For young people, entrepreneurship is a new 9-5, with 60% of teens saying they want to start their own business instead of working in a traditional job.
However, with the uncertainty that business owners have faced over the past two years, it may be worthwhile for Gen Zers to learn from professionals who have been able to thrive during and after the peak of the pandemic.
Jane Labewich, also known as Princess Etch, is a 30-year-old Etch a Sketch artist who uses game mechanics to create intricate portraits and landscapes. For the past six years, her art has been her primary source of income.
Before the pandemic, Labewech was earning a large portion of her income by teaching in classrooms and workshops. But after taking advantage of social media in 2020, I was able to supplement that income and then some of it.
“When [the pandemic] It happened at first, I was terrified,” Labewech told CNBC Make It. I immediately lost a number of jobs, and the number of email correspondents I had about promising projects just disappeared. But if there’s anything I’ve done during the pandemic, it’s to maintain consistency. Because thanks to the magic of the Internet, I was able to work with a global audience.”
According to Labowitch, here are three things aspiring business owners should remember:
Strategize with social media
Labowwitch says that social media is a great tool for building a brand and showcasing what your business has to offer. She uses platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Discord, and Twitch to boost her company’s online presence.
“I consider everything I post online in some way to be a kind of advertisement for my services. I market myself with every form of work I create because you never know who is going to see it. And you never know if something I created two years ago has been seen. by the right set of eyes and result in an interesting email in your inbox.”
Labowwitch initially started showing her art on Myspace in 2007, but recently, she cemented her presence on TikTok by doing a live broadcast of the drawing process. Her viewers were then able to send her financial tips in the app and connect with her in person.
These direct streams not only helped her establish an online presence of over 200,000 followers but also helped her make enough money to pay off her last $13,484.58 in student loans.
“TikTok roses are the lowest denomination of coins you can donate to a live stream, and the streamer receives the equivalent of half a penny per rose,” Labowitch says. “So I did the math and found I needed 2696.916 roses.”
“It took me exactly 30 days and 117 hours of live to make enough money. It took me the whole month of April. And I developed a whole new fan base that is really enthusiastic of people who really wanted to support me and my work.”
Looking for a good and reliable accountant
Being your own boss has its perks, but it also has its potential drawbacks, the main one being finances. When people pursue entrepreneurship, content creation, or freelancing, many do not realize the increase in financial responsibilities they will have.
From filing taxes to documenting and controlling income and expenses, a trusted accountant can play a vital role in the long-term success of a business.
“If there’s anything I’d recommend any entrepreneur to indulge in and brag about, it’s an accountant,” Labewech says. “It’s worth every penny for the peace of mind knowing that my accountant will skip a T and mark I better than I can.”
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart
The journey of having a successful business is not linear. For some, it may take months, while for other entrepreneurs, it takes years to get their business off the ground.
Despite these changing time frames, the common denominator for all business owners is preparation. According to Labowitch, there are many aspects of early entrepreneurship that are not aimed at the “faint of heart,” including a lack of health insurance and financing, and “instability.”
“I’m in a home partnership with my boyfriend because of health insurance,” she says. “And I know many entrepreneurs who occupy positions similar to mine and do not have this option, or their partners do not work in companies where local partnerships suffice. I know [several people] who married for health insurance reasons.
“I also had to learn about cost of sales and just be able to calculate not just how much I should be charging in general, but also how much I should be charging to make sure this was a sustainable endeavor for me. So I didn’t delve into entrepreneurship full time, I relaxed it.”
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