10 Crucial Factors All Want To Be Freelancers and Other Small Business Owners Must Consider

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Would you like to sleep in late, quit work early, and earn a whole lot of money?

Well, who wouldn’t like those things? That description is what many people think it’s like to be a freelance mom, but it isn’t really a very accurate picture of what freelancing is like.

Are you thinking about freelancing? You might be surprised at the work that actually goes into owning a small business.

Remember that freelancers are considered small business owners for tax purposes. Review this post on SitePoint for a more detailed discussion on freelancing as a small business.

So, are you really ready to start your own business? This post highlights ten factors all would-be freelancers and other small business owners should consider before they start a business.

Are You Really Ready to Own Your Own Business?

Freelancers and other new business owners are often shocked by the differences between what they thought owning a business would be like and what it’s really like. (Other work-from-home moms, such as telecommuters and those who run an online store, also experience some of the same differences.)

Carefully consider the questions on this checklist before going into business for yourself:
1.     Do you have enough time? Many new freelancers think that starting a freelancing business will give them more free time, but the reality is that freelancing takes a lot of time and energy. Even if you are only going to freelance part-time, you still must have time available to dedicate to your freelancing efforts.
2.     Do you have space? While it is possible to run a freelancing business from a laptop in your kitchen, that’s not the ideal work environment. If you are starting another type of online business, such as an online store, you may also need space to store inventory items.
3.     Do you need childcare? While a freelancing business can be run from your home, many freelancers are surprised to learn that they still need some childcare. This may be especially true if you have trouble concentrating when your child is awake or if you must meet with clients.
4.     Are there financial concerns? While you may dream of raking in piles of money in your spare time, the reality is that most new businesses are not profitable at first. Freelancing is no different from other small businesses in this regard. It may take months, or even several years, before your freelancing business is profitable.
5.     Can you afford startup costs? Even a freelancing business has startup costs. At a minimum, you need to have a computer with an Internet connection. You will probably also want a phone line. You may also want to create your own freelancing website or online store, which may mean webhosting costs and/or web design costs.
6.     Can you work independently? If you’ve never been self-employed before, you may not fully realize what it’s like to work without supervision. As a freelancer, you won’t have a boss to remind you of deadlines or to suggest improvements. In fact, there won’t even be anyone to assign projects to you–you will have to go out and get them yourself.
7.     Do you have a support group? Many home-based freelancers complain of loneliness. Even with your kids at home with you, you may still find that you miss the camaraderie of an office environment.  You miss the adult interaction. Seasoned freelancers reach out to others in a similar situation for emotional support and encouragement.
8.     Do you have a marketable skill and/or viable product idea? Before you can even think about becoming a freelance mom or starting another home-based business, you need to have a good business idea.
9.     Do you have business experience? While previous business experience is not strictly necessary, the more you know about business before you start freelancing the better off you are. If you lack some practical business experience, you may want to take a course in business basics before you launch your own business.
10.  Are you willing to market your business? Owning a business involves marketing your skills or products, yet many people hate to sell. If you’re not willing to sell your product or services, you may have trouble finding enough clients to stay in business.

In addition to this checklist, there are many great free resources available to help you plan the start of your business.

Even More Ways to Tell Whether You Are Ready to Start

Here are two more tools that you can use to measure your business readiness:

U.S. Small Business Administration, Assessment Tool.

Use this detailed questionnaire to measure your business readiness. Your answers will be automatically scored. You will receive suggestions on how to better prepare yourself.

CNN Money, Quiz: Start your own business?

Here are ten realistic questions for new business owners with honest and detailed explanations for each question. It will just take a few minutes to complete this quiz.

What to Do Next

It’s time to apply what you’ve learned.

Use the questions and resources in this article to honestly assess your skills, attitudes and experience. At the end of the process, you should have a good idea of how ready you are to start a business from home or start freelancing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.