Running your own business is the dream that many have. To call the shots, set your own hours, and not need to deal with the daily stress which the 9-5 grind can give is certainly attractive. Is now the time for you to become an entrepreneur? How can you know if you’re ready to take your first step forward on this new journey?
The path toward entrepreneurship is a little different for everyone. Therefore it is up to you to decide if you’re ready to get started. If you see some of these signs in your life, then it might be time to start chasing that dream you’ve always had.
#1. You’re passionate about getting started.
“You’ve got to love what you do.” That advice has been handed down for generations because it’s true. If you’re going to stay committed to a job for more than a few months at a time, then you’ve got to have a cornerstone of passion that you’re building upon. Without that love for becoming an entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself back in the 9-5 grind before you know it. Many mistake the love of being an entrepreneur with a love for the industry itself. You must love your product or service as much as you love the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
#2. You’ve always felt the need to create something.
The typical employer doesn’t welcome a lot of creativity. They want something done a certain way by a certain time and in exchange for doing that, you receive a paycheck. Not everyone feels the call to be creative. Many are satisfied with the routines their employers demand of them. If you’re ready to start coloring outside the lines, then you might just be ready to become an entrepreneur.
#3. You aren’t discouraged by the word “No.”
You’ll have a lot of doors slammed in your face when you first follow the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. A lot of people are going to tell you “No.” Some friends might even fall away because they think you’re crazy for taking this new path. You must have a thick skin to be a full-time entrepreneur, especially in the early days, so make sure you have this developed before getting started.
#4. There are good spending habits to support your efforts.
You need to have some budgeting chops in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean you need to have a specific net worth before you get started or have the best credit score ever, but it does mean that you need to eliminate the bad habits that may have gotten you into financial trouble in the past. In the early days of your first business, your budget must be rigid. Any bad habits from your personal finances will follow you into your entrepreneurial efforts and potentially lead to a quick exit from this new journey.
#5. You have something with promise.
Most entrepreneurs begin their first business with something in which they have a natural talent. Writers, painters, photographers – even scrapbookers – all have viable businesses today because they adapted their talents into something that had value to others. If you have a product, a service, or a talent that offers a value promise to others, then you have a shot at being ready to become an entrepreneur.
#6. You know what your potential market thinks already.
One of the most common reasons for an entrepreneurial failure is because the entrepreneur gambled on their market. Instead of researching the value proposition they would be offering to potential prospects, they started their business with a “gut feeling” instead and assumed customers would come along. Sometimes that does work, but if you want more of a guarantee, you need to know what your potential market thinks before you get started.
#7. You’re available to work a lot of extra hours.
You might not need to deal with the 9-5 grind as an entrepreneur and a micro-managing boss, but the downside is that you have longer hours and less personal time as an entrepreneur – especially in the first days of your venture. Expect to be working nights, weekends, and holidays for awhile until you get your foot in the door.
#8. You have a financial plan.
Let’s be very clear about this point: reducing your net worth or creating new debt to start a business is not a plan. You can’t expect to cash out your 401k and then receive financial returns. If you have to risk your financial future just to get the first steps of an idea off the ground, then the time probably isn’t right to become an entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means that you should create a solid business plan instead of gambling the future of you and your family.
— Sprinkler Wi-Fi (@sprinklerKE) October 27, 2014
#9. You’re willing to listen to new ideas.
You will learn a lot about yourself when you decide to follow your dream of becoming an entrepreneur. You’ll also discover that many others are more than willing to offer you their opinion of what you’re doing. Any feedback, including negative criticism, can be helpful if you’re willing to look for the good tidbits of information contained within it. Some people are just going to try to drag you down – don’t let that happen. If you’re willing to listen to new ideas when they come along, however, you’ll be able to build a stronger foundation.
#10. You have a support network in place.
Even if you hire people to shore up your personal skill weaknesses, being an entrepreneur in the early days often means being isolated from the rest of the world. It is helpful to have a support network in place before you get started so you can make sure your social connections and professional relationships don’t become isolated as well. It’s also nice to have someone stop by the office to bring you dinner every once and awhile.
#11. You’re ready to face down your fears.
There are two different fears that strike entrepreneurs. The first is the most common, which is a fear of failure. Many entrepreneurs don’t even get started on their journey because they’re too afraid to face themselves if they should fail. Then there is the fear of success. Some entrepreneurs don’t like the idea of being highly visible in their industry or being forced to work to very high standards. If you’re ready to face down these fears, then you’re ready to explore what life could be like as an entrepreneur.
— Lindsay Buescher (@LindsayB3Good) April 24, 2015
#12. You’re in a good place right now with life.
