The thought of being your own boss and taking control of your future is perhaps one of the most enticing reasons people decide to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. After all, over 27 million Americans have decided to follow their dreams and start their own business. But, while entrepreneurship may sound exciting and appealing, it can also be a bit frightening if you are a brand new business owner.

If you are a first-time entrepreneur, I can guarantee that you are feeling anticipation as well as a bit of fear for what the future brings. To help put your mind to ease, I’ve gathered a few things that you should know before you decide to take the plunge and start a business.

1. DECIDE WHAT INDUSTRY YOU WANT TO BE IN

One of the first steps of entrepreneurship is deciding what industry you want to establish your business in. Are you passionate about clothing design? Did you study photography in college? Do you have experience in marketing? Take your background and interests into consideration when deciding what you want to do for a business, as these can work as a good basis for establishing your company. Whether you choose to start a clothing line or an advertising company, remember that you need to develop an idea that you won’t be sick of a couple months down the road.

2. CONSIDER YOUR FINANCES

Once you have your idea set in stone, it may be tempting to quit your job and jump in head-first as a new business owner. Unfortunately, it always takes longer than expected to turn a profit from your work. And if you no longer have a steady income from a job to rely on, you may find yourself barely scraping by during those months. I know it may seem like a great idea to quit your job so that you can put all of your time and energy into your business, but you also need to keep in mind that you need to be able to survive during those first months too. I’d recommend that you stick out your job for a few months until you start making a nice profit, or that you have at least 6-12 months of income saved up and available for you to live off of if you do decide to quit.

3. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

We all have a comfort zone. They are that spot where we are comfortable with where we currently are, which can often be tough to leave. There’s nothing wrong with having a comfort zone, but if you aren’t careful, your comfort zone can be detrimental to your business. As a business owner, you need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. While you may be confident with and know everything about your businesses’ primary focus in advertising (or whatever it may be), if you aren’t willing to learn the other aspects of running a business such as accounting or sales, then you will quickly fail as an entrepreneur. Learn to stretch yourself and leave your comfort zone so that you’ll be able to run a successful business, instead of one that comes crashing to the ground when something goes wrong.

4. CREATE A PLAN

If you want to be able to find investors to back your ideas, or otherwise find people to join you in your business ventures, you need to have a business plan set in place. While your idea may seem great to you, if you aren’t able to back it up with a plan and other information then you certainly won’t be able to find anyone willing to invest in or join your business. We’ve covered what your business plan needs to have in a previous post, so I won’t take too much time to talk about it. But keep in mind that your plan should essentially include analyses of your company, an action plan, how you plan to reach customers, the funding your business will require, etc.

5. SUCCESS DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT

Entrepreneurship takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and patience. It may seem discouraging that your business hasn’t taken off after a week or even after a few months, but remember that success doesn’t occur overnight. If you consider some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs who started one of the most successful businesses of all time (aka Apple) in his basement, you’ll quickly realize what determination and patience is required to start a business. Apple is the perfect example of business success that didn’t happen overnight. Steve Jobs went through his fair share of ups and downs with his business, and it took a long time for the multi-billion dollar company to be where it is now. So don’t give up hope because your business isn’t viral right now! Keep pushing forward and working hard. Your hard-earned success will come, it just takes time.

No one ever said entrepreneurship was easy, but it is certainly rewarding if you’re willing to put in the effort. If you keep these 5 things in mind before you start your business, then you are certain to set yourself up for entrepreneurial success.

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