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--- The Bad News ---
It's estimated that only about 30 percent of all newly founded opportunities in United States are still in business after five years. The primary reasons for failure are poor management, from lack of necessary skills, and underestimating amount of money it takes to get started. Do you see how traits mentioned in previous section come into play?
But, wait! We're not necessarily talking about starting a business---we're just talking about breaking away and going into business for ourselves. Well, it's same thing. When you work for yourself, you're viewed as owning a business. With business ownership comes all of rights, obligations, privileges, headaches, and benefits of owning a small business.
As a small business owner, you're going to have less time for your personal life and you'll probably be using much of what you own as collateral to raise money for business. If you are willing to make those sacrifices, then let's move on to some of advantages and disadvantages of owning your own business.
* Pros: - Make more money than you can when working for someone else. - Be boss and make business decisions. - Job security. - Put your ideas into practice. - Learn about and participate in every aspect of a business. - Gain experience in a variety of disciplines. - Work directly with customers. - Benefit local economy. - Personal satisfaction of creating and running a successful business. - Work in a field or area that you enjoy. - Build real retirement value. - Put down roots in a community.
* Cons: - May have to take a large financial risk. - Work long hours and may have fewer opportunities to take vacations. - Spend a lot of your time attending to details of running a business. - Income is not steady. - Undertake tasks you find unpleasant. - Learn many new disciplines.
If you haven't closed this article yet, our primary focus is on business you can operate from your home. The benefits of working at home not only outweigh cons, but, in most cases, completely cancel negative aspects of running a small business.
* Pros: - Startup costs will be lower. - Operating costs will be lower. - Commute will be shorter. - Live anywhere and still operate your business. - Flexible schedule since your business can be conducted at your convenience.
* Cons: - More vulnerable to interruptions from family members and neighbors. - May have trouble attracting qualified employees. - May be less accessible to suppliers. - May have an image problem. - May run out of space at home if your business grows.
--- Making It Happen ---
Actually, once you make decision, you are already making it happen. I remember waiting for years deciding whether I wanted to take leap. But, one thing I found was that I could come up with a hundred reasons why I shouldn't take leap, and only a few reasons why I should.
I always worked in ivory tower of corporations and I always worked to climb ladder. As I went up ladder, I missed having my hands in middle of work. I wanted to do work, not watch work happen around me.
My mind was racing and playing tricks. I liked steady trickle of money from my full-time job because I knew that if something happened, my wife would be okay. I knew that I would have a job for years to come and I would never have to go on another interview.
On other side, I knew that I could make more money if I went to work for myself. I knew that I would have to find work and try to keep it and I would always be interviewing for new work.
I did some self-analysis to determine what my real problems were that contributed to my indecision. Stay or go. Do or don't. After some thought and realization, I concluded that I was scared. I was scared to death to take chance at success. Many of people that go to a psychiatrist's office are not failures---they are successes. People have an inherent fear of success. It is easier to wallow in sameness and security than it is to make a change to set yourself up for success.
The way I handled my fear was to start jotting down what I thought was success. I made a long list of things that I thought would put me in a position of being successful---by my own standards. Money, home, high-paying job, writing more books, and numerous other items. The problem was that I was not specific in my success list, which left me just as confused and scared as before. So, I sat down and rewrote list, this time, being more specific:
- $250,000 per year - working in a creative position where I could write and develop ideas and direction - write and publish 10 books this year covering predefined topics - write and self-publish two books this year covering predefined topics - ...
This is something I could work with. Now I can sit down and create steps required to achieve each item. But, do you notice inconsistencies in list? You can't write creatively and develop your own ideas, write books, make that amount of money, and work for someone else. This list helped me decide, conclusively, that I had to make it happen for myself. These goals were ones that I decided would make me happy and this was what I had to do.
Edward B. Toupin is a freelance consultant, writer, and published author living in Las Vegas with his singer/actress wife. He currently handles technical writing tasks for various companies in New York, Chicago, and Denver as well as imagineers and markets feature-length screenplays.