If you want to know if anyone can be an entrepreneur, there’s one thing you need to realize:
Being an entrepreneur is not easy and very few succeed spectacularly. In fact, 90% of new ventures fail and being at the helm of a startup is not nearly as glamorous as you might think.
So, what does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur and can anyone do it?
Well, take yourself as an average Joe and consider the following statements honestly. If most of them apply to you, you probably have the basic traits that most entrepreneurs exhibit.
Tell-tale signs that you are an entrepreneur
1. You were born into a family of self-made men and women. They may have been your parents or other family members.
Being exposed to these individuals taught you that a person doesn’t have to work for others to make a living or be a success, so it’s in your blood, so to speak, to go it on your own.
2. You always find the shortcomings in the status quo. You always question the way things are done, whether you are at a school camp or starting a new job. You think you know exactly how to improve things.
3. You have a natural distrust of authority and have resisted it since childhood, which makes it difficult for you to work for others. You want to be in control and call the shots.
4. You are competitive by nature and always think that you can do something better.
5. You see opportunities everywhere. You constantly have ideas about how to make something better or more efficient.
6. You started your first business in junior school.
7. You think out of the box and people often remark that you are odd. Maybe it’s because you are so unpredictable.
8. You want to contribute something to the world, not just get paid to do a job even if it is a good job and good pay.
9. You are the one that always answers rhetorical questions, like “I wonder how big the population of Barcelona is”. You do this because you are a natural problem-solver. Anything that others state as a problem in ordinary conversation, you’ll find a way to solve.
10. You are surrounded by entrepreneurs. According to American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn,
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
We are influenced by the people we spend the most time with. If those around you are entrepreneurs, chances are that you might be one too. Even if you are not aware of it yet.
These are all characteristics that are common to most entrepreneurs. To answer the question posed in the title, anyone can be an entrepreneur because anyone can have these characteristics.
Is there one trait that distinguishes entrepreneurs from other would-be business owners?
There is one trait that is absolutely necessary for becoming an entrepreneur.
It is the one characteristic that distinguishes the ones who ultimately make it from the ones that become a data point in failure statistics.
That all-critical element is tenacity.
Entrepreneurship is incredibly hard and most people simply don’t have what it takes.
What does it take?
Inhumanly long working hours, dealing with financial insecurities, the stress of making something that has never been made before, trying to convince people that you are not insane, living on very little money, lack of sleep, not having time to have a proper meal.
Oh, this goes on, not for weeks, but for months.
In the meantime, production failures happen, people you depend on don’t meet your deadlines and your customer base suddenly discovers new needs.
On top of that, the product is not performing the way you envisaged.
Entrepreneurs face one problem after another for months on end. It’s understandable that many fall by the wayside.
They are usually the ones that started a venture for the wrong reasons and with unrealistic expectations. When things prove to be too hard, they give up.
The ones that stick it out are willing to do whatever it takes to realize their vision. They are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to succeed. Admittedly, these are not sacrifices that everyone is willing to make or should make.
Sacrifices entrepreneurs make
- Risking relationships
Unfortunately, relationships with people close to an entrepreneur take a lot of strain.
The divorce rate among entrepreneurs is slightly higher than regular marriages. In rare cases, entire relationships with friends, family or significant others have been destroyed.
This is not a foregone outcome for all entrepreneurs. Those who succeed in safeguarding their relationships are prepared to make additional personal sacrifices to make the relationship work in spite of work demands.
- Risking health
The simple fact is that once the venture is underway, there is less time to devote to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing: less time for runs in the park, less time for meditation, and less time to attend religious gatherings.
It doesn’t mean you have to stop all activities that contribute to your general wellbeing; it just means there will be very little time for them, and committed entrepreneurs are prepared for that.
- Lowered standard of living
Many entrepreneurs use all their savings and more to start their venture. Depending on their stage in life, they may rent a room or move out of their home into a rented apartment to save money. There are no road trips or vacations, no live shows or eating out.
No treats or luxuries for a long time. Frugal becomes the password.
This kind of tenacity is what great entrepreneurs are made of. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, is worth $1 billion today, but she was not always well-off.
While Rowling was writing the first Harry Potter book in 1995, she was going through a divorce, living in a tiny flat, and surviving on government subsidies. Her first book was rejected twelve times, with one publishing house telling her to “get a day job.” She never gave up, and today she is a very wealthy woman.
