I am offering a few insights to prospective entrepreneurs based on my 30+ years experience in and around the small business sector. Many employees dream about starting their own business but never do. On the other hand, many entrepreneurs are created overnight – by necessity. In the 1980s, I worked for a company that closed its doors and I needed to find money to help support my family. My spouse worked but we had young kids and we needed to fill in the gap in cash flow. I found sporadic work and went about trying to find clients the wrong way. This was pre-internet, pre-cell phones and pre-web pages we now take for granted. I was offering a service and it was a service that businesses required. I  got depressed thinking: “why aren’t clients beating a path to my door?”  If we fast-forward to 2013 there are many new entrepreneurs who feel the same way I did and they have the benefit of all the gadgets that were unavailable to me at the time.

This seguays into a self-assessment exercise you should conduct before you venture out into the new world of self-employment. Entrepreneurs can now work from home as easily as work at or from a client’s establishment. That still doesn’t guarantee success. I loosely call this the “self-employment gut check.”

Ask yourself the following questions and they aren’t rhetorical ones:

  • What is your idea and is there a need for your (business) idea?
  • Do your skill sets (academic and career) make you an ideal candidate for this endeavour?
  • Have you done any “recce” (research) on the potential for your business idea – in your local area? (Forget about an exponential world market that is falsely claimed in TV get-rich-quick ads)
  • Do you understand the risks involved in starting such a venture?
  • How well do you handle stress?
  • Are there conduits (possible) partners in your area that you can tap into to offset your shortcomings in gaining access to your market?
  • What is your family situation? If you have a spouse who has a full time job this is a bonus but, can he/she support the family (and you) on one income for quite some time?
  • Do you appreciate the work that will be involved?

I will end this post here and continue on the self-employment theme in future posts.

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