From Arlene: Are You An Entrepreneur? 6 Questions To Consider

From Arlene: Are You An Entrepreneur? 6 Questions To Consider

Leadership | Posted by - March 3, 2017 at 12:30 am

There is a great deal of debate that goes on - sometimes in one's head - about whether or not a person is indeed cut out to be an entrepreneur. I want to be clear on what I mean here. I don't mean whether or not a person can act entrepreneurially. I believe everyone can. Or whether or not they have the core skills to operate a business. I mean that "thing" that defines and makes entrepreneurs unique.

In today's age people are thinking harder about this question than ever before. Large corporations are downsizing and people who have had the security of a job are now left wondering if they should be in more control of their futures. Kids coming out of school are choosing to work for themselves vs. going to work for someone else. Women are taking to the lifestyle of an entrepreneur in record numbers. And seniors are saying it's not time to retire, simply because of their age, and are looking to find ways to put their experience and expertise to work in a new way.

All of this is happening at the same time that the path for going into business for yourself has been made easier than ever before. The internet for marketing, low start-up costs and inexpensive offshore manufacturing make it pretty compelling and simple to put out a shingle.

But - and it's a BIG but - simply because the environment is right doesn't mean that everyone is suited for taking this road.

I think of my career not as a career but as an extension of my life. And, most of the successful entrepreneurs I know feel exactly the same. When someone tells me that they are working part time on an idea, while they keep their lifestyle the same through their full time job with someone else, I always think to myself they aren't an entrepreneur. Not truly. Because you can't be half way there if you are.

Now that may seem harsh and dismissive of their efforts. It's not. I admire anyone who is trying to see their dreams come true. But, trying is different than being committed and, it is a fact that if you are really committed you can't do it halfway. You quit your job. You take the plunge and you are prepared to accept that you may end up wishing you had any paying job again if you fail. But, you are pretty darned sure that you will do everything in your power to not have to do the unthinkable: go back to working for someone else.

So here's a list (certainly not the full one) of how to tell if you have the makings of an entrepreneur.

  1. Do you find yourself always questioning the status quo and the way things are done?
  2. Do you think security is defined by being in charge of your own destiny?
  3. Are you doing something that makes you both scared and excited each and every day?
  4. Do you see opportunity where others don't? Are you always thinking…I thought of that years ago?
  5. Do you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about work - in a good way?
  6. Have you embraced the messiness of your work/life balance?

Tags: arlene dickinson, dickinson, blog, commitment, entrepreneur, kids, path, questions, seniors, women, business, business advice, female entrepreneurs, lifestyle

Arnold Hugo Stolting
February 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

Do you find yourself always questioning the status quo and the way things are done?

YES!  I usually am not afraid to do something different from the conventional way that things are done. Just because someone decided to do something a certain way and everyone else followed suit, does not mean it's the right way, or the only way. There's always room for improvement or change.

Do you think security is defined by being in charge of your own destiny?

YES!  You should never put your security entirely into the hands of someone else or a company that may turn around at any time and let you know that your security has been compromised. I.E. a company downsizing.

Are you doing something that makes you both scared and excited each and every day?

YES!  Everyday for the last 7 years I've been waking up and deciding not to look for a job to pay the bills, but instead continued to focus on my own business full time is exciting. However also scary, especially as lately everything has become more and more challenging financially. However, the idea of not being a full time Entrepreneur, and not being in control of my own time and freedom, but instead having to be at a certain place at a certain time each day, to work for someone else, and not being able to leave until a certain time, turns my stomach. Literally.

Do you see opportunity where others don’t? Are you always thinking…I thought of that years ago?

YES! and YES!  As a child while talking to a friend via two tin cans held together by a string, I thought to myself, " I bet this can be done without the string." ;)

Do you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about work - in a good way?

YES!  Especially when work is a music composition etc that pops into my head. At times I even get up and start to "work".

Have you embraced the messiness of your work/life balance?

YES!  It has become a part of my daily life and I don't mind it being intertwined. Being a Full Time Entrepreneur, It`s by choice, and therefore it`s ok.

I know when it's time to disconnect my self from my business and score points with my daughter instead :)

Maryann Penney
February 21, 2013 at 2:22 am

The last one, with work and life balance, still creates an issue with me. Mainly because I have two small kids to manage as well! Boys - 2yrs and 7 months!

Dawn Severenuk
February 21, 2013 at 11:55 am

I'm going to be cheeky and add another one to the list (not something new...more like a (1a):

Do you find that others in your field don't understand why you're not happy with the status quo?  As in, you're continually making comments about how things aren't working in your field - but other people think that you're being snarky or rude... you question others about what's happening in your field, but are given clear indication that your questions are making other people uncomfortable...and the big players don't have time for you (because the small adjustments that you want to make challenge their most basic assumptions....)

(I'm not saying that this could be true for everyone, but it certainly made me wonder why I was working within a dysfunctional system...and if I would be better off building my own sandbox, rather than wondering why I was continually getting kicked out of others'....)

Dragan Cvijan
February 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I feel excluded where my individuality is not exectly according to rules set.

