The Truth About Starting a Business

I never planned to be an entrepreneur.  I wasn't one of those people who went through high school and college dreaming up ideas for startups.

But the opportunity presented itself, and I decided to go for it.  In retrospect, I had always been entrepreneurial in my other jobs.  I enjoy working solo and always took complete ownership of whatever I was working on.  I am also extremely organized - and to say I am self-motivated and driven would be an understatement. 

Photo: Getty Images

With Shop with Style now in its 11th (!) year, here are a few things to think about if you're thinking of starting your own company.  I learned these quickly when I started out in 2006 - and they all remain important today:

#1 - Be Prepared to Work - All the Time

Because you will work - or at least think about it - 24/7.

#2 - Make Sure You Love It

Because #1.

#3 - But…Loving It Isn't Enough

If there is not a market for what you are selling, your passion will only take you so far.  To make money and build a sustainable business, you need to meet a need in the marketplace.

#4 - Get a Handle on the Financial Stuff

My previous post on five financial tips for starting a business highlights the importance of tending to accounting, legal, taxes and other matters - not just the creative side.  Importantly, make sure you have enough money banked to pay living and business expenses until income starts coming in.

#5 - Write a Business Plan

A critical step, to make sure you have thought through all aspects of the business.  Note:  This is not for the purpose of getting a business loan or securing investors, which is a major "don't."

#6 - Get Organized

Develop systems for managing every aspect of the business.  From your schedule to finances to client projects, do this from the get-go.  Otherwise, you will constantly be playing catch up.  This also frees up your mental energy to run and grow the business.

If you are an entrepreneur, what else would you add to this list?