How to Become an Entrepreneur

Have you always wanted to become an entrepreneur but aren’t sure where to start? Discover the steps it takes to launch your own business, the most commonly asked questions and answers, and the resources that will help you succeed.

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7 Steps to Becoming an Entrepreneur

Step 1
Find the right business for you.
Entrepreneurship is a broad term, and you can be an entrepreneur in just about any area. However, you will have to pick a field to work in and business to start. Find a business that won't only be successful, but is something that you are passionate about. Entrepreneurship is hard work, so you want to focus your attention on something you care about.
Step 2
Determine if you should get an education
You don't need to have any type of formal education to be an entrepreneur, but that doesn't mean you should ignore education entirely. If you want to start a tech company, experience in business, computer programming and marketing could all be valuable. Also, some industries will likely require some type of education, such as your own accounting or law firm.
Step 3
Plan your business
Before you begin your business, you need to have a business plan. A business plan lays out any objectives you have as well as your strategy for achieving those objectives. This plan is important for getting investors on board, as well as measuring how successful your business is.
Step 4
Find your target group/audience
Not every business appeals to everyone. The age, gender, income, race and culture of your target group will play a large role in determining where you open up shop – or if you even need to have a physical address for business. Research which group fits your business model best, and then gear everything to attract that demographic.
Step 5
While networking is important in all fields, it may be most important for entrepreneurs. Networking is how you meet other people that might have skills you can use in your business. You can also find potential investors through networking to help get your business model off the ground. Your network can also support your business once you open, helping send new customers your way.
Step 6
Sell your idea
Consumers want products, but they don't always know which product to pick. Your job as an entrepreneur is to convince people that whatever you're selling is the best option available. You'll have to find out what makes your product unique and then sell it based off the value it adds.
Step 7
You should be focused on marketing before, during and after you start your business. You may have the best restaurant in the city, but nobody will visit if they don't know it exists. Marketing is tricky, but if you should be able to focus your marketing efforts on your target audience. For example, millennials may be more likely to see an ad on social media than on a billboard downtown.

FAQ on Becoming a Entrepreneur

How do I pick my field?

The main criteria is that it has to be something that adds value. If you don't add value with your business, there's no reason for anyone to pay attention to it.

Do I need to get a business license?

Business licenses might be required for your field of work. Different states and counties have different requirements for licensure. Also, some industries will require other types of licenses as well. A restaurant may require a license for food handling and selling alcohol on top of the normal business license.

Can anyone be an entrepreneur?

Yes, anyone can be an entrepreneur, but not everybody is going to have the same level of success. Entrepreneurship takes a lot of experience, determination and sometimes education. There are no prerequisites to becoming an entrepreneur, though, and there are successful entrepreneurs from every demographic.

Do I need experience in the area I want to start a business?

No, but it certainly helps. If you're opening a marketing agency, then you should have plenty of experience with marketing. Customers won't want to spend their money if they don't think you can provide a high quality product, and experience and a solid track record is a good way to prove you're fit for the job.

What's the best way to become an entrepreneur?

There is no best way to become an entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur has a different experience, and even the best business ideas have the possibility of failing. However, you can mitigate your chances of failure. Education, experience and proper planning can all give your business a better chance of succeeding.

How do I know if my business is successful?

If you've followed your business plan and you're seeing growth, then your business is doing well. Remember that many businesses take time to start making money.

Entrepreneur Salary & Job Growth

With tons of tech millionaires and billionaires, many people have wild expectations when it comes to entrepreneur salaries. But the reality is that entrepreneurs' annual salary varies wildly – perhaps more than any other field. There's also the very real possibility of a business failing, and that can mean a low salary or no salary at all.

All that being said, plenty of entrepreneurs find success and make well above the national median salary of around $60,000 a year. Successful businesses can also grow, and that means more money each year. This can take a year or two, so there is the possibility of losing money over the first few years before a business becomes successful.

State Annual Salary
Alabama $57,360
Alaska $57,360
Arizona $40,436
Arkansas $57,360
California $64,117
Colorado $72,022
Connecticut $57,360
Delaware $57,360
Florida $62,204
Georgia $70,750
Hawaii $57,360
Idaho $57,360
Illinois $52,616
Indiana $40,978
Iowa $57,360
Kansas $57,360
Kentucky $57,360
Louisiana $57,360
Maine $57,360
Maryland $57,360
Massachusetts $42,000
Michigan $61,106
Minnesota $71,031
Mississippi $57,360
Missouri $48,867
Montana $57,360
Nebraska $57,360
Nevada $57,360
New Hampshire $57,360
New Jersey $69,858
New Mexico $57,360
New York $56,643
North Carolina $51,372
North Dakota $57,360
Ohio $44,727
Oklahoma $57,360
Oregon $52,920
Pennsylvania $47,533
Rhode Island $57,360
South Carolina $57,360
South Dakota $57,360
Tennessee $40,327
Texas $55,920
Utah $65,918
Vermont $57,360
Virginia $58,391
Washington $56,813
West Virginia $57,360
Wisconsin $57,360
Wyoming $57,360

With population increasing across the country, there will always be a demand for newer and better businesses. Not all fields are the same, though – a restaurant in a dense urban area could see success while the same restaurant in a less populated area could fail. Also, more and more people become entrepreneurs each year. The field that you end up picking to be an entrepreneur in is going to play a large role in both the money you make and the security you have in your position.

Some schools offer bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship, or a general business degree with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. This degree is not required to become an entrepreneur, though. If you have a business you'd like to start, consider what type of degree might help (bachelor's, associate, master's, etc.) and what field you should study in.

Here's a good way to find a degree program that's right for your entrepreneurial journey:

Entrepreneur Associations & Groups

With networking being such a critical part of entrepreneurship, anyone looking to become an entrepreneur will want to join groups to meet the right people. Not only do these groups offer opportunities for networking, but they often include seminars, conferences and skill building opportunities. Here are some entrepreneur organizations to check out:

Resources for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs require a lot of different resources to make a business work. From planning a business to running day-to-day operations, any entrepreneur will quickly realize that they need a lot of tools. Here are some of the tools many entrepreneurs find help with their business.


Score is a free counseling service that's made specifically for entrepreneurs. You'll be connected with an entrepreneur who will help educate you and guide you through the process.

International Franchise Association

Not all entrepreneurs start an original business. The international Franchise Association (IFA) helps you find a franchise you can buy.

Small Business Administration

A government site, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers guides, programs and other information for anyone looking to start a small business.

US Patent and Trademark Office

If you've come up with an original product or idea, you'll need to get it trademarked to protect it. The US Patent and Trademark Office is the place to go.

G Suite

G Suite is the combination of all of Google's tools, including G Drive, G Mail, Adwords and Analytics. If you're running a business that depends on web traffic, this is a must have.

Microsoft Office

Another suite of tools, Microsoft Office is most well known for Word and Excel. This suite will help you keep track of data and information.


Evernote is a web and phone app that allows you to keep information and notes online. You can type a note on your computer then pull it up on your phone, keeping all your info handy.

Related Careers at a Glance

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