Two weeks ago, The New York Times published a nice introductory article on how to get started with a small business. Author Barbara Whitaker notes that about ten percent of small businesses fail each year:

Success comes with education, careful planning and adequate cash flow, specialists say. And it has never been easier to lay the groundwork for starting a small business. Many tools are available on the Internet and at libraries to aid aspiring entrepreneurs. Whole magazines are devoted to the subject.

Whitaker’s article lists a number of web-based resources for would-be small business owners, including:

For more about these resources, and for an extended discussion, please read the entire article.

I’m under the impression that the failure rate for small businesses applies to those with employees. If you follow Andréa’s advice and become a consultant, or if you take the route I’m pursuing and work as a wholly independent freelancer, I think the survivability rates are much higher.

Obviously, this is more information than you’ll need if you’re simply trying to make money from a hobby. But if you have bigger dreams, if you’d like to boost your income by starting your own business, these sites are a good place to begin your research.

[The New York Times: Small Business 101: How to Get Started]