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Editor's Note

The only person who knows whether you're ready to start a business is you.

This story appears in the April 2001 issue of

I got an interesting letter a couple days ago that I felt compelled to share with you. Normally I would reserve this type of thing for my expert column, since, well, that's the place where we like to answer questions from readers, but this letter, written by a 16-year-old, spoke loudly to me.

"I'm only 16 years old," he wrote. "I spend 90 percent of my spare time in front of my computer. I wonder if you think it would be possible for me to start and manage my own business without it affecting my performance at school. It would be small and homebased, and it'd have to do with designing Web pages. My most important question is, is it too much legal stuff, too expensive and too risky for a boy my age to handle? Would it be too hard to make the company known and get customers? If you don't think I could handle it, please tell me."

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