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Business Idea Expert Russell Roberts Find out what it takes to start a new business.

By Laura Tiffany

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you're like many would-be entrepreneurs, you have thedesire and determination to start your own business. You'rejust at a loss as to which business to start.

101 Best Businesses to Start That's where 101 Best Businesses to Start by RussellRoberts and The Philip Leif Group comes in-with advice,inspirational stories and resources on top business ideas.We've asked Roberts to share his advice to help you make 2001the first year of your entrepreneurial journey. Whattraits are inherent in a successful entrepreneur?

Russell Roberts: The maintrait is you really have to be motivated to change your lifestyle.Many of the people who started their own business [that Iinterviewed for the book] were involved in another type of careeror profession and were very unhappy with it. It was either takingtoo much of their time or they weren't happy with theadvancement potential so they sought another way to make their markin the business world. You have to be extremely motivated becausestarting a new business takes a lot of time, energy and commitmenton your part.

"Youhave to be extremely motivated because starting a new businesstakes a lot of time, energy and commitment on yourpart." Manypeople who want to start their own business are unsure of whatfield they should go into. What advice do you have for them?

Roberts: First, youshouldn't get involved in a business you might hate justbecause it happens to be profitable. For example, if you don'tlike to clean your house or apartment, don't start a cleaningservice business even if you think it's going to be profitable.You have to try to do something you've been interested in orthat you think you could have an interest in that could also havethe potential to make money.

Another thing [you have to do is] really look at the overallmarket, find a niche and try to service that niche. Obviously, ifthere are 5,000 pet-sitter businesses in a particular area, youdon't want to start another one. To be successful, you have tothink of a new angle on something you're interested in. How cansomeone determine how much potential a business idea or industryhas?

Roberts: You really have toresearch it. The one constant I found in talking to a wide varietyof entrepreneurs is they did a lot of research [before starting]and were very careful before they made the commitment. Theydidn't just go off one day and say, "I'm going to dothis." They did a lot of research. They analyzed markets. Theyanalyzed their abilities. They analyzed their start-up costs, thepossible downsides, and how much [financial resources] they wouldneed to have in reserve. You have to really analyze these thingsvery, very thoroughly because once you make the commitment, youcan't go back. What arehot areas for business ideas?

Roberts: Mainly thebusinesses that deal with personal assistance, like personal chefs,personal coaches, personal assistant or pet sitting, whereyou're providing a one-on-one service for [busy] people. Youwouldn't really think about being a personal chef because youalways think people make their own food. But a lot of peopledon't have time to do that. They get home at 8 o'clock atnight, they don't know what to eat, and they're eating fastfood. The United States Personal Chef Association has grownenormously [during the past] few years because people justdon't have time to cook.

Personal assistants is another popular business. A workingcouple doesn't have time to run around to pick up laundry, takea watch to get a battery put in it, and [take care of all thoseother mundane errands.] They have a personal assistant do that. If you hadone piece of advice for someone looking to start a business, whatwould it be?

Roberts: Be prepared to worka lot harder than you ever worked before, even though you might notbe able to imagine that's possible depending on the stress andstrain of your [current or] previous job. It's not uncommon foran [entrepreneur to work] 100 or 120 hours in a week because whenyou start your own business, it's there all the time and youcan't get away from it. Be prepared to work really hard anddon't get discouraged easily. You really have to stick with it.A lot of successful entrepreneurs might have given up the ghost ifthey'd been easily discouraged when they started out. But theyhung in there and, through determination and perseverance, made thebusiness work.

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