Decide if you really want to be in business:
You will be putting some (not all, hopefully) of your net worth at risk when you take the plunge and start your own business. You will run the risk of becoming eccentric, meaning creating a life that is out of balance, with working hours taking away from other family or pleasurable activities. There may be levels of stress you have not experienced as an employee.
Decide what business and where:
Once you have decided you have the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur and that you definitely want to be in business, then you must decide which business is best for you and where to locate that business. Selection strategy is covered later on in this Session.
Decide whether to start full-time or moonlight:
There are some interesting advantages and some pitfalls in starting as a moonlight business. (That is, a business you start in your off hours while still working at your current job.) More often than not, the advantages of starting your business as a moonlighter outweigh the risks:
- You avoid burning your bridges of earnings, including retirement, health and fringe benefits and vacations.
- Your full-time job won’t suffer if you maintain certain conflict of interest disciplines, including compartmentalizing your job and business into completely separate worlds.
- You can avoid conflict of interest with your job by choosing a business that is appropriate for moonlighting, such as: single products, real estate, specialized food, e-commerce, direct marketing or family-run operations.
- There are great advantages for operating a family business. The family can run the business while you are at work. You have a built-in organizational structure. You can teach your kids the benefits of being in business.
But there are also some pitfalls to consider in starting a moonlight business:
- There is a temptation to spend time at your job working on your moonlight business. That is unfair to your employer and should not be done under any circumstances. (You may need a family member or some trusted person to cover emergencies when you are at your job.)
- Another problem may be competing with your employer, which, again, is not right. Think of how you would feel or handle this employee if you were the boss.
- Any kind of conflict with your regular work can jeopardize your job and your moonlight business.
- Overwork and mental and physical exhaustion can also become a very real problem for moonlight entrepreneurs