Do you feel ready start your own business? Before you even begin to sketch out your business plan or examine the numbers, it’s important to pause for a personal reality check.

I think that entrepreneurship is often romanticized. Freedom. Independence. The ability to meet the school bus at 4:00 pm. I am familiar with this romantic vision because I had it myself.

It’s very important to spend some time soul-searching and considering the following questions:

1. Do you believe in your business idea – really believe in it? You must believe in your product or service and your ability to deliver it in a superior manner. I could not have taken this radically new path if I didn’t believe in my teas and in the wonderful experience of tea-drinking! It is truly meaningful to me.

2. Are you motivated for the long haul? When the initial creative excitement dies down, will you be able to keep your business passion alive? All businesses have their share of drudgery. I enjoyed the tea tasting and design elements of my business so much, but those tasks have now been overtaken by operations and inventory and distribution chains. Nevertheless, I’m happy to report that I do feel focused and motivated to keep at it.

3. Can you live with the stress? There will be long hours and financial pressure. Your business will probably, at least initially, seep into all parts of your life. My car passenger side has become a portable office, and I had to buy an enormous totebag to carry my laptop and samples and papers everywhere. Business doesn’t stop for tennis lessons and chess tournaments! Also important to consider is whether your family can roll with such changes. I am very thankful for a family that is tolerant of my (hopefully temporary) distraction!

All of this said, please don’t be scared. Most entrepreneurs say that advantages of having a business far outweigh the risks. There’s nothing like being your own boss and working for yourself. Nothing beats the excitement, challenge, and opportunities that entrepreneurship provides. So, get real and then get going!

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