Becoming self-employed and starting a business is stressful.  When you first start out, it will be an uphill battle.  You’re going to be putting in tons of effort to get up that first hill, and it’s hard to predict when the road will level out and become easier.

Since you’ll be spending so much time and effort on your business, you should first try to minimize the risk of any personal factors that might cause problems.  Here is a list of common personal risks that you should mitigate or eliminate before starting.

  • Family – Make sure you have the support of your family before you start your business.  Without their support, the startup phase will be harder on everyone.  Tell them how important your business is to you.  If you will be working from home, establish ground rules about when and where you will be working and make it clear that you should not be interrupted.
  • Health – Are you in good shape, physically and mentally?  You may not always have time to exercise, eat right, and de-stress when you’re pouring yourself into your business.  I recommend starting an exercise routine and making sure you can handle stress before starting a business.
  • Debt – Personal debt can make it harder to succeed, no matter how much or how little.  If you have a $300 per month car payment, that’s 300 extra dollars that your business has to earn to stay afloat.  If you can eliminate that debt before quitting your job to become self-employed, your business won’t need to earn as much.  That will be very helpful in the startup phase when you won’t have much money coming in.  Pay off as much debt as possible before starting.
  • Workspace – Make sure you have an adequate workspace if you will be working from home.  Before you even start your business, establish a comfortable environment that will be free of distractions and interruptions.
  • Benefits (health insurance, 401k, etc) – You have to get your own health insurance, life insurance, retirement plan, etc. if you’re going to be self-employed.  Look into your options and create a plan before you quit your regular job and lose coverage.  The National Association for the Self-Employed has membership plans that offer certain health, dental, life, and other insurance benefits.
  • Self-Motivation – Are you self-motivated?  If you procrastinate and have trouble getting things done, you’ve got work to do.  Motivation and efficiency are skills that can be learned, but you better learn them before starting your business.  Read some motivational business and self-help books to get pumped before quitting your day job.

Mitigate or eliminate these risks before you become self-employed and you will have a much better chance of success.

Did I leave anything out?  Do you agree or disagree?  Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.  Thanks!