Have you been sitting in your cubicle thinking that you’d love to be your own boss but you’re afraid you don’t have what it takes? It may be difficult to think about jumping from the comfort zone of a steady paycheck into the unknown. Maybe you have an idea of what you’d like to do but you’re thinking, “What will people think?” or “What if I fail?”. Well, it’s true, being your own boss isn’t for everyone. Although the fact that you’re experiencing some fear isn’t necessarily a sign that it’s NOT meant for you—fear is normal. In fact, if you’re feeling some fear, that’s actually a GOOD thing because that means you are probably ambitious and dreaming big. To decide whether to launch your own business, you need to take a hard look in the mirror and really understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Here are ten signs that you’re ready to be your own boss:
1.) Passionate about something beyond money: it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to build a company. If you’re in it because you want to sell the company for a ton of money some day and that’s your main motivation, stop right now. Love of money isn’t going to sustain you through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. You have to have a passion for something greater. Sure, you want to start a business to be financially successful, but you need to be driven more by a love for the work itself. Ask yourself, “How badly do I want this?”. There’s a great quote from Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, “Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire brings a small amount of heat.” Make sure yours is a bonfire.
2.) Skilled at building relationships: you can’t succeed in business by yourself. Whether inside or outside the company, you’re going to need to find people to help you build your dream whether it’s mentors, freelancers, vendors or employees. Fostering relationships with clients and customers is also critical to long-term business success. Professional speaker Patricia Fripp says, “Technology does not run an enterprise. Relationships do.” I totally agree.
3.) Good at handling stress: being your own boss is stressful. It’s a different type of stress than working for someone else because the onus is on you to make all the decisions from marketing to finance. Consider how you’ve managed stress in the past and talk to people in the field you’re considering to find out what difficult situations they have dealt with. Make sure you’ll be able to make it through similar tough times.
4.) Able to adapt to difficult situations: if you are someone who is inflexible and indecisive, then running your own business is not for you. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to adapt to every challenge that comes along. No matter how much planning you do, there will be unforeseen risks and you’ll need to be able to change course and adjust accordingly.
5.) Self-Starter: when you run your own business, you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder. There’s no one sitting down with you to outline your goals for the year or what the top priorities are. It’s critical that you can be self-motivated and avoid procrastinating so you can attack any challenges that arise head on.
6.) Focused: being your own boss is a 24/7 job and it means getting involved in many different areas of the business on a consistent basis. In one day, you might be juggling all sorts of activities from answering emails to working on tax documents, editing video, writing a blog, or meeting with clients. In order to get work done, you need to remain focused and manage your time wisely.
7.) Goal-Oriented: to be a successful business owner, you need to have measurable short and long-term goals in mind and stick to them. This way, your business will achieve more in the long run, and you’ll be able to more easily adjust when needed.
8.) Confident: being confident in your abilities is key when running your own business. Ultimately, if you don’t believe in yourself, how are you going to convince others to buy your product or service? You must be confident in the knowledge that you will make the business succeed.
9.) Open-Minded: the most successful business owners are open to new ideas and testing different ways of doing things. If you’re too set on doing things one way, you’re not going to be open to finding a better solution. Being open to new ideas gives you more ideas than you would have on your own, which ultimately serves your business. Even if you’re a solopreneur you can join a mastermind group and get ideas from others about your business. The more open you are to people’s outside perspectives, the more you can learn from them.
10.) Tenacious: in the early stages of your business things aren’t going to be easy. There are times when you’re going to think about quitting—it’s inevitable. What separates the success stories from the failures is the fact that successful people just keep going. They persist even in the face of obstacles.
If you’re seriously thinking about being your own boss but afraid of the risks, just know that fear is normal. The key is to realize that your fears are untrue thoughts you learned from society, your family or a sense of insecurity. Work on letting them go. Then focus on what you want to create. Embrace the signs that prove you have what it takes to create the life you want.
Remember, being our own boss isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle.