Entrepreneurship may sound like a dream to some, especially if you’ve been on the job hunt for several months with no luck landing a new job. But it’s important to first determine if entrepreneurship is the right direction for you before attempting to launch a new business venture in this economy.
Are you on the fence? Ask yourself the following questions to gauge whether you should consider being an entrepreneur or stick with your current career:
1. Do I have a great idea for a product or service? Obviously, to be a business owner, you first have to have something to sell. Do you know what you’re great at? Where your product would fit into the current market? How about who your competitors would be? There are a lot of factors to launching a new product or service to take into account before jumping in with both feet.
2. What is my tolerance for taking risks? Taking on entrepreneurship involves many risks: quitting your current job, putting your money into a new business, hiring employees, etc. Is your tolerance high enough to make it through these stressful situations?
3. Can I take on multiple roles? Being a business owner means you are responsible for payroll, human resources, marketing, etc.—all aspects that are normally delegated throughout a large organization can fall on your shoulders.
4. Am I passionate about my industry, product, and/or service? You’ve heard that passion in your career is essential to success—and that’s even more critical when you’re launching a new product or service. “As the business owner, you’re also chief salesperson for your company,” said Colleen DeBaise author of The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook, in an article on WSJ. “Your enthusiasm for your product or service—whether it’s hand-knit sweaters or top-notch tax preparation—is often the difference that hooks customers, lands deals and attracts investors.” You’ll probably find yourself doubting whether or not it was the right choice when no one is interested in buying from you, but if you have the passion and the drive to make it happen, you’ll surely be able to navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
5. Am I willing to put in the necessary time to make my business successful? Many people think being your own boss means working less hours, but any entrepreneur will tell you that’s simply not true. Most startup founders end up spending more time working than they did at a 9-to-5 job.
6. Am I willing to commit to continuous learning? Being a business owner means you need to be open to learning more about managing, leadership and your industry. Most entrepreneurs have their own favorite resources for information (mine’s Inc. Magazine!) that they turn to in order to continue their personal and professional growth.
7. Am I resilient? “Experts have found that the ability to overcome failure is a key indicator of whether a small business owner will be successful,” said Emma Johnson in a Forbes article. Look at how you cope with difficult situations in your life. Do you bounce back, or wallow in disappointment? You’re bound to face challenges and failures when starting your own business, but how you deal with those will determine your future success as an entrepreneur.
8. Do I realize I can’t make everyone happy? “There will always be critics,” said Richie Frost in an article on Under30CEO. “There will always be SOMEONE who is upset with what you’re doing or what you believe in. Take this quote by Herbert Swope, ‘I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: which is: Try to please everybody.’”
9. Am I prepared to take responsibility for any success or failure that might result from this new business venture? Your business might completely flop. Or it might be bigger than you imagined. Either way, you have to be prepared for the unexpected—and be able to handle the responsibility that entails.
Do you have any tips about becoming an entrepreneur? How about any success or failure stories to share with individuals who may be interested in entrepreneurship?
Heather R. Huhman, founder & president of Come Recommended, is passionate about helping students and recent college graduates pursue their dream careers.
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