How to Know If Entrepreneurship Is for You?
Ready to quit the 9–5? Ask yourself these questions first.
We live in a time when more than ever before, people across the globe are harnessing their creativity and forging new paths into businesses.
What a time to be alive!
We’re blazing our trails, stepping into the relatively unknown and embracing the excitement of the challenge.
If this is you, and you’re considering quitting the 9–5 in favour of being your own boss, then the first question to ask yourself is how ready you are? Remember when we talked about excitement vs passion? Well, that’s just one of the considerations when making a decision that has the potential to change your life and that of those closest to you. You need to be sure you’ve thought it out, and you’re well equipped to make the move. Here’s a couple of other questions to ask yourself before jumping in;
IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP RIGHT FOR YOU?
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, and that’s not a bad thing. Industry would never survive if everyone wanted to work for themselves! You have to decide if being an entrepreneur will work for you and your lifestyle. This means taking into account your personality, time restrictions, finances and commitments. Start by making a simple list of pros and cons as you see them right now and then revisit in a month or so when you’ve researched your idea in-depth and talked to your friends and family. Do they still look the same?
ARE YOU COMMITTED TO THE DREAM?
It’s not likely that you are going to manifest a massive overnight success. I’m sorry, I know I sound like a gigantic mood hoover, but this is a big decision and one that requires a pragmatic approach (this didn’t come easily to me). The road to entrepreneurial success can be a long one, and for this reason, you need to ensure you’re in it for the long haul. Dedication goes a long way in this arena, the fact that you’re here, reading this tells me you’re likely on the way to making that decision already.
DO YOU HAVE A WELL THOUGHT OUT PLAN?
This question might sound obvious, but you would be amazed at how many entrepreneurs say they’re ready to make the change but, when questioned about their business plan can’t articulate what their short, medium and long-term goals are or what their idea means to them (think those underprepared folks on Dragons Den, like rabbits caught in the headlights when the Dragon’s start quizzing them on their financial forecasts). You need to be crystal clear before you do anything else. It’s only from this place that you can begin to understand what you are bringing to the table, how it differs in the current marketplace and when you can expect your idea to become profitable and therefore what provisions you’re going to need up until then.
Get a pen or take out your laptop and get planning. Another great tool is to create a vision board of everything your business is going to be and hang it somewhere that you can see it every day.
DO YOU HAVE THE HANDS-ON KNOWLEDGE?
Knowledge and experience go a long way when considering starting a business. Have you done this sort of thing before? Do you have experience in the industry? If not, have you researched and spoken to people doing similar things? Learn all you can before you take the plunge. Consider long-term, what will you need to know? Advertising, sales, payroll, tax, staffing? Of course, you will learn as you go, but it’s often easier to understand when you’re in a job than it is when you are the job! Be prepared and open to learning and taking advice from trusted sources. Look around for free training in your local area and online. The more you know before you make the step, the better the chance of profitability.
ARE YOU BRAVE?
Generally speaking, the world of business is no place for the passive. You’ve got to be able to sell yourself and what you offer to the world. This can be scary, but it isn’t insurmountable. If you’re willing to get your game face on and believe in your idea, then your passion and energy will go a long way for you, but you have to know that you’re going to have to do the work.
WHAT WILL YOU HAVE TO SACRIFICE?
Going it alone will inevitably go hand in hand with certain sacrifices. For me those have included, time, money, a degree of sanity and more than a few hours of sleep (and I’m a girl who loves my sleep!). On the upside, it can also mean unlimited earning potential, the chance to help and make real change, freedom and more quality family time. Go back to your pros and cons list. Where does your idea fit? Are you willing (and able) to make the sacrifices?
DO YOU HAVE A CASH RESERVE?
Again, not to be the proverbial fun sponge, but we have to talk about the real deal of money. A cash reserve isn’t just sensible, its essential to sustaining the initial period of your startup if you’re going to do it full time. There are no rules here, and everyone’s situations will be different. Still, a decent guide would be to have six or twelve months worth of ‘salary’ put away to cover day to day expenses and any out of the ordinary bills that may arise. If this isn’t possible it’s not the end of the road, plenty of businesses start with no initial capital, it just means you may have to be more creative about money in the initial stages. Think about researching and sourcing some funding or supplementing your earnings by working part or full time until you get going. It may take some sacrifice (as above), but only you can decide if it’s worth it.
DO YOU HAVE A SUPPORT NETWORK AROUND YOU?
What happens when you have a setback or an achievement? Do you have someone you can turn to for a pick-me-up, advice or a high five? I guarantee you this journey will be a considerable amount more comfortable if you can rely on a support network for the good and not so good times. This can be family, friends, a spouse or partner or your on or offline community. Dependable support and surrounding yourself with likeminded people really can make the difference between a successful endeavour and giving up when you feel discouraged. It’s essential to realise this will happen from time to time, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road, remember, a setback is a bruise, not a tattoo.
So how did you do? Planning and considering the points above will go some way in setting yourself up for entrepreneurial success, but inevitably it’s down to you. Being your own boss is a seriously empowering experience, but it’s often not a smooth road. Prepare yourself as best you can and then take the next step. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, break it down, ask questions and get curious. Let it be fun too; there are no rules that it has to be stressful! I’ve found that doing what I love has given me the freedom and flexibility to explore my creativity, and I love it!
Importantly, remember that if it turns out that it isn’t for you its not a sign of failure, It’s merely a pointer into another direction meant for you. Embrace it and more than anything, enjoy your journey.
I believe in you.