You probably receive spam every day telling you "Make money while working from home!" This is a successful foot-in-the-door statement; years ago, I found myself opening emails from unknown contacts, against my better judgment, because it promised that very thing. I desperately wanted to work from home and own my own business.
Years later, I do own my own rare book business, operating it from a private home office. It has been scary at times: barely scraping by in lean months, especially in Fall 2008, when no one was spending money on collectibles. There have also been uplifting times: I realized I made the right decision to quit my 9-5 job when I made half my yearly salary in one weekend at a trade show. [More from Forbes: Top 10 best-paying, work-at-home jobs]
Sound good? I thought so. So do you have what it takes to be your own boss? Here are some hurdles you will certainly face if you decide to go off on your own:
Obstacle: It's Just You
If you become a sole proprietor or member of a small business, all responsibilities fall on you. Or maybe it's not just you; perhaps you'll have new employees or interns to manage, and this might be new territory. You'll also be managing your own schedule, which can be difficult if you're used to structure. You might be able to adapt to these changes, but personality can play a large role in what you're comfortable with. Personally, I'm a bit of a control freak so I love having a hand in every aspect of our business. Time management took a bit longer to master, but I now know how to maximize my productivity. [More from Forbes: Work at home rules everyone should know]
Advantage: It's just you! No more office politics, micromanagement, or working for someone who doesn't appreciate you— the list goes on and on.
Obstacle: Blending Your Work Life with Your Home Life
Most people enjoy that an office job gives them the ability to, both physically and mentally, leave their work at the office. This can be tricky to maneuver if you're now working in your home, and could also be an obstacle for those you live with. You may benefit from renting a separate office space, but this isn't always practical. After years of working from home, setting up a separate area for our books and "office" has helped us to stay more organized. It also prevents our business from intruding into every aspect of our personal lives— for the most part. [More from Forbes: Stay-at-home parents choose to start businesses rather than return to work]
Advantage: No commuting! And blending might not be bad at all if you build your business around something you're personally passionate about.
Obstacle: You Will Work Longer and Harder Than Ever Before
You've probably heard entrepreneurs say "I work from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep." It may not be like this all the time, but for the most part, it is absolutely true. It will be especially true in the beginning, as you'll need to do whatever it takes to get your startup going.
Advantage: You will work longer and harder, but it's ultimately for your own gain. Nothing is more satisfying than that! While you will make time sacrifices, you'll also have more flexibility. I've gotten over the fact that I will work during every Super Bowl for the foreseeable future (and I am a huge football fan!) because I have a trade show that weekend every year. But even though I work most weekends and many holidays, I ultimately have the ability to change my schedule when I really need to. [More from Forbes: 3 myths about working from home]
There are certainly sacrifices toward owning your own business, but for successful entrepreneurs, the advantages far outweigh the difficulties.