by Heather Coleman, Future Entrepreneur

But...but...but…I can’t. Wait, that’s not true! The real truth is I just haven’t… yet. I am holding onto the hope that someday (in the not so distant future) I will start my own business. I often daydream about what the business will be named, what the office space will look like, the types of people I will hire and how I can help other struggling small businesses with my savvy communications skills.

So what’s stopped me? The usual culprits—fear, confusion, time and money. Let’s break them down, one by one:

FEAR

When I think about quitting a secure job to do my own thing, I get the same feeling that I get when I think about riding a roller coaster. I guess I am just not a thrill seeker.

However, I would appreciate any advice from other entrepreneurs that might help calm my nerves. I think the two biggest factors are the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure. I asked Pamela Slim (@pamslim) author of Escape from Cubicle Nation what one piece of advice she would give for overcoming fear and she says that “breaking down the big tasks into really small, doable steps will make things more clear, feasible and actionable.”

CONFUSION

The task of starting your own business seems to be so daunting, I sometimes become confused about what all of the smaller tasks are and what order they need to be completed in. What is the first thing I absolutely need to do? Where can I find guidance to help me through the process? Who’s going to be there to hold my hand when I need it?

The Small Business Association has a lot of resources on this topic and even outlines the steps and decisions you need to make along the way. Another resource might be my local economic development organization. I will keep an eye on my peers and the advice they have on how they started their own business through Sisarina’s blog and the Women Grow Business blog. As far as someone to hold my hand, I’ll have to look to my friends and family to find out who has my back on this one.

TIME

We could all use more time in the day, that’s a given. More time to spend with our friends and family, more time for work, more time to answer all those pesky e-mails or to harvest all our crops in Farmville. Whatever it is you enjoy doing or have to do, it always seems like you need more time to get it done. But we can’t change the number of hours in the day.

So I have a hard choice to make. I have to reprioritize how I want to spend my time if I’m going to truly make starting a business my life goal. It may be as simple as 30 minutes a day where I can work on a draft business plan, research the market I’m interested in, or ask questions of someone that is knowledgeable on running their own business.

I recently had a great phone conversation with Don Mayer, the owner of an Apple reseller company in Waitsfield, Vermont called Small Dog Electronics. I contacted him after my father mentioned hearing about the socially conscious small business on the local radio station. He started the business out of his house in 1994, and now has over forty employees and is just about to open his third retail store. It was great to talk to and get advice from someone who is actually a serial entrepreneur and loves what he’s doing. His best advice to someone contemplating starting their own business: “Just do it!” He said it is an incredible feeling to have made a much larger imprint on society than he would have as an individual.

MONEY

Just like time we could all use a little more of it. I would probably start by researching all of my financing options and identify what I needed to do in order to secure additional funding beyond my own resources.

But, at the very least I can test the waters. That would only cost me time. I can reach out to potential customers and determine if I they would like to use my services on a trial basis. I would gain experience and the customer would get a low or no cost service for a short period of time. Once I get ready to transition to the real thing, I will reach out to my peer network to determine the right pricing strategy and draft a budget for the business.

Are there any other resources that you’ve used that I’ve missed? Any special advice you’d give to a borderline entrepreneur such as myself? I’ll leave you with what has become my new favorite quote, from W.E.B. DuBois:

“The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.”

P.S. Don’t be too surprised if I just happen to pop up on your radar with a pitch for my new biz!

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Heather Coleman is currently a strategic communications specialist working as a government contractor for the Army. Her background is in website design, content management, SharePoint collaboration and social media marketing. She earned her MBA from the University of Maryland – go TERPS! She’s also a mother of two, but enjoys a reprieve every now and then to attend social networking events in the DC area.

Twitter: @boones6433


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