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5 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Business

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Ultimate freedom, waking up late, working in your pj's and taking a spontaneous day off. It sounds like the dream job, doesn't it? Well, if running your own business is that glorious, why doesn't everyone do it?

The fact is, being an entrepreneur is probably the hardest thing you will ever do. It will consume your thoughts, your relationships, your sleep and your life. You may never have a "day off" again. Once that day job ends, the paycheque does too, and you are flying solo.

I started my own company about two years ago and have renewed respect for those gutsy small business folks. It takes courage, self confidence, adaptability and a lot of hustling (emphasis on the hustle.) After years of hard work, I am finally in a position to enjoy a "day off" and hit the snooze button one too many times.

Do I miss a regular paycheque? Darn right.
Do I wake up happy everyday? Yes.
Could I have done it without my boyfriend's support? No.

Before you jump into the unknown, here are 5 things you NEED to know:

1. Sales: Who will buy your product/ service? Are they guaranteed sales? Your grandma or siblings don't count. Save your pennies -- you need to make sure that you can feed yourself long term and splurge on that occasional 5 dollar coffee.

2. Who do you listen to? Your friends with cushy day jobs will offer up unsolicited advice and others will tell you how to run your business. Be patient with your friends and know they are coming from a good place. Send light and love to those arrogant A-holes who think they know everything. Find a mentor who has been through this rodeo before and has come out a winner.

3. Don't waste your money: Before you pull out the Visa, know exactly what you need and what it should cost. Order business cards online and get an intern to help you with graphics/ website. Learn from my mistakes -- $100.00 for 100 business cards -- I was a sucker for a "good" deal. They saw me coming miles away.

4. Learn to love invoicing: Money Talks (thanks Neil Diamond) -- so you gotta keep track of your bills. Get Freshbooks or another software system pronto. Then wait to get paid -- the bigger companies tend to take their time.

5. Don't get attached: Most small businesses fail within the first few years -- so it may not work out the first time around and that's A-okay. In the U.S., many people wear failure like a badge of honor. They believe you must fail first, in order to succeed.

If you do take the plunge (trust me it's a plunge deep into your own psyche) then you will come out stronger, smarter and possibly richer or poorer.

Good luck on your journey.