The label of ‘entrepreneur’ can be alluring for many young people, especially those just graduating from college. Entrepreneurship is seen as an exciting career path to take as well as one that can be extremely lucrative. There are many well-known names on television and in the media who show what a wildly successful entrepreneurial life can look like.
And you may want that for yourself. But the trouble is, are you really cut out to be an entrepreneur?
The harsh reality is that an entrepreneurial lifestyle is very difficult. While it may be a passion for the business builder, it also involves many hours a week of very hard work, for many years. This can potentially have an impact on relationships, health, and wellbeing, the severity of which can be difficult to predict.
Of course, if you’re successful, then life can become very easy and lavish indeed. But money isn’t usually the driving force behind the entrepreneur’s enthusiasm, and it shouldn’t be for you too, if you’re considering an entrepreneurial way of life.
Why do entrepreneurs do what they do?
Quite simply, passion.
Reasons why you might not make a great entrepreneur
You may feel driven to create and build great new businesses but do you really have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
Before jettisoning the idea of a nice stable 9-to-5 job altogether, it’s worth considering whether your personality, circumstances, and lifestyle choices will suit an entrepreneurial way of living.
If you are:
Shy and/or introverted – You might find it tiring, frustrating and altogether burdensome to always be motivating other people, leading teams, constantly selling to new people, and always be on the go, usually in social environments.
Predisposed to anxiety – You will meet with insanely high levels of stress as an entrepreneur. Decisions you make will impact not just on a business itself but also all the people involved with that business. Such a lifestyle frequently kindles anxiety and then pours petrol over it.
A follower of rules – Successful entrepreneurs rip up rule books. When they are given a choice between A and B, they go and create C. They thrive on discovering – or building – further options where other people see rigid rules and roadblocks.
Undisciplined – While rules are there to be broken, an entrepreneur also understands the importance of discipline. Self-rule is a vital skill every successful business owner needs. On days when tiredness, failure, fed-upness, setbacks, and frustration occur, it’s discipline that keeps things going.
A planner – The planner plans; the entrepreneur acts. Some people are planners and that’s perfectly respectable. Planning is an essential component of any great business. However, planners are not always doers, which is essential when it comes to building businesses.
Afraid of conflict – You need to hire and fire people based on abilities and results. If you’re afraid of conflict and hurting peoples’ feelings, then an entrepreneurial role will be very difficult. While there’s no need to be mean, you do need to be able to give tough feedback and stand your ground.
A new parent – You may want to consider the long hours you’ll need to put in, especially in the formative years. Building, growing, and running a business can mean no real free time, no weekends, few vacations, and a whole swathe of sleepless nights, without any guarantee of success. For the young, passionate, and unattached it’s part of the thrill. But for a new parent, it might be a risk too far.
Out of ideas – Can you spot gaps in the market? More than one? Are you passionate about changing the world, improving lives, and making a difference? If you’re struggling to come up with multiple great business ideas and simply want to be an entrepreneur for the sake of it, then things will be very difficult.
Some of the above drawbacks can be overcome in isolation but if you match with more than one, then the entrepreneurial life might not be for you. So what are some good alternatives to a standard 9-to-5 job?
What to do instead?
A freelancer is a type of solopreneur who provides services for clients, whether individuals or companies. There are thousands of different freelancing niches ideal for a whole range of personality types, skillsets, and passions.
A freelancer is a similar to an entrepreneur in that they create a business, from the ground up. However, for the freelance professional, it’s more personal and the job is not usually one that is later sold for profit.
Freelancing is ideal for personalities that have the creativity, drive, independence, and go-get attitude of entrepreneurs but who prefer to work solo and at their own pace. It’s also perfect for new parents, digital nomads, and for those who thrive on working one-to-one with other people.
With freelancing, there’s also the potential to create your own products and enjoy related endeavors connected to your subject, such as mentoring, professional speaking, podcasting, and more.
Changing your mindset for success
Nevertheless, if you’re determined to be an entrepreneur and you recognize you have some of the non-entrepreneurial traits listed above, it’s possible to still meet with success.
For example, entrepreneurs are optimistic people. They see the potential benefits and upsides in scenarios, and have an unwavering belief that things can change for the better.
They also have a strong self-confidence. All successful business people have met with failure and people who doubt their abilities. Yet they’ve had enough self-belief to continue forward and prove their doubters wrong. Determination is another related quality they possess.
Entrepreneurs are also driven. They’re passionate. They’re competitive. They take an idea or a concept and take it to its end point, whatever that may be.
Are you really cut out to be an entrepreneur?
To be an entrepreneur, you need all of these qualities in abundance. While often these traits are born from a lifetime of nature and nurture, they can also be practiced and developed. If you want to be an entrepreneur, then self-improvement is every bit as important as building the business.
A fantastic idea for a new business is one thing, but without the right entrepreneurial personality traits to support its birth and growth, the business adventure will probably never take off.
Are you really cut out to be an entrepreneur?
You already know the answer.
It’s just about being honest with yourself.