Along with the holidays comes a time of reflection on the past year for many, particularly for women. We love to take inventory of blessings and challenges as we look forward to the coming year. Along with our goals to lose the obligatory 10 pounds and sleep more, come promises to our partners and kids about more quality time and greater flexibility.
We often declare each coming year as “our year” - the year we finally do whatever it is we’ve always wanted to do; for some that dream involves going into business for ourselves.
I wish for women everywhere to capture their passions and go for it, but I caution them to do so with open eyes. While I would not change a single thing about my journey toward becoming a business owner, I offer the following four questions you should ask yourself before you start your own business (and yes, these are questions I wish someone had asked me):
1. Are you prepared to work hard? No, really. Are you prepared to work crazy, ridiculously hard?
Here’s the thing: Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily because if it did, it would be too good to be true. There is no magic spell or recipe for becoming an overnight success. There’s only hard work and I hate to be cliché about it, but it’s all baby steps. Just like raising children where each stage requires a lot of hard work, sacrifice and diligence. The same can be said for building a business. Get ready for an amazing adventure with many pit stops, and make sure you have a lot of steam in you because building a business takes a tremendous amount of energy, patience and persistence.
2. Have you discussed your plan with your family? Do they know big changes are blowing in the wind?
You may intend to do everything as you did it before starting your business, but the fact of the matter is that building your own business changes everything. Your name, reputation, and future are all on the line which can blur the line between family time and work time. Starting your own business also involves big changes in the hours, days and time you work. That’s right, you thought you were gaining greater flexibility, but you’ll quickly realize you have a “baby” of a business instead. Make sure you have your family’s support in any entrepreneurial endeavor. My best tip is to involve each and every member of your family into your business by making them feel a part of your new professional journey. I involved my sons from day one, and they feel like they are a big part of my brand. In the early stages of my business, I ignored my husband’s opinion and it came back to bite me. He had something very valuable to offer me, and when I finally opened up to his opinions, I achieved so much more.