Home Anthill Magazine Do you really have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Do you really have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?


Are you thinking about ditching the corporate cubicle to go work for yourself?

The promise of freedom sure is enticing. Imagine it – no more having to be on someone else’s schedule. No more doing what you’re told. No more begging for time off or, an increase in salary.

Running your own business is empowering and, the income potential is unlimited. You can work when you feel like it and take two hour lunches. You get to do what you want, not what someone else wants. You get to work on your own goals, when you’re working for yourself, it’s the ultimate dream.

Right? Or is it?

Three important questions

Here three questions that everyone who wants to be an entrepreneur needs to have answered.

  1. What is it really like to run your own business?
  2. And, do you have what it takes?
  3. What are the realities of being your own boss?

In my experience, running your own business is a lot harder than working for someone else.

If you think working for someone else is difficult, wait until you try being an entrepreneur!

If you want to know what it’s really like running your own business, read on, and see if it’s something you want to step into.

Suddenly, the buck stops with you

When you work for someone else, all you have to do is show up on time, leave on time and, in between, you have to do the work that your boss tells you to do. When you go home, you probably leave all that behind and enjoy your time with family, friends and, maybe your Xbox.

When you work for yourself, you’re always working. It’s as simple as there. There is no ‘down time’.

From the time you wake up, to the time you go to sleep, you’ll be thinking about your business: how to increase sales, how to increase income, how to get more done, how to handle challenges, how to get more time out of the day. If you’re working for someone else, trust me, that’s what your boss is thinking about all day long.

When you work for someone else you don’t have to steer the ship. Your boss is in charge of the company vision; all you have to do is implement his orders. You may not always agree with the direction the ship is going but, you’re probably not getting paid to steer, you’re getting paid to row.

What will keep you up at night?

When you work for yourself, you have to carry the vision alone and decide where your business is going.

Just some of the things that will keep you up at night will including thinking about some of the following:

  • Should you offer a service or a product?
  • Are you going to be local or global?
  • Do you operate only online or, will you operate a bricks and mortar store?
  • What should you charge?
  • What are you competitors doing?
  • Should you do what they are doing?

And, the most important question of all: How will you know which way success lies?
The answer is, you won’t.

You’ll have to guess, use trial and error, or ask someone else for advice. You’re 100 per cent responsible for where your business goes, and if you choose incorrectly, you’ll have to ride out the storm of your mistake while you turn your ship around in a new direction.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

When you’re an entrepreneur you never go home for the day. You’re always working, always thinking, always trying and cogitating new ideas to make your business more successful. The seeds you plant need watering every day and sunlight every moment, in order to grow. You must be patient, steadfast, courageous, and willing to make decisions that could turn out wrong.

You need to learn to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and, keep playing the game.

Sure, you can take a vacation any time you want when you run your own business but, while you’re sitting on the beach sipping something fruity with an umbrella in it, you’ll be thinking about ways to improve your business.

What’s the upside?

The joy of seeing your business grow and flourish is a real high and, watching your bank account grow exponentially is awesome.

If you’re really ready and, you’ve got what it takes plus you’re willing to put in the effort, then go for it!

Just know what you’re getting into and prepare yourself. The success of your business rests squarely on your shoulders and, the responsibility is 100 per cent yours.

What will you create? Do you know how to succeed? Are you willing to grow?

When you run your own business you definitely get freedom but, it’s the freedom to fail as well as succeed. Before you launch, make sure there’s fuel in the tank and, there’s a fire in your belly. You’ll need both where you’re going!

A quick story

I would like to share with you a recent conversation I had with Joshua Steimle from MWI. Steimle worked in the corporate world for several years before making the transition into starting his own business. Since then, he has never looked back.

“I used to work for a tech startup. The founders were just a year or two older than I was, and I saw them flying around to meet with venture capitalists, doing big deals, making all the big decisions and, running this company that was growing in leaps and bounds. It looked like fun. I quit working for them and started my own company. Then reality hit,” explained Steimle.

“Yes, I got to do deals, make all the decisions and, run the company but, I also had to figure out how to make payroll when our bank account was empty! I also had to fire employees who weren’t performing, deal with paperwork and, after the employees went home, I was often working in the office until 4 am, if I went home at all. It was bit of heaven and hell,” Steimle told me.

These are his top three tips for anyone who is also looking to make that transition from corporate life to entrepreneur:

1. Have a plan

Too many entrepreneurs have an idea and assume it’s going to magically work out.

That might happen one out of a thousand times and, those are the stories you read in magazines. You don’t hear about the 999 who failed because those people don’t want to publicise the mistakes they made. It’s true that sometimes you need to move fast but, you can take a month to research your business, before you quit your day job.

2. Spend your own money

People do stupid things when they get money from banks, credit cards or investors.

If this is your first time starting a business, then save up and spend your own money. You’ll be a lot smarter in your decisions and, less likely to spend money on things you don’t need like a fancy office or, a big trade show booth.

3. Sales comes first

If you can’t sell what you’ve got then you’re dead.

You don’t need a CFO if he doesn’t have any money to count. Don’t produce 1,000 widgets and then say “Ok, now how do we sell these things?” The best way to fund your company is to sell before you even have a product. Offer a discount to a customer in exchange for a pre-order, then use that money to make your product. If you can close a deal like this before you quit your day job, it will make the transition much easier.

Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory, a business advisory firm partnering assisting companies successfully start, grow and exit their business. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.

(Image source: Bigstock)