Millions of people dream of owning a business, but not everyone has the determination to make it happen. Running a company takes plenty of sweat and tears. Here are some signs it’s time to break out and start your own enterprise.
A Salesperson’s Personality
If you were the kid sitting behind a lemonade stand waiting for customers while friends rode their bikes, you already know running a business takes sacrifice. Regardless of the field, entrepreneurship will never be a 9-5 job. You’ll likely need to be available all the time, especially in the early days, including nights, weekends, and even the middle of your child’s dance recital. Be prepared for business to be the top priority for a while.
Take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses before taking the plunge. Perhaps sitting behind a lemonade stand was too boring, but knocking on doors convincing neighbors and friends to buy candy and other items for school fundraisers was fun. If so, competition may be a driving force. That kind of passion likely means you’ll overcome any stumbling blocks that may hinder success.
You Want to Work for Yourself
Many entrepreneurs started their own businesses partly because they didn’t like the idea of a traditional job. There’s nothing wrong with 9 to 5 employment; plenty of people do that and succeed in that environment. However, you may find you’re not one of them. If the idea of answering to someone else irritates you or you don’t like working in one place all day, consider working for yourself.
Owning your own business is also a good idea if you’ve had many traditional jobs and don’t feel your strengths and talents fit the mold. Many people have skills and talents that aren’t useful in their current fields. Building your talent into a lucrative enterprise is a skill. Talk to likeminded entrepreneurs who can give you advice. Other people are happy with their work, but see how the industry they’re working in could be more efficiently and lucratively run.
You Like Ideas
For some people, turning off the brain isn’t an option; their gears are always turning. If you’re a person who takes a pen and pad of paper everywhere you go, starting your own business may give you a place to put your ideas. To determine if this is true, sit down and consider the products, services, and causes you’re passionate about. If you spend time thinking about these things, you often get ideas about how to implement, improve, or sell them. Some experts call this getting “shower ideas” because ideas come to you during mundane tasks.
Consider what holds you back when you get a fantastic idea. You may be afraid of failure or you may lack the time to complete the research an idea demands. Look to friends, colleagues, and experts to build confidence in what you want to do. When your schedule permits, take blocks of time off (or a sabbatical if possible) to discover if ideas are feasible and what it’ll take to get them on the market.
You’re an Independent Person
To succeed in starting a business, you must trust your instincts and be confident in what you’re trying to achieve. The kind of people content to do what the boss says because they’re too afraid to test their own ideas aren’t going to go far. If you decide to start your own business, be unafraid. Go boldly.
Entrepreneurship will give you more freedom of choice than you probably ever had in school, work, or other traditional systems, but it’ll be balanced by client’s needs. Even as your own boss, you’re still at the mercy of clientele. While you have the power to implement your own ideas about work flow and structure, if you can’t give your consumer base what it wants, your business won’t last.
You Like Variety
Some people are happy doing the same job (or the same tasks within a job) every day. It gives them security. On the other hand, some find this boring and stifling. Businesses that do well have leaders whose ideas change with the flow of commerce. Part of what makes that happen is a thought leader’s need for variety. Variety in daily tasks or a variety in work schedule suggests an evolving environment that may feel more natural to you—especially if you’re the one in charge of how it evolves.
Entrepreneurship gives you the opportunity to meet many new people and learn what they need. In addition, owning your own company will force you to think of a variety of ways to sell your product or service. Maybe you start with a small cookie-baking business based around your versatile chocolate chip cookie recipe. That’s fine, but over time, you may want to branch out into brittles, candies, and pastries. Owning your own enterprise will let you explore those options.
Variety doesn’t stop in the home office, either. Entrepreneurs often travel, seeking new places and feedback on their vision and products. If travel excites you and you’re good at keeping in touch with clients using Skype, email, or FaceTime, you may be ready for your own business.
You See and Respond to Needs
Business owners are problem solvers. For example, a person might see inactive seniors at a local retirement center and think, “Someone should do something about that.” Individuals with the spirit of entrepreneurship might look at the same situation, think “If a bus dropped off middle schoolers here, they could play cards with these guys,” and immediately jot down that idea or record a memo they can revisit as soon as they get home. If you see difficult situations as problems to solve rather than obstacles, consider operating your own business based on the issues you’re most passionate about.
Owning your own company won’t guarantee you love your job all the time, but it will increase overall satisfaction and morale. While most people could start a business at any time, it’s those with passion and a will to succeed that make things happen.