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Dear Ash Cash: I currently work a city job in downtown Baltimore but I’m interested in starting my own business. Where do I start and how can I do it successfully?

-Jerrod E (Baltimore, MD)

If this were a classroom and I asked how many people have a “side

hustle” I can guarantee that almost everyone would raise their hands.

When I say “side hustle” I mean something that you love doing that

gives you extra money, but is not your main source of income. It can

be DJing, Promoting parties, your Hip-Hop blog, or selling your

mixtapes on the weekend. We all have our “side hustles” and if this

were a perfect world our “side hustle” would be the main. But why

isn’t it? Starting a business is not an easy task but with the right

preparation, dedication, and focus you can free yourself of that

dreaded job you hate so much. All action isn’t created equal, so it’s

important that you follow certain steps so that you can increase the

chances of your endeavor being successful. Starting a business should

be done in an effective way instead of just doing it for the sake of

just doing it. The following are a few steps to take in order to start

a business effectively:

1. Find Time – First you need to put aside at least two to three hours

a day to focus on your business. No matter how crazy you may think

your life is, I can guarantee you that with proper time management you

can find two to three hours.

2. Set Goals – Once you’ve flushed out all of your ideas and have come

up with a strategy to execute them, make sure you set goals for you

and your business so that you have something to be held accountable

to. Make sure that your goals are S.M.A.R.T., which stands for

Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – & Time bound. They

should also be broken up into short and long term.

3. Take care of the Legal and Administrative stuff – Now that you

know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, you have to

search for and create a business name. Once you find an available name

go to either or to register it and create

your website. Complete forms on or to

legally set up your business as a sole proprietorship, Corporation,

LLC, DBA, or LLP. Lastly, you need to go to the IRS and get a Federal

Tax ID number. It’s free and you can print it out in seconds by


4. Learn More about your Business – There’s never a such thing as t

much knowledge. Whenever you have some free time, preferably on the

weekends make sure you are taking online classes, workshops, and

seminars, pertaining to your business.

5. Launch and Spread the Word – Now you’re ready to start making some

money! Once you launch your business, its imperative that you tell

your friends, family, co-workers, church congregation, classmates,

strangers and whoever else you run across.

6. Stay Focused & Committed – Now that you’re officially a business

owner you have to remember one thing; Not all days are going to be the

same. Some days business is going to be great and others not so great.

The important thing is to work your plan and stay committed to your


Congratulations!! You are truly a boss! Keep Grinding and make those

dreams become reality! Again, NOTHING CAN STOP YOU!!!