Down To Business. The First 10 Steps To Entrepreneurship For Women, 2009

Before setting off on your new venture consider the question: Are entrepreneurs born or made? I believe it’s both. You’re born with certain helpful traits, and you acquire or make up for the rest. It’s not one rigid set of criteria; entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, genders and nationalities. Perhaps the one characteristic that differentiates a start-up business, at least in the beginning, is the dramatic impact of its founders and owners. They envision it, create it and do everything from scratch to get it up and keep it going. That’s why it is so important to first understand who you are. This chapter will explore the reasons one decides to open their own business and the personal characteristics it takes to be successful.

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Take a moment and ask yourself, why do you want to do this? Are you giving up a cushy job with benefits and sacrificing your life savings in order to turn your world upside down. Are you crazy? You need to know your motivation for the major changes you are about to make.

Here are the top eight reasons why people decide to go into business.

Eureka! You have a brilliant idea, and you want to give it a try. This idea has been running around in your head, and while you’ve been preaching like a missionary trying to spread the word, no one else wants to go for it, so why not you?

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You’re not the boss of me. You’re tired of being any employee with someone else telling you what to do. You’ve watched your manager and said to yourself, “I do that, and do it better.” You want to call the shots, be a better boss and assume a leadership role not available to you as an employee.

Ka-ching, I wanna be rich. You think your idea will make money. You’ve read stories of entrepreneurs striking it rich and think your idea will be that big cash register at the end of your rainbow. Or maybe it’s a way to make extra money to supplement your current income.

I hate my job. You’re uninspired by your work, stuck in a mind–numbing, dead-end situation with no room for growth and need to make a radical change. This is often the case with minorities and women who have bumped up against the glass ceiling and feel they can only go so far working for someone else.

You’re fired! Whether they don’t need you, don’t want you or are just not that into you; whether they call it corporate downsizing or contraction or outsourcing, you have no job. You may have been laid off—hopefully with a buyout or severance pay—and now you have some money. Even with no money, you see your departure as a sign and an opportunity to shake free the shackles and pursue your dream.

It’s glamorous and exciting. Having a business can create a lifestyle with value, recognition and ego gratification. You want to feel important and have people, friends and family look up to you when you say, “I own a business.”

Satisfaction, professional growth and increased responsibility. You’re just not that into them. Your current job is not gratifying, and you’re dying a slow death punching the clock. You want your work to have meaning and value and not just be something you do for a paycheck.

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Flexibility and freedom. It’s about you and your time. You want to work around your own personal and family schedule with more choice in your work hours.

Clara and Alicia Villarosa co-authored Down To Business. The First 10 Steps To Entrepreneurship For Women. Alicia Villarosa is also a regular contributor to The Root.