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