a featured speaker at the Essence Festival this week in New Orleans. Melinda reaches about 3 million entrepreneurs a week via social media, has won numerous business awards, has appeared on countless national news networks and has a blog on The Huffington Post. Forbes Magazine named her the No. 1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter.
She’s advised companies such as Pitney Bowes, FedEx, Verizon, Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo on how to construct media, social media and marketing strategies to increase their share of the growing small business market. One of her missions is to eliminate small business failure.
Here are her three tips for singles:
1) Have a life plan
Does your business help you build your personal and professional goals? Once you have a plan and work your plan, you won’t have to be fearful.
2) Have the money
People who have savings, have options. If you are ready to start a small business, you have to have money set aside to do it. What are you doing to gain the money for your business? If you are currently employed and want to start a business, you need to be saving 20 to 40 percent of every paycheck to help ween yourself off of those paychecks. Look at the expenses you currently have. Where can cutbacks be made? Start building your resources now to help start your business down the road.
3) Identify your niche customer
Do you have a specific customer in mind? Are you offering a product or service that will solve their problem? Find your niche and stand out in the market place.
“Here’s the deal: It’s hard to run a small business. There are going to be plenty of days when you get down on yourself or down on your staff,” she says in a video on her website. “But the thing about it is, don’t give that (moment) a lot of time…”
Recognize it and move on.
“What you’ve got to understand is that (failure is) just part of the process. You don’t lose, you just learn,” she says. “And if you think about it that way, you will always be able to move forward.”
Want to hear more from her? Go here to see her entire video message for small business owners.
FIVE QUICK QUESTIONS WITH MELINDA EMERSON
What scares you? Nothing scares me. Nothing keeps me up at night. The thing I’m hopeful for is that God sends me a partner who is not intimidated by me but supports me, loves me, cherishes me and loves my son.
What gets you going in the morning? I don’t use an alarm clock. God wakes me up every morning at 5:30 and I fellowship with Him every time. I thank Him for my ex and my son and I pray for discernment and wisdom…
Who’s your hero or mentor? The best mentor I have is my father. He’s been gone for 11 years. He told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. I still hear him saying, “You wouldn’t know good days if it wasn’t for bad days.”
Professionally, it’s Oprah. She’s always looking for ways to grow herself.
Any regrets? No. I believe you never fail. You either win or you learn.
Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business, building buzz and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple. Contact her at email@example.com.