By Cheryl Demas
My daughter was only seven years old when she was diagnosed with diabetes. Those first few days in the hospital were challenging, as my husband, Nicki, and I came to terms with the disease.

We learned what we all needed to do to keep her healthy. We had to learn how to do Nicki's blood tests and give her insulin injections. Try getting a seven-year-old to stick herself with a needle, and then tell her that she'll have to do it several times a day for the rest of her life. It wasn't easy.

At one point my husband, Mike, said, "Nicki, I'd rather hit myself in the head with a hammer than have to do this to you." And I agreed that I'd rather hit Daddy in the head with a hammer as well, but that just wasn't an option.

So the nurse gave us an orange to practice on. She told us that giving the orange an injection would feel the same as giving our daughter an injection. Which was true, except the orange wasn't crying, digging its fingernails into my arm, and asking me why I didn't love it anymore. Other than that, it was pretty much the same.

But this wasn't something that we could choose not to do, so we managed. We could have given shots to that orange all day long and it wouldn't have come close to the experience of actually doing it. Now, nine years later, we're so used to needles that we hardly give them a second thought. Some things just have to be experienced in person. We did it because we HAD to.

I hear from a lot of people who run small businesses. Some are successful, many are not. I try to find similarities among the successful, and they often mention that failure is simply not an option. That doesn't mean that they don't make mistakes, they do. But they learn from their mistakes and they don't let setbacks stop them. They pick themselves up and give it another try. It's almost as if they HAVE to be successful.

I can tell you about my experiences working at home, and what it's been like for me to run a business. And you can get advice from other business owners, that's all good. But just like injecting that orange didn't really prepare us for the real thing, nothing compares to the experience of actually running your own business.

Now I'm not recommending jumping into your new business without preparing yourself and doing research, but when the time comes to get started, don't hold yourself back. You will probably make some mistakes. But you'll be learning every day, and there's no better teacher than experience.

If you've been thinking about starting a business, now is a great time to get started. Work at it as if it HAS to be a success.

Go ahead--give it a shot.

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