So You Want to Be Your Own Boss?

June 10, 2013 Updated Jun 10, 2013 at 8:41 AM EDT

By Elizabeth P. Cipolla

June 10, 2013 Updated Jun 10, 2013 at 8:41 AM EDT

If the thought of being your own boss has crossed your mind, you are not alone. According to the US Small Business Administration, start-ups have averaged 600,000 annually during the past ten years.

Many of us are lured by visions of great wealth, job security and calling all the shots. Before you take the leap, it’s important to consider what you really need to know.

1. You need more than a great idea.

Everyone has ideas. When push comes to shove, most people don’t work to make them come to life. To be successful, you need to have an insatiable drive with a solid plan. Don’t accept failure as an option, and work harder than everyone else.Do you have the guts to get back up and find another way each time someone stops you from driving forward?

2. Know what you’re doing.

Don’t make the mistake of venturing into an industry you don’t know.You need to have some solid expertise and credentials behind you so you can make critical decisions. The more you know, the more advantages and protection you’ll have.

3. Know who you’re doing it for.

Don’t spend a penny on your business until you understand your target market. What is the size? Who are your customers? Is your product or service significant to them? Why do they need it?

4. Ask yourself, are you really motivated enough?

Being a business owner can be downright lonely, stressful and draining on you and your family as you immerse yourself into developing your business. The level of personal sacrifice is significant. It’s worth considering before jumping in to a venture.Your long term earning potential is much better if you run your own business, but it takes time to get there.

5. Find a mentor.

Boost your “ok” concepts into greatness. A savvy mentor will help you think through your ideas and avoid trouble you might not see.Many communities have groups of seasoned executives who meet monthly to mentor new and existing business owners in their ventures. Do some digging and check out what your community has to offer.