Are you restless in your current job? Or, if you haven't been working outside the home, are you feeling like it might be time to do something else? You certainly wouldn't be the only one. According to numbers just recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of women-owned businesses grew 20 percent between 1997 and 2002—twice as much as other businesses. (The number of businesses owned by women of color are growing five times as fast as the national average!) All told, women own 6.5 million businesses, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all the businesses in the United States and generating $950 billion in revenue. Are you thinking you might like to join their numbers? I've outlined some key steps for you to follow.
In Serendipity, one of those movies I can't help watching every time it reruns on cable, Jeremy Piven has one really great line. His best friend, John Cusack, has just spent the past hour and a half completely upsetting his romantic life—including calling off his wedding to a beautiful woman right before walking down the aisle—because he can't stop thinking (and chasing down) another woman he spent a single, remarkable evening with seven years before. He knows he's acting crazy...he just can't help himself. And Piven tries to tell him that he did the right thing by reminding him: "The ancient Greeks asked only one thing about a man when he died, 'Did he have passion?'" Piven was talking to Cusack about love, but he could have just as easily been talking about work.
And the answer, in the case of most Americans, would be "no." Only about half of us are satisfied with what we do every day. And whether you're considering dropping out of corporate life or giving up your time as a stay-at-home-parent (or making some other kind of big switch) to start your own business, I'm guessing you're among them.
The good news: today—more than ever before—it's possible to start your own business. And we'll get to that in a minute...but first let's concentrate on figuring out what you love. That's right, love. Why? Because people who are happy with their jobs are four times more likely to be very happy with their lives. Four times! In fact when you look at all the factors that figure big in a person's happiness, their jobs or careers (in other words, what they do every day) weigh very high on the list—after marriages and self-esteem, but before health, finances, children, friendships and appearance. Being happy with your work life also makes you more likely to feel useful, confident and content—and less likely to feel stressed, restless and hopeless. Clearly, it makes sense to find an occupation that satisfies your soul as well as your wallet.