David Bakke is based out of Atlanta. He runs a side business reselling popular products online, and also writes about personal finance on Money Crashers, a blog that covers budgeting and money management topics as well as the best new bank account promotions.

One of the very best ways to generate income in your daily life is to start your own business. Yes, you can focus on saving as much money as you possibly can, but to truly expand your financial horizon, you must generate income. However, that is much easier said than done.

I pondered the concept of starting my own business for a long time, and the images that went through my head were pretty nerve-wracking. I imagined substantial bank loans, licenses to be paid, forms to be filled out, huge upfront expenses, and more. But when it comes down to it, starting your own business can be much simpler than that.

I consider myself a successful small business owner of two side businesses that yield a decent amount of income. When it comes down to it, all you really need is a marketable talent, the right mindset, and the laser focus. However, you do not need a ton of money – it is possible to start your own business without a lot of cash. There are, however, a handful of necessary steps you must take, and essential traits you must possess.

1. Identify Your Core Talent
Every single one of us on possesses natural talents. They might be hard to recognize, and they may be hard to market, but we are all good at something. What you must do is recognize your talent. It may take you a long while to figure out how to market and capitalize on this talent, but the first step is to identify it.

2. Think Outside the Box
Even after I identified my personal knack for writing and realized that I could pair it with my knowledge of personal finance, I was still hesitant to make the leap professionally. My first thought was, “Well, there must already be a million people who know how to write about money, so why should I even bother?”

Let me tell you why you should bother: I published my first book on personal finance a few years ago, which opened up many doors. Before I start to sound too much like an infomercial, let me say this: I am not trying to sell you anything – I am trying to sell you yourself. So, when identifying your talents, think in terms of what is possible, not of what is impossible.

3. Take the Risk
Suppose, hypothetically, you possess excellent skills in do-it-yourself home repair and dabble in writing. Maybe you have even thought about starting a blog to advertise your carpentry skills. However, you don’t know much about blog design, advertising, or any other aspect of creating or maintaining a website. This is where you have to make the jump.

This is exactly what I did. I had no idea if I would ever succeed, but I took the risk anyway. I spent the money to publish my book and create a companion blog, and I have been handsomely rewarded ever since. To paraphrase the great Geoffrey Chaucer, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

4. Employ an Extraordinary Work Ethic
No, you do not need to work 100 hours per week, but the best way to go about it is to start your own business while still working your current day job. That way, you are hedging your risk. I would never advocate quitting your day job to delve into the world of entrepreneurship – you should be willing to bust your tail to build your side business while sustaining your day job. The point at which you free yourself of your nine-to-five employment to fully depend on your side business income will be up to you.

You will have to work extremely hard in the beginning when you launch your business. However, if you do it right, the ultimate rewards are well worth the effort.

Final Thoughts
Before I started my two businesses, the mere idea was intimidating – almost incomprehensible. How do I do it? When do I do it? How do I finance it? How do I maintain it? All of these concerns were major obstacles to me.

However, once I realized my talents, as well as my potential, it was only a matter of being creative, persistent, and daring. The effort it requires is great, but the payoff for succeeding is ultimate satisfaction.

What are your thoughts on starting a home-based business? What’s holding you back from making the jump?