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Why Your Small Business Dreams Are the Doorway to Your Future Success Story

This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust.  All opinions are my own.

Have you ever dreamt of owning your own business? There are a lot of strong women in my life who have turned their hobbies and dreams of owning their own businesses into a reality, and I have admired them from the sidelines. How have they been able to do this? They're moms, with families, and often working other part or full-time jobs. If I have learned anything throughout the years, it's that if there's a will, there's a way, and you can achieve your dreams with hard work and determination.

Turning a passion and hobby into a dream job is easier than you may think.

My dream of owning a small business was more for my mother than it was for myself. She's an incredibly talented and creative woman, with a knack for quilting. It's her passion, really, and it's a creative outlet that allows her to share her passions with others. I'm more of a behind the scenes type of gal when it comes to business- the encourager, the one who isn't afraid to reach out to people or try new things. I knew that if we worked together, we could make her dream of owing her own quilting business a reality. Following a business plan seemed daunting, but once we found an easy to use 15 minute business plan, everything took off rather quickly.

Several years after stepping out of our comfort zones and leaping into the world of small business, we've learned a thing or two along the way. One of the things that we wish we had known at the forefront is that just because you set up a shop online, doesn't mean that you'll have overnight sales that magically come from thin air. It takes work and determination to come up with creative ways to brand and market your business.

Here are my top three tips for starting your own business...

Make a Business Plan

Remember when you were made to make story webs in elementary school? You probably started with a big idea, and then branched out to expand on the idea with all of the little details that would help your story come to life. Making a business plan is necessary for helping you to achieve your goals. You don't have to pour over textbooks and spreadsheets, but having a notebook or idea pad to jot down all of your ideas will help you formulate a tried and true plan for your business. Jot down everything you hope to achieve, and start with the goals that are most attainable. From there, you can work your way up until you reach your main objective.

Take a Class or Ask a Friend/Mentor for Help

There's no shame in asking for help or advice, no matter your age. If you're starting a new business venture, it's wonderful to be able to lean on others for support. Talk to friends or family members who have followed their own respective paths to achieving their small business dreams. Take advantage of all of the amazing advice that's available online from fellow small business owners. Look for blogs that focus on small business. Learn from those who have been in your shoes, and be inspired by their stories. 

You might even consider taking an online course or a class at an online or local community college. Many colleges allow class audits, where you can attend the classes and sponge up information, without working toward a degree or having to write papers, take exams. If you can spare a few hours each week, it may be well worth your time.

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

You've heard this saying a thousand times, and you might even feel it looming over your head as you look to start your small business. Don't let it deter you from following your heart and going after your dreams. Starting out on your best foot financially, will ensure that you have everything you need to reach your goals. Save where you can, even if it means that you have to make household budget cutbacks to get started. Open up a savings or business account that you can put seed money into to help get your business off the ground. Depending on on the type of business you're interested in starting, you might even consider a small business loan.

Take advantage of free forms of marketing and advertising to get the word out about your business. Start a blog and/or business page on Facebook, and build an audience or fan base. Share updates and photos of your work to get others excited about what you're doing. If you have an engaged group of followers, they will be more likely to support you once your business is off the ground.

Look to the SunTrust Small Business Best Practices Guide for more helpful tips on starting your small business.

A sweet and happy customer!

The idea of starting a small business can be frightening, but we live in a day and age where anything is possible. You can have the job you've always wanted. You can share your passions with the world with just one click. It does take hard work, and instant success isn't really a reality, but with the right attitude, simple planning, and a big dream, you really can have it all.

Taking small steps today leads toward big steps for the future!

This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust.  All opinions are my own.

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