Do you sit at your desk and daydream of striking out on your own? The entrepreneur lifestyle might seem attractive, but how do you know if you’re really ready? It can be tough to let go of a steady paycheck and the security you feel at your corporate job. If you’re itching to break free from the 9 to 5, check out these 7 signs to see if you’re ready to go it alone.
You have the right motivation
It’s important to consider whether or not you really want to be an entrepreneur or if you just want out of a bad job. While entrepreneurship is definitely a way out of your current position, it also comes with a great deal of sacrifice.
Entrepreneur guru, Gary Vaynerchuk explains, “If you want to know whether you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit in your blood, here is what you do: You cut out watching your favorite sitcoms at night, you cut out playing more GTA5, you cut out going out for beers, you cut out being on the softball team, you pick a dream, and you attack it.”
If you can do that (or are even willing to), then you’re ready to do the work of being an entrepreneur.
You have a marketable idea
“If your passion solves a problem that someone is willing to pay for, then that’s a great start for your business endeavor.” (Matt Symonds, Forbes)
It’s not quite enough to just have a good idea. You need an idea that people will pay for. Test your product or service to make sure it’s marketable before you take the plunge and quit your day job. Secondly, you need to be passionate about your idea. You will be the sole driving force behind your business, so make sure that you have enough in the tank to keep it going long-term.
You are confident in your product and in yourself
Symonds goes on to say, “Being a successful entrepreneur takes confidence. You’ll be selling yourself as much as your product or service.”
When you branch out on your own and begin selling a product or service, you won’t have the backing of well-known brand or company to back you up. Customers need to know they can trust you. They need a compelling reason to buy from you instead of going down the street to the more popular guy. Be ready to show them that you are confident, not only in the product or service, but in your ability to deliver.
You have a financial plan
“Cashing out your 401(k) and expecting a new venture to suddenly appear is not a great idea. Before you leave your day job, make sure you have a plan for your new business — whether that involves a full business plan or a back-of-the napkin outline.” (Sujan Patel, contributor at Entrepreneuer.com)
It’s extremely difficult to survive financially when you make a split second decision to quit your job and launch a business without a monetary plan. Even if your business doesn’t require much to get started, there will be expenses along the way that you need to be ready for. You’ll also need to be able to survive financially while you’re building your customer base and don’t have any money coming in. Take some time to plan and prepare.
You aren’t afraid of failure
Patel also says, “Being afraid to fail can paralyze you in business. We all feel it to some extent, but if you can’t face it, you aren’t ready to start a new business.”
Being an entrepreneur involves a great deal of risk. You have to take a chance on an idea, a product, and on yourself. There is always a chance that something along the way will fail. It’s simply a reality of starting your own business. If you are risk-averse, entrepreneurship might not be right for you. But if risk is something you’re willing to take on and you view failure as just a bump in the road, you have the right mindset to move forward.
You have a support system
“In order to achieve success as an entrepreneur, you need to have an established network of people that are willing to support you.” (Conner Forrest, TechRepublic)
As much as you’ll feel like you’re in this alone, no man is truly an island. It’s vital to connect with other entrepreneurs to learn from and to bounce ideas off of. It’s also important that your loved ones are on board with your new venture. When things get challenging and you face setbacks, you’ll need a support system to turn to. This network is your secret weapon to creating a sustainable business.
You are willing to wear all the hats
Forrest also points out, “As a founder, you have to know what you are doing and how to do it. Startups can carry with them a volatile environment, without a guarantee that you’ll be able to hire or retain someone to carry out a specific task. You have to be prepared to step in and get that task done if need be.”
You have to wear many hats as the business owner; marketing director, sales manager, bookkeeper, communications director. For example, if you’re a writer and want to go freelance, you will have to do much more than just write. There will inevitably be roles to play that are outside of your comfort zone. As an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to jump in no matter what the need requires.
Still not sure you’re ready? Take this quiz at Entrepreneur.com to find out if you have what it takes.
If you are passionate about a marketable idea, have a financial and business plan with the support of a network to lean on, you have the tools to make it work. Be confident and bold in the face of your fears. You deserve a chance at your dream job. Go get it!