Moonlight before you jump in! You love your idea. But will you love doing it full-time? “A lot of times, the fantasy of being in business for yourself is very different from the reality,” Fortgang says. Don’t quit your job immediately. Instead, first volunteer in the field, work part-time on the weekends or observe someone else doing it. All of this will help you understand your market intimately and figure out how viable your idea really is. Martin says she recalls one woman who loved antiques and wanted to open a shop, so she worked weekends at an antique store. In the end, she decided she loved it because it was a hobby, not her profession, and she opted not to start her own business. The amount of time, money, and commitment needed to make a success of a new venture is enough to turn off almost anybody — and it’s better to find out you’re not up for it before you’ve left your job.
Ask for support. Going out on your own is a big deal, and a support system is a necessity. “Starting a business takes a lot of time and energy and brainpower, and you get very lonely,” Martin says. “I don’t know how you could be successful without support.” Let your kids in on your plan so they feel as if they’re a part of it. Ask your partner for his input. Look for a mentor or business coach who can weigh in on practical decisions. Join an online community or your local chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). There’s also the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). And don’t forget to network — the more people you know, the more people know about your business.
Go for it. At a certain point, you have to stop revising your business plan. If you’ve done the research, you know your market, you know how you’re pricing your product, and you know whom you’re selling to, it’s time to set things in motion. “Women who are in business and successful are action-oriented,” Martin says. So go ahead—take action!
Photo courtesy of Ivelin Radkov/Shutterstock.com
Related: Are You Ready for Self-Employment?
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