As a business writer who specializes in writing about women business owners and the issues they face and as a woman who has started and run several businesses since 1995, I’m puzzled when I hear women say:
I really want to start a business - but I have no idea what kind of business to start.
I hate to break it to these women, however, wanting to start a business and having an idea for a business are one and the same for almost every person who becomes an entrepreneur. I’m not saying that every entrepreneur has a fully formed business plan in their head before they start - or even one on paper - but I don’t think I’ve ever met or heard of anyone who just “wanted to start a business” but were stymied by what kind of business they should start.
My feeling is that if you want to start a business but have no idea what kind of business, chances are what you really want is the myth of the flexible, work-from-home entrepreneurial life or you want the perceived “control” and “creativity” that having your own business seems to offer.
Wanting those things does not usually make you a good candidate for entrepreneurship. My advice to you if you are saying to yourself “Yeah, that’s what I want - to work from home, have more flexible hours, and have a little more control over what I do” is to look into working from home for someone else’s company. Or explore ways you can telecommute at your current job. Or seek out a job where telecommuting is built in.
If you are still wondering if you should be an entrepreneur, here’s a quick quiz for you.
1. Do you have an idea for a business that is burning a hole in your brain, begging to be made real?
2. Are you a risk taker and love taking chances, even in the face of adversity?
3. Are you ready to spend hours and hours a day - and night - making your business happen?
4. Are you prepared to have your life dominated by business, often at the expense of your personal and home life?
5. Can you stand not taking a vacation for a year? Two years? Three?
6. Are you up for waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night realizing that the success - or failure - of your business relies mostly on you in the first year?
7. If you will have employees, are you ready to watch most of your hard earned money go into other people’s pockets as you may have to take a pay cut or no pay until your business really gets off the ground?
8. Can you live without health insurance for a while or do you have a spouse/partner who can put you on their insurance plan?
If you answered YES to ALL of these questions, then maybe you do have what it takes to start a business. But go back to #1 - what is your business idea?
Stay tuned for Thursday’s post when I’ll talk about how I came up with the idea for my first business - Cybergrrl, Inc.