The millennial business owner says that every entrepreneur should get away with just that

For young people, entrepreneurship is the new 9-to-5, with 60% of teenagers saying they want to start their own business instead of working a traditional job.

However, with the uncertainty facing business owners over the past two years, it may be helpful for Gen Z to learn from professionals who have thrived during — and after — the height of the pandemic.

Jane Labovitch, aka Princess Etch, is a 30-year-old Etch a Sketch artist who uses the mechanical drawing toy to create intricate portraits and landscapes. For the past 6 years, her art has been her main source of income.

Jane Labovitch stands next to her art in a museum.

Princess H

Before the pandemic, Labovitch made part of his income by teaching face-to-face classes and workshops. But after using social media in 2020, she was able to supplement that income and then some.

“When [the pandemic] The first thing that happened, I was terrified,” Labowitch told CNBC Make It. “I immediately lost a few jobs and the number of email correspondents I had for promising projects just disappeared. But if there’s one thing I did during the pandemic, it was to stay consistent. Because with the magic of the Internet, I was able to work with a global audience.”

According to Labowitch, here are three things aspiring business owners should remember:

Strategize with social media

Labowitch says social media is a great tool for building a brand and showcasing what your business has to offer. She uses platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Discord and Twitch to boost her company’s online presence.

“I consider that everything I post on the Internet is in some way a kind of advertisement of my services. I advertise myself with every sample work I create because you never know who will see it. And you’ll never know if something you did two years ago will be seen by the right eyes and lead to an interesting email in your inbox.”

Labowitch originally started displaying her art on Myspace in 2007, but she recently stepped up her presence on TikTok by live-streaming her painting process. Her viewers could then send her money tips on the app and have a more personal connection with her.

These live streams not only helped her establish an online presence of over 200,000 followers, but also helped her earn enough money to pay off her last $13,484.58 in student loans.

“TikTok roses are the lowest denomination of currency you can donate for a live stream, and the streamer gets the equivalent of half a penny per rose,” says Labovitch. “So I did the math and found I needed 2,696,916 roses.”

“It took me exactly 30 days and 117 hours of live streaming to raise enough money. It took over my life for the entire month of April. And I created this whole new, really passionate fan base of people who just really wanted to support me and my business.”

Find a good, trusted accountant

Being your own boss has its advantages, but it also has its potential pitfalls, chief among them being finances. When people pursue entrepreneurship, content creation, or freelancing, many don’t realize the increased financial responsibilities they will have.

From filing taxes to documenting and monitoring income and expenses, a trusted accountant can play a vital role in the long-term success of a business.

“If there’s one thing I’d recommend any entrepreneur commit to and spend on, it’s an accountant,” Labovitch says. “It’s worth every penny for the peace of mind knowing that my accountant will cross the T’s and dot the I’s better than I ever could.”

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart

The journey to a successful business is not linear. For some, it can take months, while other entrepreneurs need years to launch their business.

Despite these different time frames, the common denominator for all business owners is preparation. According to Labowitch, there are many aspects of early-stage entrepreneurship that aren’t for the “faint of heart,” including the lack of health insurance, funding, and “instability.”

“I’m in a domestic partnership with my boyfriend because of health insurance,” she says. “And I know so many entrepreneurs who are in similar positions to me and don’t have that opportunity, or their partners don’t work for companies where local partnerships are enough. I know [several people] who married for health insurance reasons.”

“I also had to learn about cost of sales and just be able to calculate not only how much I should be charging overall, but how much I should be charging to make sure it’s a sustainable venture for me. So I didn’t dive into entrepreneurship full-time, I eased in.”

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