Transitioning from a job to a home-based business does not always have to be a sudden event. For me personally, it was more of a process. There are questions you need to ask yourself along the way, but I don’t want to give you the impression that you have to know everything about business before you can even start.
Most people are never taught how to run a business in high school or college, so there’s a lot of learning and experience gained along the way. If you’re considering starting your own business, these the beginning questions I believe you should think on before making any major decisions:
Are you willing to learn a new way of thinking?
Sometimes the traits that make you a great employee will frustrate you as a business owner. If you’re a hard worker and are used to getting immediate financial feedback for your work, it may be difficult at first to visualize how results work in a business. The time and money you initially invest in a business may not show up in the form of results for months or even years later. You have the potential to make more money over your lifetime however, so for me the trade-off was well worth it.
Things that will help with this issue are reading practical business books and getting around at least a few other people who have owned traditional and home-based businesses. Any advice you can gather ahead of time will help you avoid common mistakes and know what to expect.
Are you willing to take a personal risk?
You’re going to have people tell you you’re making a mistake, no matter how great your idea seems to you. My husband and I both worked day jobs as we were getting our businesses off the ground so we wouldn’t go into debt to do them. This meant 16-18 hour days sometimes with people making fun of us the entire time. Those same people will tell you how “lucky” you are when your work pays off. Be prepared to put up with that at least to a certain extent.
You’re also going to have supportive people in your life as well. Also, not everyone who is negative at first is bad. They just may care about you and not want you to get hurt. It may take some time for all of those relationships to settle out.
Do you at least have a general plan on how you’re going to make the business work?
From a financial standpoint, it’s better to start a new company part-time and work your way into it as it becomes stable. This can take as little as a few months to sometimes several years, according to the nature of the business.
I’m all in favor of people following their dreams, but I don’t suggest they do it on credit. Your greatest assets with a home-based business are your creativity and your effort. I can tell you from experience that it’s possible to create a business with less than $100 start-up capital. My first real business cost me $61 to start: $1 for a box of yard sale books and $60 in shipping supplies and postage. I made a profit of $100 because I seen a good opportunity. I just kept reinvesting my profit over and over again until I had developed a nice used book business with no debt. It was learning how to recognize the right things to buy that developed my business, not money.
If you’re comfortable with beginning a business, I want to encourage you to do it. I think it’s wonderful to have something to call your own that you can develop for you and your family. If you’re not quite comfortable yet, keep reading and researching. Usually it only takes one great idea to get you started. Either way, just don’t let fear rule your decision-making. It’s better to do something you love and fail your way to success than it is to be silently miserable your whole working life. Whether it’s a job or a business, you need to do what matters to you.