If you answered that question with “I do”, then this article is for you. In the New Year, we’re kicking off a series dedicated to all things entrepreneurial – from how to get started, pitfalls to avoid and tips for success – but before we get into all of that, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself, “is entrepreneurship really for me?”
It seems like today everybody’s an entrepreneur. Between blogs and social media accounts it’s like everyone except you is enjoying the entrepreneur lifestyle. Anyone can do it. Become An Entrepreneur Overnight. Become A Millionaire By 30. It’s everywhere. But while your Instagram feed might be full of people telling you how awesome working for themselves is while they sip cocktails by a pool, it’s not always so “awesome”. Being an entrepreneur – even a successful one – involves an incredible amount of effort, a lot of terror and self-doubt, and inevitably at least a few failures (if you’re lucky).
So before we delve into the sometimes scary, yet often highly rewarding world of entrepreneurship, let’s take a quick look at what it really takes to be an entrepreneur.
It’s Hard Work
You might be quitting your 9-5 with the goal of working less, but the reality is, entrepreneurs work longer and harder than most people going out to work for somebody else. That doesn’t mean it will be that way forever, but expect to spend many months and possibly years working double time to get there.
It Takes Time
Despite the headlines you might read, there is no overnight success for entrepreneurs. That includes all of the big names. Even the largest, most successful ventures took months or years to come to fruition, and it’s likely yours will too. Maybe your product or platform will need a lot of development or you’ll spend more time than you’d expected searching for and securing investors. Launching a new venture takes time. And there will be unexpected hurdles, which may mean you’ll invest even more time than you anticipated.
It’s A Crap Shoot
While the failure statistics for small businesses and venture-backed startups vary, the odds are still not in your favor. The commonly touted numbers around the web put startup failure as high as 8 or 9 out of 10. While that appears to be an overestimate (the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports only 20% of small business fail in their first year, and 50% within 5 years), starting out on your own is still a huge gamble, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. While big risk can bring big rewards, you have to be aware that even with a great idea and an even greater business plan, success is not guaranteed. Which leads us to the final consideration…
It Takes Money
More than you think. If you don’t have at least six months of living expenses in savings – and preferably a whole year – you probably shouldn’t consider quitting your job and striking out on your own just yet. Remember, until your business starts turning a profit, you’re not going to see a dime. If you can’t support yourself for as long as that may take, you’re headed for trouble.
But if that didn’t scare you off, entrepreneurship also offers so much in return. It offers you the opportunity to build something that is truly yours, and that’s not something you will ever get working for someone else. Famous life coach and motivational speaker Tony Gaskins put it best: “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.”
So if you have big dreams and an unquenchable desire to succeed, 2018 might be the year to take the leap – or at least read our series and think about getting started.