Although the idea of working on my own was something I thought about for many years, it was more like a fleeting wish. How could I ever do it? How could I live without my regular paycheck coming in? What did I know about starting a business? Where would I begin? Suppose I failed? How much money do you need? As my regular paycheck increased at my job, the more reasons I had to remain where I was - in Corporate America. I was making more money than I ever thought I'd be able to earn, had a great benefits package, I was finally able to get the house of my dreams, take nice vacations, pay for my daughter's education and buy nice clothes. I didn't know when the right time would be, but this was definitely not the right time to start a business. There was always something more to buy or save up for. I overlooked the fact that I was miserable at this job for many years. Instead of the golden handcuffs, mine was a golden noose. As fate would have it - the right time was decided for me. I was laid off after yet another reorganization took place. Very quickly, I realized my paycheck was not as secure as I had thought it was. I didn't take much time to whine and be angry about the situation (okay, a little), I knew this was a gift. It was now or never to explore what I had thought about for such a long time. Fast forward three years - I now have some 20/20 hind-sight to be able to share what I learned. Create a plan. Once I decided to design my new life, I immediately felt more positive about myself. It reminded me of the (many) times I began a new diet. Just the act of making a commitment was an esteem booster. Even if you cannot leave your corporate job, taking control of your future is a great step forward. Invest in yourself. I considered paying for my daughters' college as an investment in their futures and yet, I begrudged the cost of the additional schooling I needed. Wasn't this an important investment in my own future? Find a mentor. I found an experienced coach who helped shorten my learning curve. Along the way, I have enlisted other mentors to help me with fine-tuning other skills and needs. Yes, it did cost me more money, but the right person will be an invaluable asset to your growth. Send out ships. In her book, Wealthy Spirit, Chellie Campbell talks about the process of doing the best thing you can do; then let go of expectations. I have learned quickly that you can't possibly predict where your business will come from. I was disappointed when I didn't get any clients from a workshop I gave; but soon after, I got a client after meeting him at a social picnic I attended. Expect mistakes. There will be lots of decisions to make; large and small. Make the best one you can at the time and understand that some will work and some won't - it's all part of the learning process. Sure there have been many "do overs" I would make; but just like being a parent, there are no rule books to follow. Do the best you can and move on. There is no "there." I was anxious to get everything perfectly in place to start my business. Now I realize that just when you finish one aspect, there is something else you need to do. I became comfortable knowing that everything is a work in progress. Take a tiny step in the direction of your dreams. Often we get overwhelmed with all we need to do and know - that we freeze in place. You don't need to know everything from day one. The next step becomes clearer after you take that first step. Start with something with minimal risk, but just begin!