You could be sitting on the fence with an idea or a desire to start your own business. Inspiration comes through many different sources and not all reasons are valid enough to pursue a business.
For instance, getting fed up of being answerable to someone all the time isn't the right reason to start your own company. Because when you do, you are then answerable to your employees, customers, investors, etc.
So, before you do take those first steps, you must know the landscape where your feet will land on. Being aware is the first step towards taking the right decision.
Solve a Problem
Whatever you decide to do as a business, always start with a problem that a specific category of people have or one that you have encountered yourself. Do not start up because market research states great potential for your industry.
Go the extra mile in finding out what challenges people are facing, and then build your product or service to address that. Nearly every successful company built to last solved a problem for a defined group of people.
For example, Dropbox solved the problem of syncing files across multiple devices. WhatsApp solved the problem of messaging (without incurring messaging costs) across multiple phone manufacturers.
Procrastination is a Startup Killer
The first step of starting a venture is to start one. If you want to start your business, shut up and start up. If you don't act on your idea today, someone else is bound to stumble up on it and take it to market before you can.
No idea is unique until it is executed, for the difference lies in the execution than the idea. Google wasn't the first search engine when it was launched. There were many others. But what differentiated Google was its execution (algorithm) of the existing idea.
The day you decide to startup, is the day you should take the plunge. There is no right time or moment to start your business and you will never be able to imagine all the possible things that can go wrong even before taking your first step. Cross that bridge when you get to it.
Failure is Imminent
If you are going to startup, you are bound to fail. For in failure are life's little secrets. For in failure is where you will discover a pivot that can make your product or service successful. Angry Birds was the 52nd attempt that finally made it for Rovio. PayPal was Max Levchin's fifth attempt at entrepreneurship that finally won him the things he deserved. So embrace failure.
You cannot learn to ride a bike by reading how to ride one. You've got to hop onto one, fall a few times, but then you get up and hop on again. And only then will you gain the confidence and the balance to ride free. This is exactly how it works in startups too.
Capital is a Bane
This holds true for mainly tech ventures. The more money startups have had in their initial days, the more mistakes they have made. So it's a good thing that you do not have capital to startup as you wouldn't foolishly hire professionals more than you need or rent a fancy office space, which is irrelevant on day one.
If you want to start a product company, bootstrap. Pool in your resources from savings or borrow from friends or family. There are many more ways of raising money to build your product. But importantly, get a proof of concept done (outsource if you must) and get some traction before you take it to investors.
If you plan to start a services business, then get your first client, and then hire a team to work on it or simply outsource. Deliver a fantastic service and then work your way into setting up your own team.
So, here we are having established the ground for taking your first steps as an entrepreneur. This was the easy part. The hard part is to quit your job and take the first step. And the day you break free, that is the day your fears will be laid to rest. Because, that's the day you've just learnt to take your first step and there's no stopping henceforth.