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I started my own business after almost 7 years of entering the communications field. I was quite confused by the entire situation - I had developed several relationships with clients I would assist while employed. I contacted no one, initially. I set up a sole proprietorship (it cost me a little over $25 to get it going, this was in February of 2006) and off I went! It would depend on the type of business you want to own, but it definitely helps if you have already done similar types of business with people you can easily connect with that may be interested in your services. All of this is optional, but extremely beneficial in order to ensure a start-up success. I was told, "all you need is one...and you grow from there." After owning my business for over 10 years, I believe that to be VERY accurate. Start with one good, solid client. Find any way to help that client grow, while providing EXCELLENT customer service. I remember taking my first client's calls at 5a! Always put yourself in your client's position. Your client hired you to represent their interest as an "expert go-to guy/girl." Be that, and then some. Learn your clients business (if you don't already have working knowledge of it) and work toward exceeding his/her expectations of your services. This is merely the tip of the iceberg, obviously, but hope this advice helps in any way!