By Dee Adams
If you've ever dreamed about starting your own business, you are not alone. There were almost 9 million self-employed workers in 2010, according to statistics compiled by Challenger, Gray, & Christmas. Each year, a percentage of the workforce trades in their 9-5 jobs for the entrepreneurial life, but some workers start a sideline business to supplement their salaries.
Business startup cuts across all socio-economic groups; from managers, executives, and professionals to blue collar workers. Success stories include:
- A Harvard graduate with a degree in mathematics and economics who left management consulting to pursue her passion for desserts. She started a bakery and Café, and began writing cookbooks.
- A Ph.D. in political science from University of Chicago who opened a motorcycle repair shop. He wrote a book about the value of working with one's hands.
- A web designer and consultant fired from her job because of her personal blogging. She built a lucrative home-based empire with her mommy blog.
- A firefighter who invented better fire safety equipment for the consumer and industrial marketplace, and created a multimillion-dollar venture.
But, for many other would-be entrepreneurs finding the right startup is challenging.
Many issues may cloud the process, and certain questions asked and answered in the pre-planning stage can pinpoint conflicts and problems, and their solutions.
Here are several important questions:
Do you know how many aptitudes you possess?
Aptitudes are inborn natural talents and should not be confused with acquired skills. Each person has an average of six innate skills, some unused and some hidden.
While a percentage of the population may be able to determine their own aptitudes by self-assessment, most people are not aware of their full potential, according to writer Margaret Broadley. Over a 40 year period, Broadley documented the work of the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization specializing in the scientific research of human abilities.
What are your least favorite skills?
Create a checklist of work tasks that you dislike and have trouble executing.
What feels more comfortable, introverted or extroverted personality traits?
Make a checklist of your actual patterns of behavior in work and social interactions, not what you believe your traits are.
Note: Some people adapt their personalities in order to fit into social or working situations and may have an opposite personality from the traits that they often exhibit.
What is your motivation for choosing self-employment?
Using a single sentence, describe why you want to be your own boss.
What is your history with money?
Your money history includes your family's relationship with financial issues, the messages you learned as a child, and your pattern of behavior and attitude toward money as an adult, which may be reflected in your current credit history.
Summarize your answer in two or three short sentences.
Socio-economic factors, like the state of the economy, the ability to borrow money, or to easily relocate have an impact on the number of people who pursue entrepreneurship each year, but many aspiring entrepreneurs ignore national economic trends in pursuit of their dreams. Those who succeed keep their risks low, and instinctively review their personal development homework beforehand.
What other issues are standing in your way?
Dee Adams is the author of Finding Your Niche: Discover a Profitable Idea for a Business at Home—or Elsewhere, and a new online class. For free excerpts, visit her blog at http://www.nichecreativity.com.