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Being your own boss. Setting your own hours. Bringing your ideas to reality. Reaping the financial benefits. There are plenty of appealing aspects to running your own business, and many dream of quitting their regular nine-to-five to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure.
But starting your own business is more complicated than being your own boss and rolling in the dough. Unfortunately, not everyone has the drive, wits, spark, and stomach to start their own business. Taking that leap is a difficult thing to justify—whether it’s to yourself, your family, or your peers. There’s no guarantee that a foray into entrepreneurship will work.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t signs that show you might be ready. Before you jump from day job to small business (population: one), ask yourself these hard questions and answer honestly.
In his Next Web article “Entrepreneurship Is Not Pretty. Are You Sure You’re Ready to Leave Your Job for It?,” Arkenea Technologies co-founder Rahul Varshneya says having an idea isn’t enough. “My neighbor has an idea, my friend has an idea, his kids have an idea,” Varshneya writes. “An idea makes not a business. And that doesn’t make all of them entrepreneurs.”
Varshneya points out that only 1 to 3% of ideas ever become the foundation for companies—and even fewer develop from ideas into successful companies. How do you know if your idea will actually pan out?
Research, research, research. Ask everyone you know, look up potential competitors or redundant products, locate your consumer base. Find out whether there’s truly demand for your idea. Lend credence to your dream by discussing it and learning as much as you possibly can about the market.
Are You Willing to Go for Broke?
Having the time isn’t a qualifying factor for becoming a successful entrepreneur. Technically, everyone on Earth has the same amount of time: 24 hours per day, 60 minutes per hour, and so on. The difference is, some are willing to spend every available second on their business, while others prefer to sleep in. It sounds simple, but that can be the difference between success and failure. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have that in common—the willingness to go to the brink for the sake of their goal.
In “Are You Ready to Launch Your Company? Advice from 8 Founders,” Trada CEO Neil Robertson tells Inc.com that “If you can pick just two areas in your life to do well—family, friendships, fitness, diet, rest, sanity, and entrepreneurism—and entrepreneurism is one of them, then you’re ready to start a company.”
That means making some hard choices and committing to them.
Can You Stay the Course Long-Term?
Above all, entrepreneurs are consummate creatives—they can’t sit still, they can’t stop dreaming up new solutions, and they aren’t satisfied working for a job they aren’t truly invested in. It goes back to what Robertson alludes to: what is most important to you? If you need stability, a strong family life, lasting friendships, and time to work out, then you can fulfill your life without starting a business. But if you can’t dream of a life in which you don’t head down the path of entrepreneurship, that’s a good sign you’re on the right path.
Being an entrepreneur is not like being a hobbyist. Plenty of people have projects they maintain on the side, and sometimes those become profitable. But starting a company requires complete dedication and sacrifice, especially early on. It’s difficult, almost crazy. But the best entrepreneurs embrace this crazy and balance it with drive, intuition, & planning.