Running out of time and money are two extremely common challenges for any new business. You need a safety net to prevent you from an unnecessarily rough landing.
Personally, I like to keep it simple. Here are 13 ways to raise money when things go tough:
1. A part-time job
I highly recommend taking a part-time job to supplement your income when starting your business. Find one that’s flexible and doesn’t demand five days a week for eight hours a day. If you can find a part-time job in the industry you’re interested in and can learn from, that’s even better.
2. Freelance work
I began freelancing for toy companies that I approached about licensing my ideas for products. Some eventually did license ideas from me, but the freelance work I was offered helped me pay bills as I was learning how study product lines. I also did freelance work for Mattel as well as other toy companies, which included traveling overseas for manufacturing and design.
3. Develop a side-hustle mentality When You Start a Business
Yes, you want to be self-employed. But there can be great value in gaining industry experience first. Personally, I encourage you to seek out a job a startup. I look at the time I worked at the toy startup Worlds of Wonder as a side-hustle. It was a full-time job, but I was already dreaming about running my own business. I volunteered for every assignment that I could, because it was all a learning opportunity. So no, I don’t think you need to quit your day job right away. Your mindset is what’s most important.
4. Choose a partner wisely
If you’re passionate about becoming an entrepreneur, you will need the support of your spouse. After I quit Worlds of Wonder, being able to depend on my wife Janice was instrumental. I earned income as a freelancer and through temporary gigs, but it was really having the freedom to fail that made a huge difference.
Worlds of Wonder hired me to be a consultant after I left. The pay was great! I was also able to submit my ideas to them and although I didn’t license anything, I was once paid a large holding fee of about $15,000.
6. Stay lean
Like I described above, I started a guitar pick company with three other friends by investing our own money. I believe two of us put in $10,000 and the other two put in about $2,500. We grew from there.
7. Find a partner
I’ve been running my coaching business inventRight with my business partner Andrew Krauss for 20 years. What’s truly amazing about this venture is that we didn’t put in one dollar. We produced seminars for the first couple years and then started selling coaching online. We had no overhead and no costs. No risk, no safety net needed.
It’s possible to get grants from the government to start your business. The process is not complicated, but it must be done correctly.
9. A loan from a friend or family
Personally, I find it very nerve-wracking working with friends and family, especially when borrowing money is involved. I don’t recommend it.
I absolutely love this business model. Pre-selling an idea through crowdfunding allows you to raise capital to start your business with. The major issue is that people think they have a money problem, but it’s really a knowledge problem. This is why so many crowdfunded projects that raise oodles of funds still fail to make it to market. Running a business is not easy, even when you have capital.
I used my savings to start three companies. This is a great safety net, but it requires discipline.
If you focus on selling the benefit of your product idea first, you can spend very little of your own money licensing. No safety net required.
You can stay lean by focusing on a prototype and spending money on ads. Is anyone interested? Today you can do this using social media platforms. Companies in the “As Seen On TV” space run ads for products that don’t actually exist yet. Over the years I tested my ideas at street fairs, festivals, in magazines, and convenience stores. Extremely low risk.
In conclusion, safety nets are very important. Before you start pulling out your hair and not sleeping at night, create a safety net.
This article first appeared on 👉 Entrepreneur.com