When people talk about entrepreneurs, they often imagine they are talking about people who are very creative, and who have great vision, and leadership ability. While these traits may be common to many great entrepreneurs, most experts agree that entrepreneurs have five ways of thinking that set them apart from other people. So if you want to know whether you can make it as an entrepreneur, ask yourself the following five questions.
1) Do you relate positively to setbacks?
Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
Setbacks are a reality of every entrepreneur’s life and this is one of the most challenging aspects of entrepreneurship. The truth is that most people aren’t up to these challenges, and when such challenges arise, react to them negatively instead or perservering. While it is true that setbacks can delay your progress, true entrepreneurs see the benefit of them. To them, they are an opportunity for receiving feedback, or for identifying weaknesses in their strategy or in themselves. They then take appropriate steps to make sure these setbacks don’t happen again.
2) Do you value risk?
One of Mark Zuckerberg’s most famous quotes is, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” If there is no risk involved in what you’re doing, then chances are there’s not much reward either. The challenge here is to differentiate between risks that you can measure, manage and minimize with whatever resources you have, and risks that are likely to have a detrimental effect on your business. If you see all risk as bad, then you aren’t ready to quit your steady corporate job right now.
3) Can you break big things down into small pieces?
This relates both to problems and large tasks. Sure, you need to see the big picture. However, the ability to see a large thing as simply the sum of its parts is an invaluable skill. Problems will no longer be insurmountable, as you can break them down into manageable parts. Large tasks will feel more doable and you’ll be less prone to procrastination.
4) Do you make decisions based on your heart or your head?
Because you’re creating something from scratch, you don’t have the luxury of putting off or prolonging decisions. If you take a long time to make decisions, chances are you overthink things. Most entrepreneurs feel their way through things and make quick decisions based on their intuition, rather than their head. Learn the art of quick decision-making. Learn to give yourself a 2-minute deadline in order to prevent over-analysis. Don’t ask advice from too many people, as this will simply lead to information overload. Instead get advice from experts or people who have the same perspective as you. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell is an excellent source of information on quick decision-making.
5) Are you willing to accept that you’ll have to change?
As an employee, you know what you have to do every day. There are schedules, meetings and reminders to keep you on task. As an entrepreneur you won’t be tied to a desk. Your business is your life. It’s who you are, and to a large extent, what defines you. The difference between wanting to run your own show and actually running your own show is mindset, so if you’ve been in full-time employment for a while, your mindset will have to change. This may mean undergoing some personal development, such as NLP, or finding a mentor to help you along the way.
There are many rewards that go with being an entrepreneur; being your own boss is something most people dream of. But before you go ahead and quit your day job, make sure you’re up to the task.
Featured photo credit: Steven Depolo via flickr.com