Five Myths About Starting Your Own Business

By Nellie Akalp for GalTime.com

Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Are you ready to start your own business? To take control of your day-to-day schedule and long-term career? Entrepreneurship offers great benefits for today's woman, including the ability to work from the comfort of home.

However, the lifestyle isn't for everyone. If you're dreaming about self-employment, make sure you've thought through these 5 myths:

Myth One: Working from home means less work
If you think self-employment means sleeping in and wearing pajamas all day, think again. Entrepreneurs often discover they need to work longer hours than their office counterparts. In many cases, business owners trade in the '9 to 5' for '9 to midnight'!

Of course, when you work for yourself, you can control your own schedule. This means you have the flexibility to run a few errands in the middle of the day or focus on your work late at night when you're most productive. However, this flexibility means you'll also need to contend with blurred lines between your personal and work time. When you're just starting out, you'll most likely have to take care of all aspects of your business by yourself. This makes it essential to be disciplined with your work time, and make time for your family and yourself. Most importantly, make sure you're doing something you love.

Related: Five Tips for Turning Your Passion into Profit

Myth Two: Self-employment means not having a boss
When you're self-employed, you're now CEO of your career. However, this doesn't necessarily mean you don't have to answer to anyone. In reality, you will now have many, many bosses - they're called clients and customers. At a company, you may have worked hard to please your boss; as a business owner, you're going to be working even harder to make your clients happy. Because if you don't meet your client's needs, you'll lose a sale or referral. Of course, there is one positive difference. As a self-employed business owner, you get to be in total control over whom you choose to take on as a client or customer.

Myth Three: I can watch the kids while working from home
If you're a working mother, you know that childcare is not cheap. Many women look to start their own business in order to spend more time with their children, while also saving on childcare expenses.

The ability to work from home is an absolute blessing for many mothers and families, there's no doubt about it. However, you need to be realistic about the situation. How much time will you be able to dedicate distraction-free for your business? How will you manage your mommy time and work time? Many work-at-home mothers find they need to bring in childcare or arrange playdates a few hours a day in order to manage client meetings, conference calls, or tight deadlines.

Related: The Work-At-Home Survival Guide

Myth Four: My business will be too small to worry about the legal aspects
Many small business owners and first time entrepreneurs think their business is too small to worry about legal aspects, such as forming a business structure. However, even the self-employed consultant should consider forming an LLC or possibly incorporating their business.

Here's why. The LLC (which stands for Limited Liability Company) and Corporation help protect the owner's personal assets from any liability of the company. This means that if your business happens to be sued or can't pay its debts, your personal assets are protected from any judgment. Additionally, your CPA or tax advisor may recommend one of these legal structures to help you save on taxes.

Myth Five: I need a lot of money to start a business
If you don't have access to tons of capital to invest in a new business, it's okay. It's more than possible to launch a business with a minimal investment. For example, service-based and virtual businesses require little overhead and costs. The most important thing is to be realistic about your financing and know it's okay to start small.

There are Women's Business Centers in almost every state. These centers, along with SBA district offices, help women entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses with a variety of resources including training in finance, management, marketing, and the Internet. The SBA has a number of loan programs to help women access the credit and capital they need.

Ready, set, go!
Exploring these myths is not meant to deter any budding entrepreneur from following her dreams. Starting and managing your own business can be incredibly rewarding. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. However, starting your venture with the blinders off and a realistic set of expectations is your best chance for success.

Most importantly, don't forget to celebrate each success, no matter how small. As a new business owner, you've got an exiting journey ahead of you; don't forget to enjoy the ride. Here's to your new business in 2012!

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