How to start a business (or your career) from nothing

how to start a business

My recent meetings with people across the country have revealed that we have so much human potential, and yet such low morale. Fatigued by empty promises from government and business, people – especially the poor – are exhausted by their efforts to make ends meet. The toughest question posed to me was: “How can I start a business, or a career, if I come from nothing, and have nothing?” This week, on The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, I set out to answer that question, by adopting an entrepreneurial approach.


Pick Something

The first step in how to start a business or career, is to pick something. You may not end up pursuing that career or business, but if you don’t do, you won’t know. Choose the sector or industry that you’re interested in, and start learning as much as you can about it. For example, the furniture industry – start thinking about, and learning more, about the industry you’d like to work in.

Get Searching

Smartphones have enabled nearly everyone to get online, and free WiFi spots are easy to find. Visit findfreewifi to find your closest WiFi hotspot. I’d recommend hopping on to YouTube and searching for videos related to your chosen industry. You can find a wide range of informative videos and tutorials, that’ll take you through the history, mechanics, and operations of just about any industry. For example, do a search for “just the job” on YouTube and you’ll discover a wealth of information related to your industry. Thereafter, head over to Google and search for “furniture industry jargon” and you’ll find search results that will help you learn important terminology relating to the furniture industry.

Develop the language of the industry you’d like to be part of, and your opportunity to become part of it will grow. If you’re unsure of what a word means, search for it under Google Images, and you’ll find pictures that will explain the words you’re curious to learn more about. Once you’re feeling a little more familiar with your chosen industry, it’s time to find businesses close to you that operate within it. Staying with our example of the furniture industry, open Google Maps to find furniture manufacturers or businesses close to you.

Create an Offer

Next up, it’s time to write up your CV and a covering letter. The covering letter is where you’ll acknowledge that you may have minimal skills, but confirm that the most important facets of a person’s abilities lie in their attitude and values. Let your prospective employer know that you’re honest, reliable, punctual, and committed to learning. Thereafter, request that they consider your proposal: you’ll sweep the floors of their factory and workshop, for free, for 3 months, and ask only that they provide you with transport money. Say yes to anything that comes your way – any opportunity that gets you into the industry you’re looking to be part of, is a great one. Make a list of the furniture businesses or factories located around you, and plan to visit 5 to 6 of them in the next 2 days.

Get Dressed

Before you start pounding the pavements to find a job in the industry you’d like to be part of, you need to get dressed. Smarten up, dress conservatively and respectfully, and don’t forget to take clean, crisp copies of your CV with you. Once you’re dressed, get going.

Create a Mantra

Remind yourself why you are doing this – you have your pride, dignity, and determination, on your side. You’re aiming to improve your life, learn new skills and find out how to start a business in the industry you want to be in. Remind yourself that nobody cares for you, like you can care for yourself. Free yourself from believing that someone will come along to help you – being a self-starter begins with getting started on, and for, yourself. If you’re looking for inspiration for your mantra, you’ll find it in ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’, by Dr. Seuss.

Repeat your Job Run

You may not find yourself employed after your first visit to a business, but repeatedly visiting the same businesses for a few months, until you crack it, is important. Stay persistent, and an opportunity will eventually arrive – and you will have made it for, and by, yourself.  

Why This Is Important to Do

Taking the low-level job may seem futile, but by simply being within the traffic of opportunity, you’ll begin to learn more about the industry you want to be in, and be able to identify gaps you may be able to move into.

How to Commit to Your Job

In your covering letter, you made certain commitments – to be punctual, reliable, and committed to learning. While you’re at work, sweep the floors with absolute perfection and care – it will be noticed. During the day, speak to people, and learn more about the business. Offer to help whenever you see or think it is needed. Ask questions about what is being done within the factory, and listen to learn more.

After 3 Months

After 3 months, thank the business owner for the opportunity and transport money. Confirm with them that they’ve been satisfied with your work, and your keen interest in developing yourself in a way that would be useful to the business. Enquire about opportunities within the business that will move you into a fully paid role, and understand this – people hire on character and attitude. Skills can be taught, but character is built. Apply for every job that comes up within the business, and start building your online profiles to showcase your skills and learning. Build digital relationships with people within the industry you’re interested in, and update your CV with your experience and new skills. Keep up with applying for jobs or internships in your chosen industry, and keep going until you get what you want. Persistence always pays off, whether you’re looking to start your career, or finding out how to start a business.

At Aurik, we work with business owners to accelerate the growth and profitability of their businesses, with the single purpose of building an Asset of Value.

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