As the new year begins, many women review their past accomplishments and set goals for the year to come.  For many entrepreneurial-spirited women, their thoughts turn towards starting a home business.

Starting a home business can be both rewarding and somewhat challenging. But if you identify with those who feel the tug at their heart strings to work from home, be sure it’s the right path for you by asking yourself the following five questions:

Question #1 – Am I disciplined enough to work alone?

Leaving a workplace environment and coming home can be a difficult transition for some.  The scheduled, productive, and structured work environment most offices provide has to be recreated at home.  No longer required to “punch the clock” or explain time away from work, some who work from home may become easily distracted and lose productivity. Creating a realistic schedule and holding yourself accountable are two ways to help combat this challenge.

Another factor many home business owners face is the isolation that comes with working at home alone. By networking, whether online or within your local community, you can overcome the isolation and build trusting relationships.

Question #2 – What skills do I have that can be used in a home business?

Before diving into your search for a legitimate work from home job or business opportunity, start by identifying the skills you already possess that may be transferable. Do you have marketing skills? Are you great at creating graphics or designs? Are you knowledgeable of social networking or blogging? Perhaps you’re crafty and can sew or create crafts to sell? Are you a good listener and often sought out by friends to provide guidance or advice?

All of these strengths, talents and skills can be put to work in a home business. Take inventory of your natural and learned abilities and seek out opportunities that can put them to work. For ideas on how to match your skills with home-based businesses, check out my post, Is Becoming a Virtual Assistant Your Ticket to Making Money from Home?

Question #3 – Do I have enough free hours to commit?

While you may have the desire, you will have to realistically determine whether or not you have the needed hours to start a home business. Many moms work from home on a part-time basis while still working at their part- or full-time office position. If you have young children at home, it becomes challenging to find enough hours to commit to starting and running a home business. You may have to schedule your at-home work hours early in the morning or late at night as you get started. Once your home business begins earning a profit, you can eventually cut back on your office work hours and devote more time to your business.

Question #4 – Can my finances handle the initial business start-up costs?

Depending on the type of business you decide to launch from home, there will be varying amounts of start-up costs involved. From the investment in your own personal development to office supplies and marketing materials, there will be some expenses to plan for. By identifying your niche, deciding on your form of marketing, and writing a business plan, you can realistically determine your initial and estimated monthly expenses.

Question #5 – Am I willing to persist until I succeed?

Business success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort and dedication. When making the decision to work from home, you have to also make the decision to persevere until you are successful. That might mean making mistakes (but learning from them), growing slowly, and experiencing discouragement. Finding a business mentor or coach is a great remedy for the trying start-up times. Also, networking with other business owners will provide you with encouragement, guidance and advice to persist until you succeed.

By asking yourself these five targeted questions, you can determine if working from home is the right path for you. For those who have already taken the step into business ownership, what questions would you add to the list?