are you really ready to be your own boss?

By Tricia Scott

We live in a time when women, more than ever before, are harnessing their creativity and forging new paths into businesses across the globe.

What a time to be alive!

We're blazing our own trails, stepping into the unknown and embracing the excitement of the challenge. All of the yes to that.

If this is you, and you're considering quitting the 9-5 in favour of being the boss then one of the questions to ask yourself is how ready are you? Remember when we talked about excitement vs passion? Well, that's just one of the considerations when making a decision that has the potential to change your life and that of those closest to you. You need to be sure you've thought it out and you're well equipped to make the move.

Heres a couple of questions to ask yourself before jumping in;

Is entrepreneurship right for you?

Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone and that's not a bad thing. Industry would never survive if everyone wanted to work for themselves! You have to decide if being an entrepreneur will work for you and your lifestyle. This means taking into account your personality, time restrictions, finances and commitments. Start by making a simple list of pros and cons as you see them right now and then revisit in a month or so when you've researched your idea in depth and talked to your friends and family. Do they still look the same?

Are you committed to the dream?

It's not likely that you are going to manifest a massive overnight success. I'm sorry, I know I sound like a massive fun sponge but this is a big decision and one that requires a pragmatic approach. The road to entrepreneurial success can be a really long one and for this reason, you need to ensure you're in it for the long haul. Dedication goes a long way in this arena, the fact that you're here, reading this tells me you're likely on the way to making that decision already.

Do you have a well thought out plan?

This might sound obvious but you would be amazed at how many women I've spoken to who say they're ready and excited to make the change but when questioned about their business plan can't actually articulate what their short, medium and long-term goals are or what their idea actually means to them (think those poor underprepared folks on Dragons Den when the Dragon’s start quizzing them on their financial plans). This needs to be crystal clear before you do anything else. Its only from here that you can begin to understand what you are bringing to the table, how it differs in the marketplace and determine when you can expect your idea to become profitable and therefore what provisions you're going to need up until then.

Get a pen or take out your laptop and get planning. Better still create a vision board of everything your business is going to be and hang it somewhere you can see it every day.

Do you have the hands-on knowledge?

Knowledge and experience go a long way when considering starting a business. Have you done this sort of thing before? Do you have experience of the industry? Do you really believe in the product or service you offer?

Learn all you can before you take the plunge, consider long-term, what will you need to know about? Advertising, sales, payroll, tax, staffing? Of course, you will learn as you go but it's a lot easier to learn when you're in a job than it is when you are the job! Be prepared and open to learning, taking advice from wherever you can get it and consider all sides. Look around for free training in your local area and online. The more you know before you make the step, the better the chance of profitability.

Are you brave?

Generally speaking, the world of business is no place for the passive. You've got to be able to sell yourself and what you offer to the world. This can be scary but it isn't insurmountable. If you're willing to get your game face on and really believe in your idea then your passion and energy will go a long way for you but you have to know that you're going to have to do the work.

What will you have to sacrifice?

Going it alone will inevitably go hand in hand with certain sacrifices. For me those have included, time, (some) friendships, money and more than a few hours of sleep (and I'm a girl who loves my sleep!). On the upside, it can also mean unlimited earning potential, freedom and more quality family time. Go back to your pros and cons list. Where does your idea fit in? Are you willing (and able) to make the sacrifices?

Do you have a cash reserve?

Again, not to be the proverbial fun sponge but we have to talk about the real deal of money. A cash reserve isn't just sensible, its essential to sustaining the initial period of your startup if you're going to do it full time. There are no rules here and everyone's situations will be different but a decent guide would be to have six or twelve months worth of 'salary' put away to cover day to day expenses and any out of the ordinary bills that may arise. If this isn't possible it's not the end of the road, plenty of businesses start with no initial capital, it just means you may have to be more creative about money in the initial stages. Think about researching and sourcing some funding or supplementing your earnings by working part or full time until you get going. It may take some sacrifice (as above) but only you can decide if it's worth it.

Do you have a support nework around you?

What happens when you have a setback or an achievement? Do you have someone you can turn to for a pick-me-up, advice or a high five? I guarantee you this journey will be a huge amount easier if you can rely on a support network for the good and tough times. This can be family, friends, a spouse or partner or our community (if you're not yet a member you can request to be so here, its free and we have people from all over the world at all stages of business and life including our awesome guest editors, you are never alone here). Solid support really can make the difference between a successful endeavour and giving up when you feel discouraged. It's very important to realise this will happen from time to time but it doesn't have to be the end of the road, remember, a setback is a bruise, not a tattoo.

So how did you do? Planning ahead and considering the points above will go some way in setting yourself up for entrepreneurial success but inevitably it's down to you. Being your own boss is an empowering experience but it's often not a smooth road, prepare yourself as best you can and then take the next step. It doesn't have to be overwhelming, break it down, ask questions and get curious. Let it be fun too, there are no rules that it has to be stressful! I've found that doing what I love has given me the freedom to really explore my creativity and I absolutely love it! Importantly, remember also that if it turns out that it isn't for you its not a sign of failure! It's just a pointer into another direction meant for you. Embrace it and more than anything, enjoy your journey.

I believe in you.

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