In the twenty-first century, the path to entrepreneurship has opened up in ways beyond our expectations. People can work from virtually anywhere across the globe, trading in suits and business rooms for virtual meetings with team members miles and miles away. Opportunities that we may not have considered – or even knew existed – have opened up to provide work for thousands of people. And there are countless resources to help people learn trades to support themselves with – regardless of education level.
In spite of all of this, one thing gets overlooked a lot: the path to entrepreneurship is not easy.
Many people seek a better life, one in which they don’t have to deal with a traditional job or worry about falling prey to the next set of layoffs. They want to be their own boss, to be able to come and go as they please. In and of itself, that is not a bad thing. It is good to want to live life on your own terms – this is one of the things that drives many entrepreneurs. But there is no reward without risk and effort. Starting a business is not that difficult – the real challenge is keeping it alive.
Eight out of every ten entrepreneurs who go into business for themselves fail within their first eighteen months. So before you take the big jump, here are four issues you may want to address before starting a business.
• Do you have a lack of focus? Some prospective entrepreneurs enter the arena while trying to be all things to all people – offering one service for one set of customers, a different one for another set, and yet another service for yet another group. This mindset is damaging, as it spreads you thin while ignoring your strengths. You need to focus on doing what you can do best.
• Are you overly concerned about what other people think of you? As trivial as this may seem, one reason many entrepreneurs either fail or do not even try is because they are afraid of what their friends and family may say. You need to understand that there will always be people who do not support you or think that you should “get a real job,” no matter what you do. These people do not control your life trajectory – you do.
• Do you get along well with others? Every line of work has one thing in common: you will deal with other people. If you are unable to at least get along with others and communicate well, then chances are you will not last long in the business world. But contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be born with social skills – they can be learned, and there are many resources available to help you do so.
• Are you willing to commit? Being a business owner is not a nine-to-five affair. It will take a lot of time and a lot of work. Giving anything less than your all can doom your efforts from the start.
Being a successful business owner requires a lot from you, but the rewards are more than worth it. If you are willing to be honest with yourself and to go in wholeheartedly, then starting a business is something you should definitely consider.