What's the Latest Development?

It's year five of the economic downturn and you are still thinking of starting a new business. Is now the right time? In terms of market conditions, there are some advantages hidden in the present moment. Among them, says Carol Tice, are cheap real estate, affordable leases and cooperative landlords, weaker competition, vendors willing to offer generous terms and low-cost advertising options. "Most importantly, there's the thrill of chucking a job you hateor maybe a floundering small business that's not workingto try out a new idea."

What's the Big Idea?

The biggest hurdle to starting your own business is rarely economic. Typically, it's gathering the courage and commitment needed to launch a start up. Tice recalls a freelance writer who felt trapped working in the family jewelry store. To realize her dream of writing for a living, she needed advice both practical and inspirational: getting realistic about her writing portfolio and working up the courage to tell her family she wanted to strike out on her own. Committing yourself to the unknown can be scarybut you only live once.

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