What works is passion. First and foremost, you have to love your idea. You have to love it so much that you interrupt yourself in conversations to make notes about it. You scribble on napkins in diners, bore all your friends to death, and make your spouse give you the look when he or she realizes you’re not really there in the room but off in dreamland. You have to love it that much. Why? Because becoming an entrepreneur is not easy. It requires more time than there are hours in the day, more effort than you ever thought possible, and more money than you – gulp – realized. Do you want to go through all the hassle and end up doing something you don’t love?
I’m serious, now. I know personally of some businessmen in my husband’s social circle who have their own stores and they are miserable. One opened a restaurant because his older brother owns one in another city. He doesn’t like to cook, he hates the odor of food in his clothes, he despises the daily hassle of dealing with the employees, and, oh yeah, he’s not that fond of the customers either. Yes, he’s a businessman, but is he successful? Define success. He sure isn’t happy.
Once you have the love thing, then you have to move on to the “making this a reality” phase, which is where most entrepreneurial ideas come to a screeching halt. If you really want to dump the 9 to 5 job and strike out on your own, you have to do more than pull out those scribbled-on napkins. You have to find out how to make your dream come true. Chances are, you have at least a vague idea of what you’ll need – a storefront for a retail establishment, a patent for an invention, a supplier for a new product. Get out a paper and pencil and start writing. Make it a stack of paper and a bunch of pencils and a pencil sharpener. You could probably use some coffee, too. Write down every detail you can think of. Neatness does not count but it should be legible at least to you. What do you have to have? When do you need to have it? Do you incorporate, go sole proprietor, register a website, contact a factory in Iowa? Are there still factories here in the U.S.? Anyway, you get the idea. Get it down on paper in extreme detail. Once you’ve done that, you’ve gotten farther into the process than most people do. Now you can go on to the next step.
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