Finding Your Path

There are millions – perhaps even billions – of business opportunities out there, in just about every industry you can imagine (and some that are yet to be imagined). With so many options, there’s no reason why you should settle for working in an industry that doesn’t suit you. It’s not the middle ages – you’ve got more options than farmer or blacksmith. But how do you decide which one is right for you? Think over a few key points:

Can You Do It: This one should be a no-brainer, but don’t overlook it. Different business opportunities require different skill sets and experience. Spend the time before you get involved to get a handle on what the business requires for success by learning from those who have already succeeded in similar arenas. Ensure that you have the skills required, or have the ability to build the team you need.

Will You Enjoy It: Anyone who has ever had any kind of job, self-employed or otherwise, will tell you that it’s important to love what you do. A happy worker is a hard worker, and this is especially important for self-employed people to avoid burning out. More than that, however – what’s the point of being your own boss if you if you’re just going to get back into the grind of doing something you don’t enjoy? Look for a business that is enjoyable, or at least simple enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed undertaking it.

Risk vs. Reward: This is a big one. Higher risk endeavors tend to provide the potential for much higher rewards. The trade off there is that you have a higher risk of losing it all. You have to decide your own risk tolerance for yourself, but think of it this way – there’s a difference between business and gambling. Use common sense and some good old fashioned math to ensure you fall on the right side of the line. Look for businesses with universally needed products, clear and simple paths to profitability, and easily determined and planned-for costs.

Cost: Speaking of cost, it’s a simple fact – you have to spend money to make money. That’s just the way the world works. However, one of the foremost risks to any new business venture is running out of capital before profits can catch up. Do your research, run the math, and make sure that you’re getting into a business with a clear path to profitability on a timeline that you can stomach. Patience is a virtue, but time is a finite resource.

There’s always more to learn about business, of course, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that like it or not, you are self-employed already – even if you only have one client (the standard employer/employee relationship). When you understand that critical fact, then you understand that the decision is not whether or not to go into business for yourself – it’s how to best develop your business to benefit you. Finding your optimal business opportunity is one very important step along that path.