Thinking of starting a business? Read on to make sure you are as prepared as can be!
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.
3. Are you passionate about the business idea?
I hear all too often that we should only start businesses that are hot right now, rather than what we’re passionate about. I totally disagree. It’s our passion that’s going to get us through the long hours, lean times, and sacrifices necessary to get up and running. It may be easy to start a “hot” business, but it’s a lot harder to sustain something that we’re not passionate about. However, I suggest that you don’t confuse passion with hobbies. Keep your hobbies for stress relief, but understand a business is not a hobby. A business requires a lot of hard work, time, often capital, and support.
4. What’s your ideal vision for balancing your business and home life?
Take a look at what you love about taking care of your home and personal life, what you absolutely feel you must own and do yourself versus what you can outsource. Let’s take cleaning as an example. Some women love to clean, others do not. Is your Sunday morning better spent cleaning or is that something you can outsource, which in turn gives you a few hours on Sunday morning to read business periodicals or do some office work. Without the infrastructure of an office, owning your own business is a juggling act that involves intensive time-management.
I know you may be scared right now, but don’t be! If you’re passionate about your idea and recognize the work needed to do it, you should strike while you are hot. I don’t regret for a minute what I have given up to watch my business baby grow while my human babies beam with pride as I show them what hard work and discipline can create.
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