Make sure you start the right business for you
If you're thinking of starting a small business, either as a side project or as a complete direction change, you'll want to make sure that you don't waste time, money and other precious resources starting up something that ends up failing fast because it's just not right for you. Of course there are never any guarantees, and a business could fail due to lots of external variables that are completely beyond your control. But if you want to give your new venture the best chance of success, you need to take more than just the money into account.
Consider the following three factors - these are the essential ingredients of work that fits, and if you're looking for longevity, a business you'll want to stick with, make sure you've included all three in your final design.
You love it
Setting up anything new takes time, energy and resources. It can be really tough going at times, and you'll only stick it out during these difficult times if you absolutely love what you do. Make sure you're choosing a direction that you feel genuine passion for, work that you're completely committed to for the results it brings, whatever it may be. Whether you'll be in services or products, you've got to believe in it and genuinely love it for more than just the money, or it's not likely you'll feel like putting the hours in when you most need to. One of the reasons why new businesses fail is because the love's missing. Would you still be doing this work if you didn't need to earn money? That's always a good indicator of how much you really love what you're about to set out to do.
You're good at it
Seems like a no-brainer - why would anyone start a business doing something they're no good at? You don't have to be good at your chosen field right now. Training is everywhere these days, and if you're inspired to follow a new vocation, it's not impossible to learn something completely new. Just get competent and confident before you try to make a living out of it. This point is usually a good measure of how much you really want to do this work, as training can take time. If you're building a business to last, to become your life's work even - something you can give your everything to - then a year or so of good training is a worthwhile investment of your resources.
It fits with you and your life plans
This is the bit that always gets left out, but actually is probably the most important of all. Does your work match who you are and what you want? Does it line up with your values (do you know what your values are? Have a read of this previous piece I wrote for pointers on how to recognise your values). Will your new venture allow you to live how and where you want, so that it doesn't feel like life is 'on pause' while you wait for work to succeed, the tides to turn, or whatever else it is we wait for before doing the things we really want to do? Though this point is last, it's probably the one you want to think about first. Put a picture together in your mind of how you'd really like to be living. Not just in a dreamy, wouldn't-it-be-nice-but-it'll-never-happen way, but in a serious, this-is-what-I-really-want-my-life-to-look-like kind of way. Your life is happening now, you have an opportunity to shape your work around how you really want it to be.
With these three factors considered and designed in, you're more likely to be starting a business that feels like you were made for it. This is the one that's got the best chance of success.