The surging popularity of Uber—the location-based app specializing in linking up entrepreneurial private drivers with those in need—shows that millions of people are looking for more economic autonomy.

Everyone, of course, wants to be their own boss. The good news is that there are a lot of ways to gain the personal and economic autonomy you're looking for.

A great place to start is by asking yourself if you see any opportunities for a new product or service in the market over the near-medium term. 

The 4 Flavors of Entrepreneurship...That All Work 

You might be using a few part-time jobs right now to complement your career, or maybe you have your dream job in mind but you're not quite sure if you have an actionable blueprint to get there yet. 

Whether you're looking to build your own small business from the ground up or team up with a franchise, there are a few steps you can (and should) take to help clarify your goals and develop a strategy moving forward. 

Startup Company Guru 

If you think you're truly sitting on the next big thing—maybe you have a new app idea or you see some way that you can make peoples' day-to-day lives that much more convenient—then the first thing that you'll want to do is create a business plan that lays it all out. 

Whether you ultimately decide to start your own company to fill a market void or invest in a franchise, you need to develop a business plan to hash out the details. Business plans for startups might actually be more crucial because you're laying the groundwork for your startup's genesis, operation, financing and logistics. 

Running with a bold or iconoclastic idea and building your own startup company from the ground floor up can definitely be exhilarating, but it shouldn't be thoughtless. Your business plan should be informed by market research, a detailed description of your product or service and market gap, and your personal and financial readiness to go into business by yourself. 

Of course, you should also have given some thought to your product's anticipated time to market, your core business model, and how you plan on running your startup once it gets off the ground as well. 

Small Business Superstar 

In many ways the United States is a bastion of small businesses—there are over 28 million small businesses going strong today, and those small businesses collectively generate over half of all sales in the United States. 

One of the best ways to find what you're passionate enough about to turn into your own business is to ask yourself one simple question, "what is it that I do for fun that always seems to give me more energy, even if I'm not being compensated?". Alternatively, what would you do with your time if you had all the money in the world? 

Starting a small business obviously entails first coming up with a solid business plan, but it also involves business training, seeking financial assistance, registering your small business regionally and nationally, and obtaining your business license and requisite permits. 

Franchise Investor Extraordinaire 

Franchising is all about going into business for yourself, but never by yourself. With franchising, you're getting a proven business model and the brand awareness that comes with teaming up with industry-leading brands. 

This really could be ideal for you if you want more independence—you'll essentially be running your own location(s)—yet you also want help in areas like site selection, startup financing, marketing, promotions, training and hiring. Franchising gives you direct and ongoing support from your franchisor as well. 

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