?You have a great product or service that you would like to sell online. You are thinking that this would be a wonderful way to have a more flexible lifestyle, be your own boss, and have the potential to make lots of money all while doing something you feel passionate about. All of this sounds promising, but make sure you keep the following things in mind: Having your own business will give you flexibility—don't expect freedom, though. When you work for yourself you can make your own schedule. This is great but be prepared for the 24 hour 7 day a week commitment. You may not be sitting in a desk from 9 to 5 but you are always "on". You will have to be very disciplined about turning off and taking time for yourself, away from the business, in order to keep your sanity! Believe in your product or service. It is so important that you believe in the product or service that you are selling online because there will be times when you are feeling like nothing is going your way. There will be many ups and downs, including many unforeseen challenges. Your belief and passion for your product is what will get you through. Don't expect things to happen overnight. Be patient. The web gives you access to millions of people but they won't come running just because you have a web site address. You have found your target market, now help them find you. This takes time especially if you have a limited marketing budget. Before you launch it is important to build a plan for getting noticed and understand the marketing costs associated with it. Think about both traditional and viral marketing methods for raising awareness about your site and don't forget about search engine optimization. It's just you but that may not be what your customers will think. You will be working like a dog to build a high quality, professional online business all on your own or with limited support but don't expect your customers to know that. Chances are your customers will think your "company" is much bigger than it is. When something goes wrong (e.g. a mistake with an order) you can't expect customers to realize how hard you are working and that any mistake is an honest mistake, not an example of your company being careless about its customers or trying to "scam" them. Don't be discouraged! Keep a high level of customer service no matter what as it is exceedingly important in building and maintaining a good reputation for your business. Be open to change. What else could you be doing to build the business? The business model you start with may not be the one that ultimately leads you to success. Think about possible partnerships. Does your pricing model make sense? Pay attention to customer feedback and be open to making changes based on that feedback. Although it's not without its challenges, having your own business can be incredibly rewarding both emotionally and financially. Good luck! About the author: Nicole Stocker is the founder of Sloppy Kiss Cards - a site offering high quality animated ecards for dog and cat lovers.