Is Starting a Business the Right Career Move for You?
So you’ve thought about starting your own business, but you’re not quite sure if it’s the right path for you?
Today I’m going to share some questions that you can ask yourself to help you get clear if you’re a career-path kinda person or if running your own gig is more up your ally.
When I talk about starting your own business, I‘m referring to a small start up kind of business rather than a large venture capital style of business.
Do you like to be given instructions on how to do something, or do you prefer to work it out on your own?
If you’re the kind of person who gets frustrated when you have to work things out on your own, starting a business may not be the right move for you. When you start your own gig there is often a period at the beginning where you have to just figure stuff out on the fly.
If the idea of this makes you feel excited, then you may be quite aligned to starting your own biz, if however, the idea of working it all out for yourself makes you feel under pressure or stressed then you may be better suited in a career where someone else is in charge of working things out.
Do you thrive in a flexible working environment?
When you start your own business there are rarely rules or guidelines to follow at the beginning. A large part of your role will involve being flexible enough to wear lots of different hats.
For example, before you hire staff, it’s likely you who will be in charge of marketing, sales, PR, Finances, customer service, branding, advertising, product creation /design just to begin with.
Of course, some things you may need to outsource, but more often than not entrepreneurs end up doing a lot of everything when they first start out so you need to be OK with this.
Are you good at making fast decisions?
A while ago I interviewed Stanford Professor Bob Sutton and the number 1 trait he noticed (having interviewed the world’s top entrepreneurs including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook & Larry Page from Google), was that entrepreneurs excel at fast decision making. If you missed it, you can watch our video interview >>here.
Interestingly Professor Sutton said that entrepreneurs didn’t always make the right decision, but they didn’t waste a whole load of time deliberating. And if they made the wrong decision they would just course correct as they went.
The reality is, that starting your own business means ALOT of decision-making. In-fact you’ll be making decisions every day, from the colour of your website design through to the pricing of your product or service.
Fear not, decision making is a skill that you can learn, so if you feel like you need to brush up on your skills then be sure to check out my recent article: 10 Secrets of Fast Decision Makers.
Are you naturally self-motivated or do you need others to inspire you into action?
Are you the kind of person who can easily stick to deadlines and complete projects on time, or do you need someone else to manage you and your time?
As a business founder, there is no one above you to check in on you and make sure you’ve done what you said you will.
You have to be able to manage yourself, otherwise your business will suffer or not get off the ground at all.
As the captain of your business, you also need to have a natural drive and motivation to constantly move forward in your business so that it’s continuously growing.
Now for many of us, we may lack drive or motivation because we haven’t yet found something that we’re passionate enough about, to start a business.
So don’t be dismayed if you feel like you’re not the motivated kind of person right now. First find something you’re passionate about, and then check in on your level of drive.
Not sure what you’re passionate about? Here’s a few resources to help you:
Are you good at taking responsibility?
When you start your own business, the buck stops at you.
That means when the going is good, you get to reap the rewards and the accolades.
It also means when the going gets tough, you have to own up to your mistakes, misgivings and failures.
As a business founder, you are 100% responsible for the success of your company.
This means you can’t be blaming other people or external circumstances if things go a little awry because it’s ultimately your job to make things happen.
This means you have to cultivate a great level of resilience and be OK with fixing things when they go wrong and working things out when there’s a knowledge gap in your business.
Are you good at delegating?
While in the beginning you’ll likely need to do everything yourself, at some point if you want your business to grow, you’ll need to start building a team to help you take over the day-to-day running of the business so you can focus on growth strategies.
This means being OK with handing over the reigns of your precious business baby to someone else.
This is often a scary thought for many entrepreneurs and can keep many of them stuck at the solopreneur stage.
The truth is – you have to get good at delegating tasks to other people if you ever want your business to grow, so this is something to think about and practice earlier rather than later.
Do you like working flexible hours?
While you can ultimately set up your business so that you work whatever hours you want, usually during the first few years you need to be pretty flexible.
This means that rather than working rigid 9 – 5 style hours, you’re more likely to be working some evenings or weekends and having other mornings or days off, depending on what your business needs from you.
This can be positive as it means you have the flexibility to work your business around your life and is often one of the main reasons why people like to start their own business.
However, be warned to research the business model you choose very carefully. The first business I set up was an agency model where I was required to work from an office in a 9 – 5 capacity (well more like 8 – 7pm!).
Where I assumed that I’d have more freedom and flexibility with my working hours because I was the boss, I in-fact had less flexibility because of the model I had chosen.
So don’t assume that ALL businesses give you freedom and flexibility and do your due diligence in research first 🙂
Do you like to have access to lots of resources or are you happy to research things yourself?
If you’ve come from a corporate background or worked for a large company then you may have taken the large amount of resources you have at your fingertips for granted.
Whereas these type of businesses have many departments and free resources and tools, you won’t get any of this when you start your own gig.
Need something to go off to the post office? Guess who’s going? Yep you. Need IT assistance? Guess who that is? Yep you again.
Often a lot of these things will boil down to you jumping on google and finding the answer for yourself, so you really need to be resourceful to make a business happen.
Do you want to start a business to make money?
If your number one reason for starting a business is to make money then quit now.
I’m not gonna lie to you. Starting your own business is tough. You’ve gotta be in it for the long haul. And in my experience, the ONLY way you can remain motivated over a long period of time is to truly believe in your business.
Have you ever had someone try and sell you something that you just knew they didn’t really believe in? Maybe they were just after a quick buck? Yep, Me too. It’s icky isn’t it? You come away feeling like you’ve been sold a lie.
The reality is, if your main driver for starting your business is money then you will have a tough slog ahead of you. Because when the money doesn’t come in, what will keep you going?
Now to be clear, I’m not saying money can’t be one of the reasons why you start a business, I’m just saying it can’t be the only reason.
Because, honestly, the most successful businesses are not those started for financial gain, but those started because people genuinely wanted to make a difference in the world…which leads me to my final question…
Do you have a burning desire to make positive changes in the world?
Now this one isn’t tied to only running your own business, but I do tend to see a pattern between those who have a deep-rooted passion to do something, change something, make the world better in some way and those who end up starting their own business.
Often people will start a business simply because something annoyed them so much that they just had to do something about it. So ask yourself this question:
What pisses you off about the world that you could change?
Do you have a better way of doing something, an idea for a product or service that solves this problem?
If you do, then maybe you have no choice BUT to start your own business 🙂
For me, the most exciting thing about starting your own business is that you have a unique opportunity to live out your life purpose, to make a difference by harnessing your special talents to somehow make the world a better place.
And you get to do it on your terms.
I’d love to hear from you. What pisses you off about the world that you could change? Maybe just maybe this is the seed of a new entrepreneurial business idea.
Know someone who’s thinking about starting their own business? Share this article with them!