How do you know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
While it’s true that anyone can be an entrepreneur, it is nonetheless not a career path that suits everybody.
Entrepreneurship has become very popular and many people dream of starting their own ventures, but, in reality, it takes a certain kind of person to make a success of entrepreneurship.
If you are thinking about taking the plunge, but doubt whether you have what it takes, here are a few sure signs that entrepreneurship is not for you.
7 Signs you’re not cut out to be an entrepreneur
- You freak out at not having a stable income
If the thought of unreliable income freaks you out, you definitely are not cut out to be an entrepreneur. Especially in the beginning stages of your startup there will be no income whatsoever.
And there certainly won’t be any form of income for months to come.
Starting a new business is always financially risky because you can’t control every aspect that might have an impact on your business.
Unforeseen circumstances can affect your business negatively or cause it to take a long time before it’s profitable. And even if your business is successful, you still may not earn a dependable income every month.
Entrepreneurship is not a good choice for you if you’re not ready for the financial uncertainty that comes with it.
- You are not a self-starter
If you are used to and comfortable with the boss telling you what to do next, you probably are not a self-starter. Entrepreneurs are people who start something from nothing; no one tells them what to do or how to do it.
They are self-motivated and have the ability to work alone. If you struggle to complete tasks and need someone to tell you to finish things or what to do next, you don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Today’s cutthroat business world doesn’t wait for someone who isn’t a motivated go-getter.
- Your life centers around time spent with family and friends
This is a hard one, but the truth is, if time around the dinner table with your family or Sunday afternoon barbeques is important to you, entrepreneurship might not be for you because it will take precious time away from these activities.
Any new startup or business takes up an incredible amount of time and effort.
It’s very stressful to run a business – you have many diverse demands on your day, from managing people, handling finances, working on product or service development, fundraising, and more. The responsibilities can be overwhelming, leaving you with little or no time for a social life.
If your family is very important to you and time with them makes you happy, then sacrificing that to start a business might not be worth it.
- You can’t handle pressure
It is incredibly stressful to start a new venture.
The endeavor can be overwhelming at times, especially when it goes hand in hand with financial insecurity.
A founder has to wear many hats and solve innumerable problems on a daily basis. If you tend to become too anxious when you are under pressure, you won’t be able to focus on what needs to be accomplished and that is very detrimental to a business.
If you can’t handle the kind of stress that is commonly associated with running a business, you seriously need to reconsider if you have any plans to start your own venture.
- You lack originality
If you are going into business thinking entrepreneurship is cool and simply copy what other people have done before you, you may be called a businessperson but not an entrepreneur.
If you are starting your venture because you’ve seen what worked for someone else and want to do it too, think again.
Entrepreneurship is a singular experience, it’s not something you can copy. Each venture is different; what works in one situation won’t work in all others. If you are not prepared to step on the path and figure out the steps yourself as you go, don’t start the journey.
- You are going into it for all the wrong reasons
We read about spectacularly successful entrepreneurs and their fantastic lifestyles and want to emulate that. But that’s not the whole story.
Behind that perfect picture of wealth and ease are untold hours of work and hardship, sleepless nights and unremitting stress.
There is nothing glamorous about being an entrepreneur. Maybe, when you’ve made it, but only after countless sacrifices and then it’s still only a few entrepreneurs that will eventually fall into this category.
If you’re in it for the money and the fame, be prepared for decades of blood, sweat and tears and hope you encounter a hefty dose of luck.
- You like the business idea, but you’re not passionate about it
As overrated as the concept has become, passion is absolutely crucial to entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurship is so hard that most entrepreneurs wouldn’t make it if it weren’t for their passion for their undertaking..
Sometimes it’s the only thing that sees them through the many challenging times they face.
If you don’t have a passion for the business you are undertaking, your chances of succeeding are slim.
Entrepreneurship is a difficult career choice. You don’t need a degree or ac exceptional education to become an entrepreneur.
You can study for it up to a point, but you really only learn by starting a business, failing at it, and trying again, building resilience along the way.
Those destined to become entrepreneurs can be identified by a range of traits that distinguishes them from office workers.
No one is born with all the traits necessary to succeed at their own business. Still, a stint as an entrepreneur certainly offers an outstanding opportunity to develop most of them.
Anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur can take the plunge and succeed, provided they learn at every opportunity and refuse to give up.