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When Mikyung Kim, the founder of award-winning production company MKIM&CO, decided that she wanted to start her own business, she was definitely nervous and a little scared—and perhaps rightly so. After all, she had already had a good job that came with a regular salary. To trade that security for a dream seemed like a risky move, so before she made her decision, Mikyung made sure she had her bases covered.
Read her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Make sure your finances can take a hit.
Your initial capital isn’t the only thing you have to prepare before you start a business. You also need to consider how much it’ll cost you to sustain the business and yourself in case things go south.
Mikyung certainly didn’t leave anything to chance. “First, I made sure I had enough savings from my previous job to sustain me for up to a year or two even,” she says. “If, let’s say, worst-case scenario, I didn’t make any money, I could still be financially okay.”
Not sure what expenses you’ll need to prepare for? Study the landscape. According to e-commerce platform Shopify, small businesses tend to spend 11% of their budget on operating costs, 10.3% on marketing costs, 9% on online costs, 31.6% on product costs, 8.7% on shipping costs, 18.8% on team costs, and 10.5% on offline costs.
Do your due diligence.
Speaking of studying, make sure you do your homework as thoroughly as you can. While it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of starting your own business, diving headfirst into it without doing enough research is bound to end in tears. In fact, before Mikyung even made her decision to strike out on her own, she spoke to a lot of business owners, read many books, and listened to a multitude of podcasts.
“I wanted to see and understand what other business owners had gone through in their own business, what their mindset was, what were the challenges they faced, what would they do differently, or what really worked for them,” she says. In fact, Mikyung estimates that she spent around a year learning all that she can about starting her own business before she made the leap.
“It’s definitely a slow process,” says Mikyung. “I would definitely recommend that you don’t rush into it. Make sure you’re ready. Make sure you’ve done the research and your homework before you start your own business.”
Leverage your strengths.
Starting your own business doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start from scratch. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Mikyung had already been working in the industry for nine years. That meant nine years’ worth of experience, nine years’ worth of relationships.
“I really felt like I had established a good enough network and credibility and reputation to be able to potentially successfully manage my business,” she says.
It all boils down to the quality of your product.
You can have a great social media presence and a fantastic website, but if what you’re selling—be it an actual product or a service—fails to meet expectations, then chances are, your business will fail.
“For us at MKIM&CO, our purpose is just to produce good, creative work, and that’s always been the essence of what we do,” says Mikyung. Because their work spoke for itself, their client base gradually grew. “People heard that I started my own company and [I] just let other agencies and brands know that I was a producer that they could turn to if they needed more [production] support.”
Having earned a reputation as a trusted partner, MKIM&CO was able to scale its operations. From having just one producer, the company now has a larger team of producers with different skill sets. Today, MKIM&CO continues to deliver its best, as evidenced by the brands that choose to work with the production company.
MKIM&CO might have begun with a dream, but its success is grounded in reality. Mikyung and her team worked incredibly hard to get to where they are today. The question is: Are you prepared to do the same?