Entrepreneurship is the new era of 9-to-5 for young people, with 60% of teens saying they want to start their own business rather than take a traditional job.
However, given the uncertainty business owners have faced over the past two years, it may be beneficial for Gen Z to learn from professionals who have managed to thrive during and after the pandemic.
Jane Labowitch, also known as Princess Etch, is a 30-year-old Etch sketch artist who creates intricate portraits and landscapes using mechanical drawing toys. Her art has been her main source of income for the past 6 years.
Before the pandemic, Labowitch earned a significant portion of its income teaching in-person classes and workshops. However, after taking advantage of social media in 2020, she was able to supplement this income and then add some more.
“when [the pandemic] The first time it happened, I was terrified,” Labowitch told CNBC Make It. “I immediately lost a lot of jobs and the number of email correspondents I had about promising projects disappeared. But if I’ve done anything during the pandemic, it’s been consistent. Because of the magic of the internet, I am able to work with a global audience. “
According to Labowitch, there are three things aspiring business owners should keep in mind:
Strategize Using Social Media
According to Labowitch, social media is a great tool for building your brand and showcasing what your business has to offer. She uses platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Discord and Twitch to boost her company’s online presence.
“I think everything I post on the internet is in some way an advertisement for my service. I’m promoting myself with every example of work I create because you never know who’s going to see it. And You never know if something you made two years ago will be seen by the right eye and produce an interesting email in your inbox.”
Labowitch first started showcasing her art on Myspace in 2007, but more recently, she has bolstered her TikTok presence by live-streaming her drawing process. Her viewers can then send her tips in the app and create a more personal connection with her.
Not only did these livestreams help her build an online presence with more than 200,000 followers, they also helped her make enough money to pay off her final $13,484.58 in student loans.
“TikTok roses are the lowest denomination currency you can donate to a livestream, and streamers earn the equivalent of half a cent per rose,” Labowitch said. “So I did the math and found I needed 2,696,916 roses.”
“It took me a whole 30 days and 117 hours of streaming to raise enough money. It took my entire April life. I’ve grown this new, very passionate fan base who really wanted to support me and my business.”
Find a good, trustworthy accountant
There are benefits to being your own boss, but there are also potential pitfalls, one of the main ones being finances. When people pursue entrepreneurship, content creation or freelancing, many don’t realize the increased financial responsibility they will take on.
From filing taxes to recording and monitoring income and expenses, trusted accountants can play a vital role in the long-term success of a business.
“If there’s one thing I’d recommend any entrepreneur to indulge in and splurge on, it’s an accountant,” Labowitch said. “Knowing that my accountant will go above and beyond the T and adorn me better than ever is worth every penny.”
Entrepreneurship is not for the “timid”
The journey to owning a successful business is not linear. For some, this can take months, while other entrepreneurs take years to get their business off the ground.
Despite these different time frames, one thing all business owners have in common is preparation. According to Labowitch, many aspects of early-stage startups are not for the “timid,” including a lack of health insurance, funding, and “instability.”
“My boyfriend and I have a domestic partnership because of health insurance,” she said. “And I know a lot of entrepreneurs who are in similar positions to me but don’t have options, or their partners don’t work for companies with enough domestic partners. I know [several people] People who are married for health insurance reasons. “
“I also had to understand the cost of sales and be able to calculate not only how much I should be charging, but how much should I be charging to make sure this was a sustainable endeavor for me. So I didn’t delve into full-time startups, I took it easy .”
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