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How to Know If You Are Cut Out for Entrepreneurship

Ask yourself these four questions before starting your own business.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Myth: An idea pops into your head one day at work. You think it's a winner, so you decide to quit your job and explore it. You hire a designer to create a website and a social media manager to build a following to market your product. Within one year, money is rolling in and you can sit back and relax while you delegate tasks to a sufficient team you've built.  

Reality: An idea pops into your head one day at work. You think it's a winner, so you spend your free time researching and talking to people about it. Months later, you have pivoted based on feedback. You want to explore it, but you have no way of supporting your family, so you continue to work on it every night, enlisting the help of a friend to become your future cofounder. You are exhausted, sleep-deprived, and struggling at work. You keep going because you know it will be worth it. Two years later, the product is ready to be tested. Post-testing you and your cofounder decide to make a few adjustments. Finally, the product is ready and it's time to market the product. The pitches begin.  

Let go of any "get rich quick" idea that's been marketed to you about entrepreneurship. Making money isn't guaranteed. To be blunt: long hours, lonelinesslosing money, and making mistakes are all common themes when you first start a company. That's why certain people succeed in building businesses and certain people just aren't cut out for it. Ask yourself the questions below to see how realistic the entrepreneur life is for you.  

1. Are you okay working alone or do you prefer being around others in the office? 

Going into business for yourself often comes with loneliness, not just in the initial stage, but throughout the process. Grinding to make your vision come to life can be so involved that it can cause you to isolate yourself from family and friends without even realizing it.  

Even as you build a team, your employees won't share the pressure and point of view you have in the company. The loneliness may persist and even grow over time.  

Before taking the leap, consider how you've adapted to situations that were isolating and consider how to combat it if it happens.  

2. Can you take initiative, but also relinquish control when necessary?  

In order to get a business going, you'll need to be the one to work on the product or service, find people, promote said product or service, pitch to investors, etc. This all requires a great amount of initiative and consistency--not just a great idea.  

However, you must also know when to give up control to others who are better qualified for tasks. Some entrepreneurs I've worked with wanted to do everything themselves in a "saving money" mindset. But this ends up costing more than it saves. If you're not an expert in one aspect of the business, hire someone who is qualified to help you.  

A tech CEO called me up a few years ago who had just started his company and wanted to build his team. He told me he previously asked his assistant who was not trained in recruiting to Google recruiting agencies with high revenues and then used one of them. The results were less than satisfactory, which is why he called me to guide him through the process. Had he called me sooner, he would have saved a large chunk of change.  

3. Is your idea a 'need to have' or 'nice to have'?  

If you're not selling something people need, prepare yourself for a tougher journey, possibly resulting in failure. The most successful products or services are those that solve a problem that many people encounter. Test your product and ask groups of people what they think. Scissors, umbrellas, cars, utensils--these are necessities. Manicures, ice cream, recliners--these you can live without. If your offering is something that will enhance someone's life, you may find buyers, but it won't be on the top of their list.  

4. Can you support yourself if you make no money for a few years? 

You need to be prepared to be in the negative and potentially acquire debt for two years or more. Building a company takes time and you must be aware that you may not make the kind of money you made previously. Is money driving your decision to become an entrepreneur? Reconsider. You need to be sure you're committed to your business in the face of no after no--can you press forward? 

Are you a responsible budgeter in other areas of your life? You'll have to filter out non-necessary expenses to keep the startup afloat. Plus even with the best intentions, you will make mistakes such as poor hiring that will be costly.  

Seek help before you even begin. 

The smartest entrepreneurs will find mentors, advisors, and coaches to help make decisions and talk through challenges. Don't seek advice from a family member. You need people around you who are committed to your success but not attached to the outcome. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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