“[B]eing an entrepreneur is very unsexy. Long hours. Time away from family. Low salary. High risk. High stress. It only looks sexy when you read TechCrunch. There is no shame in being an exec at a company or whatever.” – Mark Suster, a 2-time entrepreneur and current VC
Entrepreneurship is not and cannot be for everybody. Not everybody has to be an entrepreneur; somebody has to be willing to lead and manage the huge business empires we know today and somebody else is needed to start businesses from scratch. The important thing for you to do is identify your strengths and weaknesses. Know where you function best, what you are good at and then make the most of it. Here are the five signs that you aren't ready to start your own business just yet.
1. If you expect a guaranteed check.
The expectations of an entrepreneur are that, there are no expectations. In fact, you could be heading for disaster and not know it. The risks are real and are unexpected. There are no guarantees. If you have always expected a guaranteed check every two weeks or month, you are not ready to start a business. Don’t expect to see sales or income for a very long time. Most entrepreneurs bootstrap from the beginning and seek out angel investors when they are more stable.
2. If you can’t double your working hours per week.
Yes, you need to work overtime – or better still – double your working hours every week. It takes time and great courage and most importantly the persistence to see success when you start a new business. A greater percentage of new businesses fail in their first year. You should be doing something right consistently and fast in your first year to make sure you aren't a part of that number.
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3. If you want start a business because it will be easier than “finding a job.”
Starting your own business means flexible working hours and independence in the beginning, but going forward as you begin to put structures in place and hire new employees, the onus will be on the founders to achieve the vision and meet milestones. Starting a business can put you in a financially fragile position and you must be prepared to handle the pressure. Exercising your creative freedom comes at a cost, though it has benefits too. It’s okay to stay where you are, but if you want to start a business make sure it’s an informed decision.
4. If you don’t have confidence in your own ideas and ability to execute.
Are you passionate and confident about your new idea? Entrepreneurship is a life long journey; you will be working on your new idea for a very long time. Do your research to make sure you are pursuing a business you will be proud of. The journey is bedeviled with months of possibly no salary if you bootstrap. Months with no real product to put out there and the trials and errors with rejection can go on for a very long time. The least you can do is to start with something you enjoy doing.
5. If you cannot afford to fail.
Despite the high failure rate of startups, most startup founders are not afraid to take the risk. If you are afraid to fail, you might as well not start at all, because the truth is, you might fail. But the good news is that few innovative business leaders are not afraid to fail. Making new and great progress in business inherently involves trying new things and it’s likely you’ll fail at something that has never been done. You need to keep trying to get a breakthrough in the process. After all, Thomas Watson said, “The best way to succeed is to double your rate of failure.”
Every successful business leader or founder has a story to tell. It’s better to embrace potential failure the first time than it is to never try. If you intend to start a business, get the basics right and realize you don’t have to get it right the first time.