Never before has there been so much inspiration for a person who wants to start their own business. While it's an exciting prospect, there are some very real questions to ask yourself. Chief among them, 'Can I afford to work full-time and not make any money for a year?', because that's a real possibility for a lot of people who are just starting out. There will be start-up costs and expenses along the way, and you'll be figuring a lot of these things out for the first time. Expect to make some mistakes.
A quick glance at the entrepreneurs I know personally reveals one big truth, and that's for the majority of them, choosing to start a business wasn't really a choice. Hint: If you're not afraid to work hard, but you have a problem being told what to do, this might be an option.
One of the more successful start-up guys I know transitioned from a low paid job operating cameras during auditions for a hundred bucks a day to disrupting the casting industry by taking the business online.
While this guy studied at London School of Economics, he wasn't the guy to go spend 60 hours a week grinding it out in someone else's office. Learn more about him here.
When I was a kid, we didn't use the term entrepreneur. We called it running a business, and it wasn't sexy, but it had perks. My grandfather bought and sold heavy equipment and my father started a weight loss company and later built small pharmacy groups when the independents could still flourish.
Having grown up in that world, I've spent a lot of time around people who were wired to work this way before it was aspirational. As a child, I also never saw an adult go to an office, so for me it was normal.
There are dozens of questions you can ask yourself, but here are a few that will help you understand whether you belong as your own boss or if you need to fire yourself from that role.
The Entrepreneur Test
- Are you self-motivated? Are you a person that other people can count on? It helps to be a guy or gal who always says what they're going to do and does what they said.
- Are you risk prone? Not everyone can be comfortable in scenarios where they don't know the outcome? If you're going to run your own business, you may spend several years like that.
- Do you have a vision of what your success will look like? Goal oriented people have something to work towards, and your goals may change over time, but it's important to have a vision.
- Do you have support in your venture? Wether you look to peers, partner, family, or folks you work with, it's rare to see someone who's done it completely alone.
- Can you take your knocks and keep on going? Expect rough times, bad months, and challenges you never anticipated. These will pass.
- Do people trust you? Frequently with small businesses starting out, the boss is the one explaining the vision to employees and selling customers in. If it doesn't seem realistic, no one will buy it.
- Do you have a hard time switching off? This may be a good thing in the first few years when you're scaling up. No one ever said Steve Jobs maintained a really great work/life balance.
- Are you OK with delayed gratification? It might not happen in the time frame you're hoping for and you've got to be O.K. with that.