A little over two years ago, I talked about some of the steps needed to become a SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR.  These tips presupposed that somebody had gone through all of the basic steps and are coming to the decision to start their own business.

During these tough times, with unemployment reaching double digits with no end in sight, many people are throwing their hat into the entrepreneurial ring and starting their own business.  Young people are encouraged to start their own businesses as an alternative to getting a job working for somebody else.  Sadly, the vast majority of these jobs will fail, and the people that started out with all the optimism will become disillusioned.

I have a very crafty friend (a friend that likes doing craft projects, not a friend who is particularly cunning), who is considering starting her own craft business.  I have a former sister in law who thought that she could avoid working at a real job by gluing the torso, limbs, and head of a teddy bear to a mason jar and selling the end result.  I have known several people who sold various products like Avon, Mary Kay, and other “home party” type products.  None of these friends or family members have succeeded in replacing the income that comes with a regular job.

So am I saying that one cannot succeed at starting their own business?  Of course not, that would be silly.  What I am saying is that starting a business isn’t like deciding to wear all black a la Johnny Cash.  If you accidentally wear some other color, nothing major is going to happen to you.  When you start a business, if you don’t dedicate everything to the business, for a long time, the business will fail.

The biggest reason why many of my friends failed was that they weren’t willing to dedicate themselves to doing what it takes to be successful.  Some of them never wanted to make their business a full-time venture.  Some of them just wanted a little extra pocket change, and some wanted the discount that comes with being a sales agent for a product, and others simply underestimated the amount of time required of them.

Another good reason they failed was because they didn’t have a clear idea of what they were trying to accomplish.  In my earlier mentioned post, I talk about what is needed (at the very minimum) to be a good business owner.  Some people think of their activity as a hobby that might pay for itself.    If that is all they want, that is fine.  Others believe that they will be able to survive on the income of their business.  This can be done, but not without a lot of hard work, and a long time of making no profits whatsoever.

So if you want to start your own business, go ahead.  Make sure you do the necessary research to make sure your business will be successful.  Some questions that you might consider:

  • Is what I want to do something that people need or would be willing to pay for?
  • Is my business unique enough to establish a niche, or am I going to wind up competing with larger, more established businesses?
  • Can I survive without making any money for a long period of time?  This question is key.  When you have more than one source of income, you might be able to survive on only that income.  If you are putting all your eggs in the new business basket, you might need to rethink your timing horizon.
  • Am I willing to keep at this business until it becomes successful, or am I going to dump it when I get bored or if I don’t see enough of a profit in a short amount of time?
  • Is this something I really want to dedicate my life to, or am I just trying to avoid getting a more traditional job working for somebody else?
  • Do I know enough about what I want to do for a business, or should I do a lot more research first.  I’ve said before, I like to read books, but that doesn’t necessarily make me a good candidate for opening my own bookstore.
  • Do I have the support of my family, or am I going to have to succeed despite their wishes and feelings?  Some people thrive on thumbing their nose at the naysayers.  Others need to have validation and support of their family or they will fail.  Figure out which one you are.
  • Am I disciplined enough to be my own boss.  Some people find that when faced with nobody telling them what to do, when to do it, or how to do it, that they wind up doing nothing.  This is not a recipe for success.

If you have started your own business, I want to hear from you.  Tell me about the business, the process you went through, and how successful it is so far.  Some of my friends have started out well enough, and I am always willing to throw a shout out to someone who is starting their own business.  Who knows, maybe the free publicity is just the ticket to boost you up to the next level of success!

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