Starting your own business, Part 1

Here's something I heard in a lecture recently: "I'm SO looking forward to retirement! Absolutely canNOT wait." - "Aha, so you're not really enjoying your job then, are you." Well, if it's time for a change and you feel ready and inspired to become self-employed, let's have a look at the bigger picture.

First of all, I'm not going to try and talk you out of it. You're clever, you know if being self-employed were easy, everybody and their mother would be doing it. But they're not, and there are valid reasons to remain in employment: a steady paycheck, paid sick-leave, regular working hours, a union to ensure proper working conditions, weekends and paid time off to name but a few. Who in their right mind would give all that up for 100-hour-weeks, fitful sleeps, panic over monthly bills and private insurance, and inevitable cutbacks in lifestyle?

Entrepreneurs, that's who. Those amazing creatures who seem to radiate motivation, passion, knowledge, joy and, let's face it, a usually coffee-induced buzz. Entrepreneurs, creative geniuses, who have great ideas and see possibility where others don't. Who, even if the idea isn't that great, make things work through tenacity, perseverance, optimism and opening their mind to learning opportunities.

If that sounds like you, there's plenty of information on the web if you'd like to give it a shot and make it big under your own steam. Do you have a great idea already? Do you know of a specialty niche that's not being serviced yet? Or maybe you're most interested in setting your own hours. Because let's face it, once your business is established, you still have to work to keep it going, but there are definite perks (job satisfaction, anyone?)

Something that I've come to appreciate is that starting up my own business is not quite as linear as I had thought. Yes, there are checklists I can follow, and some things (like opening a business bank account) can only be done after certain other things (registering with the Secretary of State and obtaining an EIN from the IRS, for instance). But on the whole it's a very fluid process where many things happen (and can be prepared) at the same time.

It's easy to get discouraged and give up in the face of that mountain of work that precedes the glorious freedom of self-employment, but children of the information age that we are, rejoice: we are not alone. Somebody has done it before us, and they've documented how! I strongly encourage you to check out your local libraries, the internet, and your local SBA chapter. The folks at the Small Business Administration are friendly and helpful in all areas of the start-up, be it legal, financial or marketing advice. They've encouraged me to take a closer look at developing a business plan, even though I'm not looking for a bank-loan, so that's what I'm going to do now.

Til next time!

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