Today we’re featuring a special guest post from Justin Krane at Krane Financial Solutions! Ready to make the leap of faith and start your own business? It may be one of the riskiest moves you choose to make but the rewards will be in spades after. Justin Krane tells us today about his entrepreneurial journey and the six things he wished he had known starting out.

It was another business conference, and I was in the room with another 300 financial planners. The room was really cold, the AC was maxed, I had forgotten my sweater and I was freezing!

It was a scenario I’d been in so many times but I had no idea that this session would change the direction of my life.

Out comes the motivational speaker guy. I started to tune him out until I realized he was blind. His name was Jim Stovall, a former Olympic weightlifting champion who had gone blind over time. He told us that he had changed his life because he had changed his mind.

I was thinking, here was this amazing athlete to whom fate had dealt quite a blow and yet he wasn’t bitter. Instead he was brimming with life because he’d made a mental adjustment. The longer he spoke, the more he made me realize that I was playing a mediocre game in life, and that I was resistant to doing anything about it. It was like he was speaking directly to me.

Back then, I wasn’t happy working for a large financial services firm. I had been there for 13 years. But secretly, I wanted independence, autonomy and to feel the thrill of running my own business. The problem was I had no idea how to run a business!

As a Certified Financial Planner ™ professional I obviously knew how to financially plan. So I decided to put those skills to work for my own future business. I made some assumptions and forecasted my future results as an entrepreneur. I based my planning on 3 scenarios: best case, medium case, and worst case. I modeled out my revenue, as well as fixed and variable expenses.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was freaking out when I was planning this stuff. I kept asking myself: Do I have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?  Am I willing to forego a steady paycheck in order to have my own business?

I decided to go for it. I felt like a young bird jumping out of the nest, learning to fly right away. There were no training wheels or life jacket.  And for the first few weeks, it was a wild ride that lasted well into the first year.

Today, I am still a Certified Financial Planner, but I have developed a niche where I work with entrepreneurs. I help them unite their money with their life and business. My goal with all my clients is to help them get an amazing return on their lives.

It’s gotten easier the longer I’ve been an entrepreneur. But looking back, here are the things I wish I had known when I first became an entrepreneur:

1)      Love what you do. Do the things in your business that you love to do – the things you are really good at.  While making money is important, you have to focus on what you love, otherwise you will burn out. There will most likely be parts of your business that you really don’t like to do. Farm that stuff out. Delegate. If you don’t have the money to hire staff, start small. Hire a virtual assistant. Spend a few bucks to take something off your plate.

2)      Diversify your revenue streams. Create a business model where there is more than one way that you can make money.  Get leverage and scale.  Create a product or a system that gives you passive income. Do not trade hours for dollars.

3)      Be conscious.  A financial planner talking about consciousness?  Yes.  You have to be aware of what it is that you want. Think of it this way. You are either taking steps towards your goal or away from it. I have a sign in my office that says more of the same equals more of the same.  If you want a different result, do different things.  Be conscious about what it is that you are really doing every day. One way to do this is to share your ideas with a peer group like a mastermind.

4)      Educate yourself. Study successful entrepreneurs. What have they done that has made them successful? How do they think? How do they create? What makes them smart? For example, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook to make a social impact. He cares about how people communicate and share information.

5)      Spy on your competition. Know what your competition is doing. What’s working for them? What is their messaging and branding telling you? How can you be different from them? There is plenty of business to go around.  Your competition may be your co-opetition. There may be a way you can cross promote each other’s services. Set up Google Alerts for the top 5 people in your industry.

6)      Spend at least 50% of your time marketing.  Yes, put valuable content about your services or products in the market place. No one knows you. So you gotta get out there and make it happen. People need to hear and see what you are offering. Block time and set aside a few days each week that is solely dedicated to marketing.

Decide to be an amazing entrepreneur.  Challenge yourself to kick some butt!  You’ll love the journey.

Justin Krane is a Certified Financial Planner with Krane Financial Solutions. Follow Justin on Twitter @justinkrane.