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Is Your Side Biz Ready for Full-Time Focus?

Make certain you've considered all the angles before quitting your day job.

It's a good news/bad news situation.

Your new home business is booming, you have a constant stream of clients and, even if you're not rolling in dough, you're doing OK. Better than you expected, really. The problem is . . . you're exhausted.

Attempting to juggle your growing home business and your "real" job is like trying to care for screaming triplets. There just isn't enough of you to go around. Between your business, your job, your family, your home and your personal needs, you are starting to fall way behind.

It may be time to give up your full-time job and push your home-based business to the front burner.

  • A plan in hand. Make sure you have a reserve of several months' worth of living expenses before you cut the cord. What will you do about health insurance? Could you do your current job part-time? Do you need to create an office, get additional equipment or make different child-care arrangements?

    Deborah Ng, a freelance writer, offers this advice for those ready to take the plunge and quit their day job: "I know it's not something you want to think about, but do you have a plan for if you don't succeed? What happens if a year or two years passes and you're hardly earning enough to survive?

    You'll need to consider that you won't make it right away and set a time limit. For us, if I didn't start earning at least a few hundred dollars a month after the first few months, I'd have had to work part-time. By the end of a year and a half, I was paying the mortgage and a couple of utility bills with the money I earned freelancing."
  • Evaluate yourself. Not everybody works well alone. Carefully consider whether you have the type of personality that will weather spending hours and hours alone. Are you a self-starter? If not, you may be better off doing your home business on the side. Are there skills you should gain before venturing into new territory? For example, if you're going to need new clients (and who doesn't?), do you need to update your marketing skills?
  • Let go of fear. Sometimes the issue isn't financial, but fearfulness. "Early on, the biggest mistakes I made involved doubting my self-worth and allowing fear to stop me from playing a bigger game," says Laureen Wishom, a business consultant and owner of Masterpiece Solutions .

    "When I decided to leave the corporate world, it was prompted by not being valued enough by my company, not being fulfilled within and knowing that there was more that I wanted and needed to accomplish. It was then that I went from full-time careerist to full-time entrepreneur--and I've never looked back."

Lesley Spencer Pyle is the founder and president of HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com and HireMyMom.com , and she is the author of The Work-at-Home Workbook: Your Step-by-Step Guide on Selecting and Starting the Perfect Home Business for You. Pyle has been working from home for more than 13 years.

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