What do I do? How does one turn vision into business?

I’m sitting here at the age of 22. I’ve had several jobs and started several “companies”, all of which never panned out. My college fund was stolen by one of my parents and trying to help support my “family” took away the years that most other kids my age spend on the fast track to a career.

Now I’ve said this only to explain where I’m at in life. I have a fiance, I am unemployed and I need something to change.

In between applying for jobs. I have used my vast spare time to brain storm and I’ve come up with an idea.

This idea would change everything in the world of small business and freelance advertising. It’s completely plausible and isn’t being done, anywhere. I’ve checked. It involves smart-phone mobile devices and as stated above, advertising.

But what I’ve come here for is advice. What do I do? How do I get my “big break”? How do I get this idea from my head, transformed into something that will change my life?

Thank you for any help.
James Hamilton

You’re 22, most 22 year olds are still drinking beer every wknd and flunking out of college.

You may have had a rough life up to now but most 22 year olds haven’t spent any time whatsoever on the fast track to a career so don’t be so hard on yourself.

Everybody needs to hit their face in the pavement a few times, before getting this entrepreneurial stuff right, and get their “big break” (most quits before they get there). The humps in the road is part of the ride, and a great source of knowledge, character building and experience.

In order to “change everything in the world of small business and freelance advertising” you’ll need a lot of things. The first thing is a realistic view of your own idea: We all get ideas we think is fantastic. But often the ideas will not really be that great and even more of them will not survive the road to realisation.

Your idea may be really unique, got tons of potential and have the right timing for gaining market breakthrough. What you need to identify is your business model (how will you make money) and your market (who will pay and why will they). You need to assess that the market is substantial, accessible and ready for your product.

Moreover you should identify the key risks that can kill your idea during startup (e.g. the idea is technically impossible to implement, or lack of funds for creating product and reaching profitability) and normal operation (e.g. over time not able to create barriers and differentiation from rising competition). You need to as much as possible verify that the risks are possible to handle.

One way to handle such risk is through proof of concept and prototype: The more tangible you can make you idea, through actual demonstration and verification, the better it is.

If you remove as much doubt as possible, it’s far easier to attract people and money, to execute the idea. Do like Microsoft, Google and Facebook: Start in your garage or room, and start building the product with the few resources you’ve got: Prove that it will change the world of advertising.

Join a Young Entrepreneurs Club. If your getting married you will still need a source of income to pay the bills. Get some paid work and at the same time refine your idea(s) until you find something your passionate about and that is readily marketable. Stay focused. My new book was written to empower Seniors(50 Plus) to become entrepreneurs. At the same time I have references pointing to Young Entrepreneurs (18-34).


Personally, I think that you’d get a lot more mileage out of not having a world changing breakthrough idea. You’d be better served to find some old farts in your area and figure out where they went horribly horribly wrong.

When I was 22, I thought I had amazing, unique ideas. That was because I hadn’t been around long enough to know that there are very good reasons why most things I though would be “amazing” weren’t being done. Or, if they were good ideas, I often didn’t recognize how other folks were already doing those things.

It is a matter of perspective and experience.

The best thing for me was to find other people to work with and learn from. I dunno about joining a club.

I just started calling up successful people in my area who were doing what I wanted to do. You’d be surprised how much people like to talk about how they sank or swam, and it can be a great learning experience. I try to find folks in their 50s, as they are old enough to have seen a bunch but still you enough to be in the game.

Also, I wouldn’t try and find direct work in an area related to your big idea-- this allows you to develop your skills needed to pull off the big idea while being supported by someone else. If you don’t know how to get your idea off the ground at this point, then you need to develop a bit more, and working for other people is a great way to do this.

I’d recommend writing a draft business plan for your idea. It will help you get a lot of clarity as to how the business would work and what you need to do to move your business forward. You can get a good business plan template here on SCORE.

Good luck!

Was that supposed to be “would try”?

In business, there is almost never a ‘big break’ and your back story doesn’t really matter. Here’s what I got from your post:

“I have an idea”
“What do I do next?”

Ideas are abundant and without some action they have little value. I think it’s a good idea to look for a mentor who has more experience developing business ideas so that you can learn the next steps.

It’s also very important to begin fleshing out the idea in clear, written form. This doesn’t have to be a formal business plan, you just need to begin articulating the concept so that others can review it. Then find someone that you trust and share the idea with them, get feedback, and go for there.

Looking for a big break will usually leave you poor and frustrated. Instead, just look for that next step :slight_smile:

Good luck!

And besides the product you’ll sell, spend time deciding what type of business structure (proprietor, llc, corp, partnership) and it’s name, how to create and register the business entity, how to get a bank account, ein, how you’ll do your business taxes, etc.

A good CPA is I think the most valuable outside professional help to line up.

A good CPA is important, yes. But I would advise against thinking about entities, taxes, bookkeeping completely until you actually have a business going. Get the idea sorted out first, then plan.

A good CPA is important, yes. But I would advise against thinking about entities, taxes, bookkeeping completely until you actually have a business going.
If you bill someone $1.00 and haven’t done the business entity homework you’re in violation of the law in my town.

Things are a little more relaxed in other parts of the world. Here (Texas) You can do pretty much whatever you want as long as you report it at the right points.

There are a lot of ways to incur liabilites that you might no think about, and once you have employees you have to do things differently.

But if there is nothing to account for, you don’t need an accountant.

What town is that? You can’t be a sole proprietor?

Sure I can. I live in a town that requires a business license. Since I wanted a DBA before starting any business I had to register for a fictious business name, publish that DBA for 4 weeks before I could open a bank account or get a license in the business name. If you operate your proprietorship here under your own name you still need to obtain a business license in my town. And if you sell anything subject to sales tax (I’m in California), you need to get your tax number from the BOE so you can legally collect sales tax on sales and file sales tax returns.

I worked in corporate-land for a decade or so, always dreaming about starting my own business. It wasn’t until I went through the process of actually creating a business entity that the dreams could morph into reality.

And my most valuable outside resource during the couple decades I’ve been working for myself has been my CPA, I use the same one I started with back in the 80’s.

Err… so what’s the law?

The vast majority of places DON’T require a business license unless you are operating a business that is typically controlled/licensed.

A DBA has nothing to do with your original point.

Collection of sales tax is only required if you provide a taxable product or service.

Any business that pays tax, regardless of entity, has to deal with FTB and BOE but that is easy and nothing is stopping anyone from operating as a sole proprietorship.

I have never heard of a law in California that requires you to ‘to the business entity homework’ and I have never heard of any law that prohibits a business from operating as a sole proprietor.

What, exactly, are you warning the poster about?

To the OP, I gave my advice on what worked to turn a vision into a reality. Take it or not as you choose, apparently some others don’t agree but as the old saying goes, Oh Well.