An easy-to-read primer on choosing and starting a small business

So, you want to get your own piece of the e-commerce pie? That's a dream shared by hundreds of thousands of ordinary, everyday people. We keep hearing about the trillions of dollars that will be spent on the web each year, and we figure, if we could only get a small fraction of that amount, we'd be fabulously wealthy.

There's an entrepreneurial spirit sweeping North America and most of the western world. No longer are we satisfied with a 9-5 job, no matter how pleasant the conditions or how nice the boss is. (And many of us work in less than enjoyable conditions for bosses who aren't the slightest bit pleasant).

In the past, if you had wanted to own your own business, you needed a storefront, or a small warehouse where you could build things and store inventory. You had to hire employees or work killer-hours -- 10, 12 or 14 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week, just to make ends meet. Or you could join one of those pyramid marketing companies, where the people at the top make millions every year, while those at the bottom make peanuts.

All that has changed. Now, you don't need a store, or a warehouse or anything except a desk, a phone line, a computer, and internet access. The high costs of business startup have suddenly disappeared, flinging open the doors to self-employment to everyone who wants it. And there are millions of us who want it.

If you're one of those millions -- congratulations. You've decided to take your life in your own hands, instead of relying on the kindness or fairness of others. You've decided that if you're going to work hard, you might as well be the one who receives all the benefits. Why work for others, when you can work for yourself? It's a courageous decision -- but one with tremendous payoffs, financial, emotional and physical.

Well, that's Step Number One. You're going to start your own internet business. But, just what are you going to do? In order to get money in, you have to be sending something out. People won't send you money for nothing. If only that were the case! What are you going to do to get people to send you money?

On the next few pages, we'll follow a path of discovery, where you can decide just what sort of internet business you want to run, and, give you the first few steps on how to get started.

A word of warning: The advice on these pages is general and may not be appropriate for everyone who is interested in starting their own business. There are many different sources of information available -- some of which we'll be listing near the end. Always do research before making any sort of financial commitments. Don't quit your day job until after you're making more money from your endeavours.
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Last modified: February 21, 2005.

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