Are You Entrepreneur Material?
You’re most likely here on this website or reading this article because you have the desire and the idea to be your own boss but don’t know if it’s the right choice for you. It’s easy to say, “You won’t know until you try it! Just give it a go!” but not everyone has the luxury to just completely turn their life around and start a business. You might have a family that depends on your income, you might have debt to pay off, or you might not want to use up all of your savings that took 10 years to accumulate.
The good news is that there are plenty of examples of people having started successful businesses in similar circumstances. Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of The Baby Einstein Company, was a stay-at-home mum when she started the educational videos for the intellectual development of young children in 1997. Julie and her husband invested $18,000 to produce the first product. In just 3 years Baby Einstein’s revenue grew to over $10 million.
The founder of Forever 21, Do Won Chang, was working 3 jobs (as a janitor, petrol station attendant, and in a coffee shop) just to make ends meet when he first migrated to the US from Korea in 1981. In 3 years, they opened their first clothing store and now it’s a household name in the fashion industry, making the big bucks.
While these success stories might be of people who are special and one-off cases, what they tell you is that business success (however you define it) is possible no matter what your current circumstances are. So, what’s the catch? What makes one person succeed but the other fail? Well, there isn’t a magical formula, of course, but most of it comes down to YOU.
Entrepreneurs, especially the successful ones, tend to share similar characteristics and personalities. Below are 11 questions you can ask yourself to determine whether or not you have the qualities of successful entrepreneurs. See how you compare and find out if you have what it takes to own your own business.
1. Do you love what you’ll be doing?
The most obvious one of all that can make you a successful entrepreneur is your passion for the venture you’re about to start. You wouldn’t start a hairdressing salon if you have no interest in it and if seeing the happiness in clients admiring their new hairstyle doesn’t give you a sense of accomplishment. Doing what you love, and loving what you do, are almost a prerequisite for starting your entrepreneurial journey. Considering all the hardships that you’ll endure on your journey, you’re not likely to stick by your decision if you lack passion.
2. Do you have unwavering resilience?
Successful entrepreneurs are notorious for dealing with “failures” and turning them into milestones for success. You’ve all heard the quote by Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Doing your own thing and managing your own business can come with sometimes unbearable ups and downs. When met with challenges that dig at your confidence and self-worth, do you tend to push through and turn them into learning curves instead?
3. Do you believe in yourself?
Similar to having strong confidence in yourself to achieve what you set out to, and not letting anything get in the way of that, successful entrepreneurs also tend to believe in themselves and the potential outcome. They take themselves and their ideas seriously, and they listen to themselves. When faced with uncertainty, do you have enough strength in your belief for yourself to stick by your decision and see it through?
4. Do you have a need for achievement?
Personal values such as the need for achievement (in this case, motivation) are common traits found in successful entrepreneurs. It’s the need to achieve, the drive to accomplish, that sets them apart from the general population. To them, starting a business is not risky; it merely presents opportunities that they can manoeuvre to their advantage, and challenges they can tackle and make into success.
5. Do you tend to look at the big picture?
Entrepreneurs tend to be able to look at the bigger picture of the little tasks they do and the challenges that they might decide to take on or abandon. For successful entrepreneurs, everything can be an opportunity and they don’t forget that even when completing the smallest tasks. Do you have the ability to consistently remind yourself of the bigger picture and stay focused on your future-oriented mindset?
6. Are you comfortable making decisions?
As an entrepreneur, more often than not you’ll come across situations where you’re required to make big decisions in a short period of time. You could be presented with vital opportunities that could greatly benefit your business. You could be in a situation where you need to create the decision-making opportunities. Are you able to make decisions quickly?
7. Do you have great social skills?
Social skills and high emotional intelligence are qualities that great entrepreneurs share. Your skills in human relations are what could set you apart from all those others that venture out to do the same. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to sell yourself, relate to others’ experiences, read their emotions enough to know how to pursue further, and understand what people are actually after. Do you tend to build relationships quickly with people and do you have the right kind of skills (e.g. sociability, cooperation, tactfulness) to push yourself further ahead?
8. Do you tend to guide or influence others?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that successful entrepreneurs tend to have great leadership skills. Leadership skills are essential to possess, not just as an employer but as one who can lead and guide the customers. Your business solves your customers’ problems and you’re there to provide your input on how they can use your service or product to make their lives better. How do people generally respond to you and your ideas? Do they follow you? Do you tend to be able to gently guide them in the direction you want?
9. Is your personal life organised?
While your personal life and professional life can be vastly different, it is the habits in your personal life that will become relevant in your business. After all, your business will become a big part of your personal life and when you first start your venture, it is nearly impossible to separate the two. So, do you pay your bills on time? Do you keep track of upcoming events? Do you juggle your social life well? Do you plan ahead? Successful entrepreneurs tend to plan things in advance and have great organisational skills, in order to juggle the many jobs they need to manage in a given week.
10. Are you flexible?
Being organised is great, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a good idea to stick to your schedule or routine no matter what. Successful entrepreneurs are flexible and open-minded, to adapt to unexpected changes. Are you able to change the ways of doing things and know when it’s time to?
11. Would you trust you?
Last but not least is the trustworthiness of entrepreneurs. Successful business owners aren’t successful because they’re great manipulators. They talk the talk, AND walk the walk. And just as importantly, they have the ability to exhibit that trait without presenting too much risk to the buyer. Do you think you’re a trustworthy person? Do you have a great reputation in that regard?