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6 Questions to Get Yourself Ready to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

6 Questions to Get Yourself Ready to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Initially, it may seem to the inexperienced that running your own business would afford you plenty of financial freedom and clear out your schedule so you can focus more on other things. This idea of being “the boss” and relaxing while others work for you and the money just roles in is what causes most entrepreneurs to fail really quickly. Entire books can be written about the psychology behind this phenomenon, but let’s just say that being greedy, delusional and lazy is the worst combination of traits for an aspiring businessman to have. You’ll need to sit down and ask yourself a few very important questions if you want to avoid grossly overestimating your capabilities and coming up with an unsustainable business model that will leave you buried in debt.

1. Do you have a somewhat original and marketable idea?

The precursor for any sort of business venture is an idea. Good ideas are born out of understanding the principles of supply and demand, knowledge of the latest market trends, a desire to stand out from the crowd and plenty of ambition. An entrepreneur’s vision may not be entirely novel, but it should be somewhat unique.

If your plan looks something like this:

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  • Step One – Open clothing store
  • Step Two – Make a ton of money
  • Step Three – Live out the rest of my days without any worries

Then it is safe to say that you don’t have what it takes to survive your first year, let alone earn enough money to live comfortably and grow your business. A good plan would look more like this:

  • Step One – Research the local market to check if clothing store is a valid option
  • Step Two – Market research shows that there is a lack of elegant and stylish plus-sized clothing options in town, even though there are plenty of plus-sized shoppers, which means a shop catering to these needs would be well-received
  • Step Three – Look for creators, designers and skilled labor that could help you produce your own clothing
  • Step Three – There is enough demand for the product that you can manufacture at a reasonable cost with the right tools, and the skilled labor would be willing to work for a reasonable salary, it’s time to determine a budget
  • Step Four – With the available budget we can hire a small, but skilled and dedicated team, buy the necessary equipment, secure a location and have enough to cover the costs for the first six months even if we make no money
  • Step Five – Find a good location that fits the planned budget
  • Step Six – Find the right vendors and try to negotiate a good deal
  • Step Seven – Fix up the place and set up shop
  • Step Six – Evaluate the time it will take to break even and formulate a coherent and realistic business plan

Make sure that you can bring something new to the table, putting a unique spin on tried and true ideas and basing your decisions on supply and demand in your local area.

2. How good are you at what you do?

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Employee of the month

    Want to open a restaurant or coffee shop? Then you better have some experience in those industries and make sure you are able to cook up a tasty meal or at least partner up with people who can. Want to open a clothing store? You’ll need at least some working knowledge of how things work and plenty of people skills. You may be more of a thinker and organizer than a doer, but you’ll need to make sure that you are one hell of a negotiator. There are many avenues and a huge variety of niche markets that a successful entrepreneur can focus on—as long as he or she possess the right skill sets and is confident in his or her abilities, they can go on to create a great career. However, you’ll want to be objective when judging your own skill level and capabilities if you want to avoid becoming overambitious and burning through your budget.

    3. Do you have enough courage, motivation, determination and focus?

    Courage, focus and determination

      There are plenty of characteristics in common among successful entrepreneurs and it is clear that it takes a certain kind of person to succeed in the business world. Now, you may have some of these qualities without being aware of it, simply because you were never in a position that required you to use them—you won’t know how you handle a situation until you find yourself right in the middle of it. That being said, you’ll need to dig deep within yourself and try to find enough courage, determination, discipline and a laser-like focus on the goals you set. If you don’t have at least some of these traits in spades, you will be better off looking for a different career.

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      4. Can you stay level-headed under stress?

      Businesswoman frustrated at work

        As an entrepreneur, you will need to take certain risks, and you’ll find yourself far out of your comfort zone a lot of the time. A big part of running your own business is being constantly under pressure and dealing with tons of problems as they present themselves. You will need to prioritize and deal with the most pressing matters first, and in the beginning, it can be like a barrage of things going wrong and situations not playing out quite according to plan. The ability to keep your head cool under stress and think clearly is incredibly important, as you will need to improvise on the spot, make quick decisions and choose between the lesser of two evils. If you lose your temper too often and make impulsive decisions, you won’t last very long. Luckily, this is one aspect you can work on and improve through exercises like yoga. A quick boxing session on the heavy bag or going for a swim can be a good way to manage stress and blow of some steam, so keeping in shape can be beneficial.

        5. Are you prepared to stay focused and work every single day?

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        Working on vacation

          There are no sick days, weekends or quiet afternoons when you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Many people complain about the soul-crushing monotony and lack of career options of their nine-to-five jobs, but once you are on your own, you’ll come to miss the simplicity of such jobs. You work during the morning, then you come home and kick back, and you have your weekends free to do whatever you want—even if you bring your work home occasionally, it really isn’t that big of a deal. Running your own business means that you will be on vacation with your family and instead of going swimming, you end up setting up shop in a corner and staring at your laptop the entire afternoon. That’s if you have enough time for a vacation in the first place. Countless hours will be spent working on different ideas and projects, sometimes up to 12–14 hours a day. You need to be passionate and dedicated if you are to survive the sheer workload on top of the stress and sleep deprivation.

          6. Do you have a good level of leadership and management skills?

          When you are your own boss, there is no one to look to for leadership and advice, and no one to help you manage your employees. For a small business, it can be beneficial to look for freelancers and outsource some of the work instead of permanently employing a large team. Outsourcing can have different effects on your business as well as the local economy, but it is generally a fairly safe bet that if you find the right people, it can save you a lot of money. It’s here that your management, negotiation and people skills need to kick in. Managing a small and dedicated team plus a few freelancers, all while keeping your finances in check and handling any unforeseen setbacks takes a lot of concentration and the ability to jump from one task to another quickly and efficiently. Make sure you work on these crucial skills before making any serious plans for the future.

           

          It is said that the path to success is covered in the sweat and tears of those who weren’t afraid to give it their all and make the necessary sacrifices. Although the business playing field is wide and open, there are some fairly strict guidelines for developing winning strategies, so it is best to take plenty of time to think about your plans for the future before committing to a serious, life-changing project.

          More by this author

          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Last Updated on March 25, 2020

          How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

          How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

          Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

          Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

          Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

          In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

          How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

          Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

          Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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          • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
          • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
          • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
          • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

          If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

          After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

          We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

          Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

          Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

          One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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          These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

          40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

          All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

          For Changing a Job

          1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
          2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
          3. Get a raise.
          4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
          5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
          6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
          7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
          8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
          9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
          10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

          For Switching Career Path

          1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
          2. Find a mentor.
          3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
          4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
          5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
          6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
          7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
          8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
          9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
          10. Create a financial plan.

          For Getting a Promotion

          1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
          2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
          3. Become a mentor.
          4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
          5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
          6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
          7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
          8. Become a better communicator.
          9. Find new ways to be a team player.
          10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

          For Acing a Job Interview

          1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
          2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
          3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
          4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
          5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
          6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
          7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
          8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
          9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
          10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

          Career Goal Setting FAQs

          I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

          1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

          If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

          If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

          How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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          2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

          Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

          Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

          Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

          3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

          You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

          Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

          4. Can I have several career goals?

          It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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          On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

          For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

          Summary

          You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

          • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
          • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
          • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
          • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
          • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

          By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

          More Tips About Setting Work Goals

          Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

          Reference

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