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Last updated: 7-28-11


Is Self-Employment Right for You?
by Phil Hanson

Before you kiss off your boss and your day job in favor of self-employment, you should place yourself under the microscope and give yourself a critical examination. Look for traits, qualities and assets that help to achieve your goals, but also for negative aspects that work to undermine your efforts.

Do you have sufficient capital to get your proposed home-based business started, or access to people that can provide startup capital? While itís possible to start a business with very little money invested, youíll have to work harder, longer, and the odds against succeeding go up exponentially.

Is there ample space in your home in which to work? If you have to cramp your lifestyle, or share workspace with non-work-related activities, or if your children have unrestricted access to your work area during normal business hours, you may want to rethink your options.

Will your business be a good fit for the neighborhood, or will it give everyone in the neighborhood fits? A business that generates lots of noise or excessive traffic might be acceptable in a rural setting, but not so in a residential area.

Do you have existing skills and knowledge that you can immediately put to use to help you build your business? Unless you have prior experience with self-employment in your chosen business field, thereís going to be a learning curve; the more you have to learn, the steeper the learning curve is going to be.

How about attitude? Are you the kind of ďcan doĒ person who never gives up? Or are you the kind of person who folds when the going becomes the least bit difficult?

What about other personal traits like energy, drive, enthusiasm, determination and commitment? Entrepreneurial success depends heavily on these essential qualities.

Is your outward personality conducive to good business relationships? Are you friendly, honest and trustworthy? Or are you sullen, aggressive, intimidating, brutish or crude? Because people are more likely to do business with those they perceive as likable you donít want to give potential customers reasons not to like you.

Itís important for you to be unfailingly honest when doing a self-evaluation. Whether you inflate the positives or gloss over the negatives, the lies you tell yourself will come back, manifested as ugly truths, to haunt you. Only the unvarnished truth can provide you with accurate information with which to predict your chances for success or your potential for failure.

Considering that 80% of new businesses fail within the first five years, youíll do well to avoid the mistakes that lead to early failure. Deficiencies or instabilities in personality, capitalization, management, marketing, strategic planning and technology are all potential disasters waiting to knock the legs out from under your business before you ever get it running up to speed.

Maybe, after careful self-evaluation, youíre questioning the wisdom of self-employment. Maybe youíre thinking that a home-based business isnít right for you. After all, that 80% failure rate looks pretty scary. But, when you stop to think about that failure rate logically, youíll understand that itís not a testament to the number of people who fail in business, but a testament to the number of people who enter into business unprepared and ill-equipped to succeed.

With a little bit of work you can correct any shortcomings you find. In the beginning proceed slowly and exercise caution. As you gain experience and confidence youíll pick up momentum without even realizing it, and before you know it your name will join the list of successful home entrepreneurs.

Phil Hanson writes and edits e-media content at He also publishes Peteyís Pipeline E-zine, a quirky bi-monthly for Internet entrepreneurs. (more articles by Phil)

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