Frances Grabowski
February 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I remember when I gave my 6 week notice to my boss who has always been an entrepreneur and my mentor;  he was not happy and asked "what can I do to make you stay - money, a nicer car, work - life balance?" I summed it up to him in this way;  "I am a business women not a worker bee, you of all people should understand!"  It's not about money!  He did not have a rebuttal because he definitely understood.  It's a conviction that you are meant to lead, that should drive your decision to leave a "secure" job and venture on your own.  I use the word secure, but really, how is your job secure when it's trajectory is in someone else's hands?

Cheryl Dawn
February 23, 2013 at 3:09 am

1.  As an employer, it is good to understand that not everyone questions.  Even though I encourage people to try something a new way if they think it will work, many just don't see new ways of doing things.  You have to appreciate the differences and the value of both.

2. I used to think I had job security while at the same time I had underlying fear of 'what if I lost my job'.  Now I don't have to worry about loosing my job...just keeping my business going....but this feels like true security to me.

3.  Yes, managing my cash flow as my business grows.  Taking on new large customers that require us to stretch.  Saying yes then breathing through the panic attack later.

4.  I often find myself frustrated that I don't have the resources to launch great ideas...and when someone else starts selling those ideas....I...well...curse usually :)...then find comfort knowing that my idea would have then there is added security that if one thing does not work out....there will be other opportunities...there's that security thing coming back up again.

5.  Yes, quite often if I have been struggling with something that feels like a barrier, I will wake up in the night with a very clear picture of how to climb that wall or get around that rock....or bust through it.

6.  Yes, it's only as good or bad as I chose to believe it is.  Ask yourself, would you rather be working on a sales proposal on Friday night or watching 57 channels and nothins on.  When I overhear people talking about reality shows, I smile to myself that I have not a clue what they are talking about.  I can't remember the last time I was bored....oh yes....that was when I thought I had security at that job way back when.

That was cathartic!  Thanks for putting it out there Arlene!

Alan Gillies
February 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Yes to all the above...

I blame my father and grandfather... they passed this insanity onto me!!!!

All this time I thought I was crazy; waking up in a jolt searching for my idea book to quickly write down ideas... always looking for a way to make a better mousetrap... my wife and kids are always saying "there goes dad again... " never satisfied, never taking time to just sit and rest....

I had a regular job as an employee and found it very, very boring - lacking in challenge, not stimulating and far too many boundaries...

Dennis Cigler
February 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm

  We have to agree with this posting thanks Arlene. They say yes we say no, they say right we go left, we have come to a point that we don't trust, it is all the opposite of what we believed it should be. Let me give you an example. I'm the oldest of four children, my youngest brother would never brush his teeth. In our family 5 out of 6 of us have the same teeth, cavities etc. The youngest brother now in his forty's has not one flaw on his teeth no cavities 0. We are not saying don't clean your mouth but it sure makes you think maybe we don't really understand as much as we think we do.

Tish Heath
April 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I can't do a job that doesn't come from me, I won't last.  I've tried.  I love & am terrified by the open freedom of having complete creative control.  I live, breath and dream ideas for life, activity is life, is business, is ideas, is being conscious.  I am an entrepreneur.

Richard Cleary
October 16, 2013 at 11:02 am
Hi Arlene. I quit my job 10 months ago to achieve my passion through my own business, full time. The budget is very much a month to month planning event filled with unknowns. However I would not have it any other way and I have the support of family and friends. I enjoy what I am doing and remain constantly positive about the future and have no doubts about success,okay maybe a little as I am an older entrepreneur who is new to this and feel a bit scared from time to time but in a good way. That said I wake up every morning excited to get to work and what the day will bring.
Joe Wasylyk
March 4, 2017 at 12:47 pm
Another concern that I see in the research work of my Seniorpreneur Project is that most small business meetups assume that you are presently working on a specific entrepreneurial business idea. To everyone's surprise the fact is that very few or in some cases none of the members have a new business idea. The question is- Do you currently have a new business idea or new project that can be defined as part of the social or business entrepreneurial eco-system?
Jason Jamieson
March 9, 2017 at 2:39 pm
I find this post absolutely spot on...except for the thought that people still working a job are not in fact entrepreneurs. They may not be full fledged yet, but we all have bills to pay and responsibilities to keep. An intelligent person, will not jeopardize their family's health and safety because they see a glorious opportunity to become self sufficient, but instead collaborate with family, share their intentions and work towards a day when they can step out of that 'job' and into their true purpose.
It's like being in a canoe with your family and wanting to cross a huge lake. You know your destination is on the other side. You may even be a pretty good swimmer. The fact remains that you can not carry all of your responsibilities on your back and make it across without drowning. So, you stay in the boat, put your oar in the water and paddle your tail off, knowing once you reach the other side you can step out of the canoe with family safe and sound, ready to begin a new life.
Jason Jamieson
March 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm
That said... I'm not going back to my old job, but pursuing my real destiny. :)
Larry Neufeld
March 25, 2018 at 12:12 am
Thanks Arlene,
This article got me to reopen All In and refresh what you state so clearly in chapter 3 and helped anchor my roots even deeper that I am an entrepreneur. The 6 Questions were a slam dunk. My wife Sandra even sees the value in abandoning the work/life balance mirage in order to embrace a truly fulfilling life where it all flows together. I am anticipating that as we read through Persuasion she will continue to “get me” and that I am normal at least for an entrepreneur.
I never knew how true it was, that opposites attract, until at 38 I plunged into marriage. A key is to learn to love each other’s differences.
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