My brother Matthew and I got our start in the aviation industry. At the ripe old age of eight, our grandfather set us up with a booth at a folk festival hocking toy-stunt planes. He taught us how to wow a crowd with pizzazz and how hard work and a fresh approach can change how customers see a business. We were hooked on entrepreneurship.
Through our teenage years, we'd hop from venture to venture -- from selling stereo equipment to kids at our high school to importing rare magic kits from Hong Kong in hopes of making a quick buck.
After graduating, college was of no interest to us. We took our savings from our adolescent ventures and bought a down-and-out billiards hall in our hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. After an arduous rebranding process, endless promoting and rethinking what the pool hall means to the average customer, we came up with an idea that worked. Since then, we have continued to embark on various endeavors.
While our entrepreneurial spirits took flight at a very young age, we always knew we wanted to be independent and had no interest in the corporate world. You may just be considering taking the leap into startup land. As someone thinking of venturing out on your own, here are six sure-fire signs you are ready to declare your independence.
1. You've realized your dream is worth more than your 401k.
There are numerous reasons people choose to go down the corporate road: They enjoy working toward a common goal, love their position, have an amazing salary, perks galore and benefits. People like knowing where their next paycheck is coming from, making security a huge attraction to this lifestyle.
But, if you’re like me, security makes you complacent. For those of us who are less risk averse and willing to take a chance on your dream, it may be time to think about the world of entrepreneurship.
2. You can't stop thinking about your potential startup.
If you can't stop thinking about your dream entrepreneurial endeavor enough to focus on the daily demands, you may be ready to jump your corporate ship. You aren't doing anyone a favor staying put, as an employer doesn't usually want less than 100 percent of your energy.
3. Your support system is in place.
You're ready for entrepreneurship if you have a strong support system. Let's not romanticize starting a business. It is one of the most stressful things that a person can do during his or her lifetime. Make sure your friends and family know you’re jumping into something that will take up the vast majority of your time. Also, have a set of mentors and advisors on your side, so you can reach out to them when times get rough.
4. You see the problems that no one else can spot.
You pay attention to details and are able to see opportunities when others don't. If you’re constantly coming up with innovative ways to change your employer's business but no one is listening, it may be time to take what you learned and see if you can do it better.
Keep in mind your idea may already be out there, so do adequate research. Also, talk to others to see if they are feeling your same pain points, and make sure there is a need for your startup concept. If so, take steps to turn your idea into a reality.
5. You're willing to live below your means for a while.
One bonus about working at an established business is you have a paycheck. That may not be the case when you venture out on your own. Entrepreneurship is about playing the long game. This means if your business hits a wall, then you’re going to have to be willing to take the biggest financial hit.
6. You are reading this story.
If you are constantly perusing Young Entrepreneur to get tips, advice and hear others' success stories, you are probably considering starting your own venture. As a young, aspiring entrepreneur, there is no better time to start than now. Most likely, your list of responsibilities are minimal, and you still have time to make mistakes, learn from them and grow.
When was your entrepreneurial independence day? Let us know in the comments below.