Starting From Scratch

The less you know about your industry, the more prep work you have in your future.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the August 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: How should I go about starting a in a field that is completely new to me? I have no experience, , or .

Name withheld

A: While education, training, experience and contacts account for the way most people choose the jobs they do and the businesses they run, none of these is as important as the drive to do something that inspires you enough to want to get up in the morning and do it.

First you should ask yourself if you're really motivated to pursue your idea at a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. If you're sure the idea is worth pursuing, try these tips for investigating it more thoroughly:

  • If there are books about your field or the problem your business idea would address, read them.
  • Take related community college courses. Additional training, including advanced degrees, is available online.
  • Join any related or professional associations. They will likely have Web sites, which you can find using search engines or by referencing the Encyclopedia of Associations, available at most libraries.
  • Talk with others in related businesses and consider working for or apprenticing with them.

Although gaining the knowledge, experience and contacts you need may take six months or more, if you follow through on all you can about the business, there's a good chance you'll have the perseverance that's necessary to succeed in a new field.

Paul and Sarah Edwards' most recent book is The Entrepreneurial Parent. Send them your start-up business questions at or in care of .


More from Entrepreneur

We created the Start Your Own Business (SYOB) course to help you get started on your entrepreneurial journey. You will learn everything you need to know about testing the viability of your idea, writing a business plan, raising funds, and opening for business.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur