Pensive businessman looking away in office

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With the recent hype around Jay-Z’s new album 4:44, many are hailing Mr. Carter as the new financial guru. He gives beyond sound advice about credit, home ownership, cooperative economics and leaving a legacy, among other things. But one of his most significant gems isn’t dropped in 4:44— it’s actually from DJ Khaled’s song “I Got the Keys,” where the mogul states, “Til you own your own you can’t be free.”

Now, entrepreneurship doesn’t have to start with a seven-figure check already in hand. It begins where you stand. Everyone can start building now… even if you already have a full-time job. Working while you create and launch a company isn’t an impossible feat. It simply means you have to get super focused and multi-task for a bit.

Here’s how you kick things off.

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1 Lower Your Living Expenses

Having money to run your business is important, especially if your goal is to create more than a little passive income. In fact, one of the main reasons companies fail is because of a lack of capital to push the business forward. Since it’s tough to get a business loan from a bank early on, many people have to rely on personal finances, friends, and family. Lowering your day to day expenses will give you the cushion you need to infuse money into the business. Downsize your car. Limit vacations. Pack lunch. Catch matinees. Find every way you can to save more cash.

2 Spend Your Time Wisely

You have 24 hours every day—the same as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Oprah, and P. Diddy. It’s how you use that time that will determine if you are successful or not. Before you launch, get into the habit of spending two or three hours every day to focus on your business. Prioritizing is key. If your brand’s success is your goal, then everything else must come second.

3 Plan to Win

You need to create tangible goals to ensure your vision becomes more than talk. Your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. They should also be broken up into short- and long-term benchmarks. So instead of saying, “I want to run a profitable business,” you should say, “I will run and manage a successful business bringing in $100K per year by selling X amounts of my products and/or service this year.” Boom.

4 Analyze Your Business

Read, a lot. There is always something to learn, especially when you’re launching a new venture. Make sure you are not wasting time and money by thinking you know it all. You must learn as much about your field as possible. Have you heard of a SWOT analysis? It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Assessing each component of your business will give you the information needed to decide whether your idea is a viable option.

5 Get Your Followers Up

Once you determine you have a solid idea, it’s time to launch and start spreading the word. When launching your business, it’s imperative you tell your friends, family, co-workers, church congregation, classmates, strangers and anyone else you meet.  Everyone is a potential customer or referral. Remember that your real-life interactions have as much weight as your social media presence.

Be your brand’s best ambassador.

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