Starting your own business is not a decision to take lightly. While it’s great to be your own boss with the freedom to set your own schedule, this is only part of the equation. It takes a lot more than just a dream to be a successful entrepreneur.
Before you take the leap, there are some important questions to ask yourself to understand if you’re truly ready to launch your own business. To help you make your decision, we asked 10 Young Entrepreneur Council members what everyone should ask themselves before committing to entrepreneurship.
1. Do You Feel Like You Fit In With Other People?
Some people are destined to become entrepreneurs, but work at 9-to-5 jobs for someone else who will make more money than they will. If you don’t fit in with everyone else, you probably have thousands of ideas for businesses that you want to start, but never do. Entrepreneurship will be a difficult road, but it promises both rewards and troubles. If you don’t feel like you fit in, take a leap of faith for yourself and break the mold. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
2. Are You OK With Failing?
Entrepreneurship comes with failure after failure, sleepless nights and lots of work that might not lead to the results you wanted. The solution of any entrepreneur is to learn from your mistakes and try again until you accomplish what you set out to do. Whether you’re trying to execute an idea, workflow or establish an audience, it will most likely take multiple attempts of trial and error. As an entrepreneur, not failing is not an option. You need to be comfortable with failure and constantly expressing and trying new ideas, even if they don’t work. Sometimes, doubting ourselves is what holds us back. In order to be successful with your own business, you need to learn how to “fail forward” and try new things. – Chelsea Rivera, Honest Paws
3. Do You Thrive Or Crumble In The Face Of Uncertainty?
Entrepreneurship is the scariest and most exciting roller coaster you can ride—offering both incredible highs and terrifying lows. Knowing how to keep yourself equally inspired, motivated and composed will determine your true staying power. Understanding how you operate under pressure is imperative. If you tend to crumble in uncertainty, look for ways you can excise this tendency to grow your resiliency. If, on the other hand, you thrive in uncertainty, it would be worth learning how to light the same fire in times of comfort. The short answer is you need to be able to do both. Investors don’t want to hear about the founder who crumbles or thrives on uncertainty. They want to see consistent growth, learning and iterating along the way to turn uncertainty into success. – Laura Fortey, REITIUM Technologies Ltd
4. Does Failure Give You Fuel Or Fear?
Failing is an inevitable part of entrepreneurship. Much of what sets the success stories apart from the rest is the response to failing—does it fuel you to work harder and create new solutions? Does it tailspin you into fear that is hard to come back from? Look into other areas of your life where failure is a possibility and assess how you’ve responded in the past. If you can’t distinguish the truth, ask your close circle. No one handles failure perfectly every time, but it’s important to understand if failure is an experience you can ultimately use to your advantage. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
5. What Truly Drives Your Passion?
Entrepreneurship will stress you out like you’ve never been stressed out before. The only thing that can and will overpower that stress is your passion or your “why.” Passion runs deeper than anything else because it’s a part of you. In entrepreneurship, passion becomes your driving force and helps define who you grow to be as an entrepreneur. Your team, customers/clients and your investors will feel it, but on the contrary, they’ll also feel its absence. Beyond passion, what’s your reason for showing up everyday and believing in yourself? If that answer doesn’t come to you within seconds, you’re not ready to make the leap quite yet. Answer that question and your path becomes clear. Only then are you ready for the beautiful chaos of entrepreneurship. – Sasha Rowe, Rivvly
6. How Self-Motivated Are You?
Entrepreneurship may look glamorous, but the reality is tons of little things all working towards a goal. You will consistently fail, and even if things are going well, you are managing so much that there is always something wrong. You have to tolerate pain and discomfort without breaking from your dedication and consistency towards your goal. There is never going to be a moment of cash out or complete win—entrepreneurship is about truly enjoying the struggle and constant battle to get to your end goal. No matter what it takes. Relentless perseverance towards your goal. If “something’s gotta break, and it’s never going to be me” resonates deeply with you, entrepreneurship just may be for you. – Darby Cox, Darby Cox LLC
7. Can I Picture Myself Doing This Decades From Now?
It may seem like a completely random question to ask yourself before committing to entrepreneurship, but it’s a valid one. For me, this question tests how deep the desire runs for both entrepreneurship and what you’re building. Before I became an entrepreneur, I didn’t think about the long-term—it was an entirely short-term play. However, once I got into the weeds and the stress piled on and I began managing people, filing taxes and dealing with hard stuff day in and day out, I had to ask myself the tough questions. The answers to those questions may not always be what you expect and you might be disappointed if the answer is “no.” However, when the answer is “yes” and you do want to do whatever you’re doing for life, you know you’ve landed on the right thing. – Erin Blaskie, Fellow.app
8. What Is Your Tolerance For Pain?
Entrepreneurship is hands down the hardest way to make actual money. Half of what you see on the internet is absolute fluff with fake rented planes and cars or founders and their “teams” (a.k.a their mom). Believe me, I’ve been there. So the biggest question you have to ask yourself is can you handle pain? The pain of no paycheck. The pain of failure. The pain of letting others down. The pain of doing every single job when you’re the founder, from janitor to admin to salesperson. If your pain tolerance is high, you just might love this game. – Codie Sanchez, Cresco Capital Partners
9. Are You Ready To Change Your Life?
Entrepreneurship will change your life. It will make you or break you. Your routine will change and your expectations won’t be met accordingly. It is hard to keep up with friends and family, perfection isn’t possible and a lot of things/people will need your time and attention. Entrepreneurship will prune and develop you into a better person if you love what you’re doing. But it can actually leave you bitter and hopeless when you aren’t ready and willing to commit to this journey. It is a commitment to be disturbed and interrupted by what entrepreneurship needs from you because you started it for a reason—you should always go back to that core. – Daisy Jing, Banish
10. Will You Be Miserable If You Don’t Take This Leap Now?
If you consider a year ahead (or three or five) and are exactly where you are right now having not yet taken the entrepreneurial leap, how would you feel? If the answer is “totally fine,” this path is not for you. The most successful people I know would be “absolutely miserable” to be in the same exact place a year from now, having not taken the risk, path or journey towards their goal. When you commit to entrepreneurship with the consequence in mind of, “I might be exactly here this time next year if I don’t accomplish this” as a threat, it becomes a lot more urgent and accomplishing it becomes more real. – Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage