People say that starting your own business is difficult. Guess what? They're not kidding. Starting a business, in many ways, is a lot like having a child - and would you just have a child without thinking it through first? Before you get started, there are lots of things you need to think about and discuss with anyone you can.
Can You Afford to Fail?
You might have heard the old saying 'only gamble what you can afford to lose'. Well, however you approach it, starting your own business is still gambling. A massive percentage of businesses fail in their first year. If your financial situation is such that you agonize over every small amount you spend, starting a business is probably a bad idea.
Put it this way: do not expect to succeed. Expect that you will fail, and always try your hardest not to. You'll be pleasantly surprised if things go your way. Note that this doesn't mean that you shouldn't believe in yourself and your business - simply that you have to realize the kind of odds you're up against, and stay realistic.
Will You Stick at It?
You can't get halfway through all this and have a sudden change of heart, or feel like you're doomed to fail. All successful business spend plenty of time doing badly before they start to pick up. You need to prepare yourself for a steady stream of failure being slowly replaced by success. Don't expect the world all at once.
Could You Take the Stress?
Starting a business is one of the most stressful things you can do. It will affect you mentally, physically and emotionally. You need to be strong to deal with this kind of stress, and you need to have someone to turn to for support.
Are You a Survivor?
There are some people who always seem to make it in the end, regardless of what life throws at them. You need to be the kind of person whose response to things going wrong is to work harder and get it fixed, not someone who cries and goes into hiding.
Many entrepreneurs say that this, more than anything, is the secret of success. You need to be a 'never say die' kind of person. You need to be always ready to try again, no matter what gets thrown at you. Remember that it's not when things start to go wrong that you fail - you haven't failed until you've given up.
Be Prepared to Work Hard.
If you've been doing a standard nine-to-five job, you're probably used to a world where it's someone else's responsibility if the work doesn't get done - you work as fast as you can for the hours you're told to, and if it's not done on time then it's the manager's fault for not hiring enough people. When you work on your own, though, there's no-one to blame - the buck stops where it starts, with you.
You Need to Satisfy Every Customer.
When you run a home business, you can't afford to lose any customers. You need to always be nice to them, trying to meet their needs. You have to remember that you're the most senior person they can talk to in this organization, and you have to act like it - when there's no-one other than you to handle complaints, you have to either give in to customers at every opportunity or watch them take their business elsewhere.
Do You Really Love What You Do?
If you don't love what you do, then sooner or later you're going to want to stop doing it - and when you run a home business, that's difficult. Besides, you can't run a home business if you're always sitting and thinking about how great it'll be when it's the weekend. No, the only way to succeed in home business is to be absolutely sure that you really love what you're doing. If you can think of another job you'd rather have, then you're in trouble.
Think of it this way: could you run up to someone on the street with a leaflet about your business, and tell them all about it in a way that would really leave an impression? It doesn't matter whether you actually could or not - if you think everyone will be interested, then, believe me, they will be.