Someone told me they read somewhere that at this time of the year a lot of people do searches on the web to help them study options for establishing themselves in a home based business.

As a long-established – as in 20 years – home based professional, part of me says that’s a really smart move. There is also part of me that says I hope they know what they are doing.

Moving from a regular job, with bosses, bureaucracy, regulations, and all the challenges of working in organizations, can be very liberating. By the same token, giving up regular paychecks, office support and the pleasure of working with other people you like and respect can mean that establishing your home based business is not a totally positive experience.

In fact, it can be rather scary.

What if it doesn’t work? What if your new business doesn’t take off?

Negative thinking? Or just being practical?

In making the move I probably followed my heart more than my head. I believe that was right for me. Doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for everyone.

In fact, the “hesitation” questions are quite practical. The concerns are reasonable. In business, dealing with such questions is called doing due diligence.

And you can do due diligence without giving up your day job. Take a gradual approach: explore the possibilities without burning your bridges.

In other words, don’t walk into the office next week and announce your resignation as a prelude to your new, free, glorious career as a self-employed, home based business owner.

Of course, you can if you wish. My suggestion, especially if you have family responsibilities and are not a totally independent, free agent, is to take the gradual approach.

That way, you can maintain the security of your current job while building your home based business to a point where it makes good economic sense, good business sense, to fire your boss and become fully independent.

And even though I followed my heart and did not do real due diligence in the sense I understand that process today, I did not make the move overnight. Physically I was still working for other people and going to the office, but I had made the move from being an employee to being a consultant, had negotiated a five day a week, long term consultancy, had set up my home office as a place for serious work and negotiated a couple of smaller contracts I could do “after hours”. I’d spent a lot more money than I would have to these days on a computer, printer and fax machine (fax machine, what’s that? :)).

After all this time I have to admit that sometimes, when the cashflow isn’t what I want it to be, or I’m having a challenge drumming up business, there is a moment when a little voice says “you had a good job, a nice office, four weeks annual paid leave, why did you give it up?”. Well, partly because the job I had was not what I wanted to keep doing and anyway it was not forever: I’d given that up when I left the public service several years earlier.

And the negative thoughts don’t last long.

I have no desire to ever go back to being an employee. And I love the daily challenge of making my own way, creating my own future.

For anyone thinking about these issues for their own situation right now, Wendy Piersall provides a great checklist with her 10 Signs that You Should Quit Your Job to Work at Home.

Whatever you decide, be fair to your family and true to yourself. Which of those comes first? I don’t know for anyone else, but I suggest that while you have to balance both, you won’t be much use to anyone in the long term, including your family, if you are not, sooner or later, true to yourself and committed to realizing your dreams.

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