You Have What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur?
So, you have decided
that you want to work from home AND be your own boss.
Youíve seen the commercials with the woman leisurely getting out of
bed, taking time to exercise and then conducting business in her pajamas while
her happy baby sits nearby. Unfortunately,
this is not the reality of working from home, especially if you are working for
yourself. Do you really have what
it takes to be an entrepreneur? There
are a lot more challenges than you may realize.
Here are some questions to think about.
live without your Income?
Though many home
business opportunities claim to offer quick income, more often than not, this is
not the case. You may have months of low or even no income whether itís a
business that you buy or an idea of your own that you turn into a business.
If you are going to quit a job to start the business you need to make
sure that you can afford it first. While
your take home income from a job may be smaller because of dry cleaning bills
and gas costs, it is still money coming in.
Use our wage
comparison form at Wage Comparisons
to determine what your current actual take home income is now.
Once you have an idea of how much you are bringing home, do a trial run
of living without that income. Put
your money into a savings account for a few months rather than spending it.
This will give you a feel for what it will be like living without your
income and will also give you a little nest egg to work with Ė or money to use
to start your business.
Do you have
the up and at Ďem required?
If you are
envisioning slow leisurely mornings in bed followed by a hot cup of coffee over
the morning paper you are in for a big surprise.
Most people that I know of who run their own home based businesses get up
VERY early to get as much done as possible before the day even starts.
This may be required of you too. Do
you have what it takes to get up and get going?
Do you have
the full support of your Significant Other?
Does your partner
agree with your decision to work for yourself?
If you will be working from home you need to discuss what your schedule
will be ahead of time. Your special
someone may have unrealistic expectations about what you will get done around
the house now that you are home. If
he or she has visions of gourmet meals waiting in the spotlessly clean kitchen
after work he may be in for a rude awakening.
Running a home business takes a lot of time and effort.
You will still probably be using daytime hours for work Ė this is a
job. And f you donít work during
the day the alternative is working at night.
This may take away from time that you used to spend with your significant
other. Either way, there will be
sacrifices and you need to discuss it up front. Be prepared to negotiate the hours that you will put in and
when you will do the work. You will
be better off if you both have realistic expectations ahead of time.
Do you have
good time management?
Whether you are a
procrastinator or a go-getter, you can run into time management problems.
If you are a procrastinator you run the risk of missing important
deadlines or getting yourself buried in over your head.
If, on the other hand, you are a person who gets things done right away,
you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and getting burned out.
Working from home means that the work is always there.
If you are the go-getter type, you need to be able to walk away from it
mentally while it stays near you physically.
Do you have
the physical space?
Do you have the
space required to stay organized and compartmentalize the business to some
extent. This is particularly
important if you are the go-getter type. If
you are easily sucked back in to your work you will need some physical distance
away from it when itís time for a break.
Or, maybe the the television or housework pull you away from your work.
Either way, having some amount of physical segregated space can be very
whether or not you have separate physical space, you really, really need
separate mental space. If itís work time it needs to be work time.
There are a lot of distractions to deal with in a workplace, but in your
home the problem is even worse. You
can go in a million directions away from your work.
You can easily get caught up in the housework that needs to be done.
That pile of laundry could be calling your name.
The television is close by, your Great Aunt could call or your next door
neighbor could make a surprise visit. But
if you have a chunk of time allotted to work you need to keep your focus on the
You need to stay
very organized. If you are starting a home business there will probably be
periods of time when you are stretching yourself time and skill-wise.
Initially, you will probably be doing it all Ė you will be the
marketing person, the clerical support, biller, accountant.
And if the business expands, you will experience periods where it is time
to bring on help but you havenít gotten the right person yet.
There will be
lots of varying details, all of which need time and attention.
Keeping the resulting paperwork and task lists organized will be of the
utmost importance. You donít want
to waste time looking for things every time you sit down to work.
Do you have
the drive to keep going?
When you hate a
job there is still some justification to keep going until you find something
new. You at least get a paycheck.
Remember, when you start your own business you may have a long period of
time when you are working very hard little or no money.
You really need to be gung-ho about your business.
You need to love it. There
will be times when you feel frustrated, tired and overwhelmed.
The love for what you are doing is what will keep you going.
Are your kids old
enough to be self-sufficient or do they still rely on you for help?
Are they so young that you need to watch their every move?
If they are in school during the day then you will have some time to
work. If they are still very young,
however, you still may need to rely on some form of childcare.
Or, if your business can be done at anytime you may be logging some very
late and/or very early hours. You
probably wonít be able to get everything done during naps Ė when do they all
sleep at the same time anyway?
will need to be discussed with a significant other ahead of time.
Can you live without your income while still paying childcare?
Or will your partner need to pick up some extra slack in the evening
hours to give you time to get some work done while the kids are still up?
Or, are you going to try to do it all while everyone else is asleep?
Any of the options take sacrifice.
deal with the isolation?
that you will need to deal with is the transition to working alone.
Even if your kids are home with you you will miss the adult contact that
working outside of the home provides. You
canít cross the hall to bounce an idea off of someone else and you canít
gossip over a cup of coffee. Itís
you and the work. You may have some
contacts over the phone or via e-mail but it just isnít the same.
You will need to be the kind of person that can handle this isolation or
youíll need to be creative enough to find other ways of connecting with adults
on a regular basis.
Owning your own
business and working from home is a very challenging adventure but it can be
very rewarding. Being prepared and working out some of these details ahead of
time will help get you off on the right track!
Kirsten Ross is mother of two sons and is
a Certified Human Resource Professional (SPHR) dedicated to helping women
achieve more life balance and to transforming the design of work.
Visit Womans-Work.com at http://www.womans-work.com
to search our revolutionary flexible work job board featuring more than 35,000
fresh work from home, part time, job share, flex time and telecommuting
opportunities, search for a job share partner or
read valuable career, life balance and family articles. You may also email
her at mailto:KRoss@Womans-Work.com