Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business?

startThe life of an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart – but for every risk, there is an opportunity for huge gain. The thrill of success is made even better by knowing that it’s YOUR dream being realized. What could be better than being your own boss, running your own small business?

Keep in mind that before you jump in with both feet, it’s important to make sure you can swim. Being prepared and going in with the right attitude and information sets you up for success.

Two years ago, Alexa von Tobel launched, a website dedicated helping and teaching women to manage their finances. In a recent blog post, Alexa outlines her top tips for starting your own company – and she’s got some great points.

1. How To Know Whether This Is The Right Time For You.
Starting a company requires time, money, and expertise. Do you know enough about the field you’re interested in? Is there a certain kind of experience you might need in order to make your business a success, like taking a course or learning a new skill at your current day job?

2. Get Skin In The Game.
Investing your own money will make you (even more) focused. In December 2008, when people were hiding cash under their mattresses, I took a leap and invested most of what I had saved since college into starting LearnVest. Of course, it’s important to have an emergency fund for at least eight months so that you’ll have your basic expenses under control if you get off to a rocky start, but putting your money on the line makes this personal.

3. Enlist Support.
Anyone who tells you that you can go it entirely alone is wrong. If at all possible, rely on friends and family for support, but not for funding. First, mixing friends and money is complicated, and you don’t need the (additional) stress. Plus, when the time comes to seek additional funding, investors will prefer to see that you’ve been able to convince people outside your immediate network about the validity of your idea. When starting LearnVest, I only accepted money from people who could also provide invaluable strategic advice. If you’re looking to found a full-fledged startup, start by creating an advisory board composed of successful people, and don’t be afraid to give them stake in your company. They can help you with advice and connections to other experienced people.

For more of Alexa’s tips, check out Entrepreneurship 101: Alexa’s Top Tips To Start Your Own Company.

What are some great tips that you’ve received or are able to share? Tell us in the comments below!