It's an exciting thing - starting your own business - but it's also scary. To be cautious, you've asked those who have done it what to expect and read every business book you can get your hands on. I did the same thing before I started my business, but when I got it up and running, I realized there were things they didn't tell me. Here are the top 3 things I had to learn on my own:
1) Wear gloves and throw on those old jeans because it's going to get messy. A new business is a living, breathing organism. It mutates every day. It's big, dumb, and lacks direction. You are it's caretaker. You work with it everyday, getting it in shape, learning it's personality and figuring out what it does well and what it doesn't. When this big ugly beast walks down main street among the masses, it heaves back and forth, crashes into cars, knocks over buses. As time goes by, it gets less clumsy, but boy at the beginning it's all over the place and that is OK. You're beast isn't going to come out of the womb lean, mean, and ready to take the business world by storm. It takes time and there will be a lot of ugly mishaps.
2) Have you met my friend WILL? As in willpower. A big part of business success has to do with this trait. Will you be able to stay committed and push your business into the black? Do you love a challenge? Do you understand that success won't be given to you? That you will have to take it? I love to watch Biography on CNBC profile business leaders who have shaped our country, and this is one thing they all share - they are driven, almost to an insane degree. Even if the business model isn't that great, they will make it work because they will not take no for an answer; they will not fail.
3) Pull the trigger. To me, there is a line. On one side, there are those who don't take risks. Then there those who know that risk and failure are all part of the game; that with failure comes knowledge, and you will eventually get it right. I have a friend who is currently in the process of flipping his first house. He hasn't sold the house yet, but that's not exactly the point. The point is that he has learned something he will never forget. He has crossed a threshold and will never go back. I believe even if he fails to flip the house for a profit, he is on the right path, and will almost certainly learn how to sell the house for more than he puts into it.
That's it. Obviously, there are many, many things that have to be learned through experience, but hopefully this will make you less afraid to follow your dream.