Being an entrepreneur means that you need to have a balance between your personal life and your professional life. If either one is out-of-balance, then it will affect the other in a negative way. Most people are pretty balanced professionally when they’re looking to start their own business, but they could be in the middle of a pretty major life change that they don’t realize could destroy their business opportunities. Being in the middle of a divorce, a personal loss, or even if you’re about to get married can affect how you look at your business. Get balanced on both sides of the equation and you’ll be ready to be an entrepreneur.
#13. You’re experienced.
The reason why a vast majority of entrepreneurs start a business within the same industry as their personal interests or current profession is because you need experience to be successful. If you don’t understand your market, your customer, or how your product works, then you’re not ready to be your own boss. Sometimes taking a part-time job on the side or working on your creative talents after-hours is more important than becoming a full-time entrepreneur because that will give you the experience that you need.
#14. You can manage your time effectively.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you are in control of your schedule. It’s nice in some ways because if you want to take some time off from work, you can do so. It can also be a distraction because if you catch yourself watching every baseball game or soap opera that comes on TV during the day, you won’t be getting a lot of stuff done. You must be disciplined enough to limit distractions so you can manage your productivity, yet recognize when you’re feeling burned out so you can take a break.
#15. You’ve researched your funding options.
Many entrepreneurial businesses get started as a self-funded business and there’s nothing wrong with that. When that business begins to expand is when many entrepreneurs find themselves scrambling because they’re not sure what to do. It’s important to research your future funding options before your business idea finds a market share so that you’ll know where to find the funding you’ll need. Should you pursue small business grants? Sell equity shares? Approach crowdfunding? You’re ready to be an entrepreneur if you’ve already researched all of your potential funding options.
#16. You have infrastructure.
Every business needs some level of infrastructure. Writers use computers, desks, printers, and a desk. Painters need paint, canvas, easels, and other creative materials. Before you can really offer something to your prospects, you’ll need this infrastructure in place – even if your plan is to work from a home office. Get the phone lines, the internet, and the equipment you’ll need to get your job done and you’ll be ready to get started working as an entrepreneur. Make sure you keep your receipts too because these are costs that you’ll be able to deduct when it comes time to file taxes.
#17. You know how to fix problems.
If your entrepreneurial idea is 100% internet-based, what happens if your ISP goes down? If you’re a writer and your computer stops working, how do you keep working? Part of life as an entrepreneur means being able to fix the problems that will begin to appear as you get to work. If the internet goes down when you’re working for a traditional employer, you might get a paycheck for not doing much. If that happens when you’re working for yourself, you might not get a paycheck at all.
#18. You can recover if your idea doesn’t work out.
Many will tell you that as long as you have enough money to get started, then you can be an entrepreneur. That’s only partially true. You should also have enough money or resources available that you can quickly recover should your idea fail for some reason. The idea here is that you are planning for the worst-case scenario, but working to achieve the best possible outcome. You’ll be in a much better financial position if you have enough resources to keep going if your idea doesn’t work out. If you have this level of financial stability, then you might just be ready to be an entrepreneur.
— Digital Marketer (@DigitalMkterNE) March 19, 2016
#19. Your idea isn’t already being offered by several others.
Being a successful entrepreneur means making your own unique mark on the world today. You must offer something that is unique in order to establish your brand. You must find your own niche. If you’re selling what thousands of others are already trying to sell, it’s virtually impossible to stand out. To be different means to be potentially successful. Know what makes you different and you will take one step closer toward being ready for the world of entrepreneurship.
#20. You’re willing to do whatever it takes.
Some entrepreneurs quit their jobs, sell their homes, and live out of a tiny studio apartment eating ramen and rice every day because that what it takes for them to chase their dream. Others work 90 hours per week and rarely see their families. There might be travel that keeps you away from home. Being an entrepreneur means being willing to do whatever it takes so the journey can continue moving forward. If you’re not willing to take on that level of sacrifice, then being an entrepreneur right now might not be right for you.
#21. Your gut is telling you that now is the time to get started.
Sometimes listening to your gut can be a bad thing. If your gut tells you to get started without a business plan, without a financial security blanket, or without industry experience, then you probably shouldn’t listen to it. If your gut instinct says that now is the best time to be an entrepreneur, however, then listen. Explore why you feel this way. There’s a good chance you’ve noticed something, but just haven’t been able to comprehend the information you’ve absorbed yet.
#22. You’ve always had the goal to be an entrepreneur.
People who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs often find future success. It might not happen immediately and million of dollars in profits may never come streaming in, but there are many ways we can define success. If your goal has always been to be an entrepreneur, then you’re ready. Just make sure you take these other key points under consideration before you go all-in with an idea that seems like a good one.
When you’re creating something for yourself as an entrepreneur, then you have the best chance possible to follow your dreams. This is a journey that almost everyone thinks about from time to time. It can be uncomfortable and risky, but it can also be a whole lot of fun.