Before You Begin – Part 1

Many people dream of owning their own business. Some have a vision down inside they’ve replayed and worked on for years, and some are just tired of working for “The Man”. They want to call their own shots.

Owning your own business is much like raising children. (or sometimes running a daycare, but that’s another article.) There will be moments of great joy and pride, and there will be moments of frustration or even anger. And just like child rearing, if you guide and nurture them right, it’s hard to beat the moment when they come into their own, and you get to say, “that’s my child.”

Over the next several articles, I’m going to share with you some wisdom I’ve gathered over the years. These are not absolutes, but can save you from much self-inflicted frustration.

One of the first things to consider as you decide on when to launch into the great entrepreneurial sea is your own financial position. How will you pay the household bills until your business can afford to pay you? Does your spouse earn enough money to cover living expenses? How much money do you have saved? I’m not talking about just enough money to go through the mechanics of starting your business, I’m talking about how long you could fund your business and pay your bills without a paycheck from your business.

As entrepreneurs, we are naturally optimistic. However, the old adage of “hope for the best and plan for the worst” is certainly worth following here. There will be enough stress getting your business off the ground. You certainly don’t need to add stress that could have been prevented.

If you are the sole breadwinner and looking to jump in fulltime to your new endeavor, my recommendation is at least 12 months of expenses in savings. This is over and above what you need to start your business.

If you are not there financially, consider whether or not you can start your business part time while you still keep your job.

This is also a time to consider what sacrifices are worth making for the dream of owning your own business. Where can you cut the family budget to make it on one income or make the savings last longer? These are some of the things that make for great stories once your business is successful.

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