There is an enormous difference between wanting to do something and being able to make a living at doing that something. Have you ever watched the American Idol audition shows and witnessed a tone deaf singer's shocked reaction when the say he or she will never have a shot at becoming a professional singer? The same thing can be true for entrepreneurship.
Being a successful business owner requires investing your own money in addition to a ton of time and effort. Despite the appeal of being your own boss, the reality is that not everyone is cut out to be a successful business owner.
Here are five quick personality assessments to evaluate before taking the entrepreneurial plunge:
Are you Santa or an elf?
Entrepreneurship requires managing a wide variety of tasks as part of the business, from marketing and accounting to training, customer service and more. Can you wear multiple hats, as Santa does with Christmas, or do you prefer to be the elf that loves to execute specific tasks? Do you take initiative or do you want clear instructions? Santas make better entrepreneurs than elves do.
What's your relationship with money?
Starting a business requires money to start, to operate and for you to live on while it scales. If you are a big spender and aren't great at managing money, those bad habits are likely to follow you into a business. And if you are usually unable to make worthwhile investments in the future of your business for fear of ending up living in a cardboard box if things go wrong then you may end up penny wise and pound foolish, as they say. Having a solid, non-emotional money relationship will help you make wise business decisions.
Are you comfortable flying blind?
The only thing that is certain in business is that nothing is certain. Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable? Can you handle taking educated risks and surviving the constant ups and downs of owning a business? If you are looking for the certainty or a drama-free zone, you may find yourself terrified of the entrepreneurial roller coaster.
Are you ready to commit?
Running a successful business is not just about having great ideas. It's more about strong execution. So, if you have a hard time staying focused, you are lousy with commitments and you're averse to the idea of working day in and day out on the same thing, then entrepreneurship may just be a passing fancy for you.
Carol Roth is a Chicago-area business strategist, deal maker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a former senior executive with the investment bank Montgomery Securities in San Francisco (now Banc of America Securities) and a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Were you born for business?
Were you interested in business as a child? Did you seek out entrepreneurial roles in school, in social organizations or even in your previous job? A natural inclination of past interest in entrepreneurship seems to be a good potential indicator of future success.
Think you're cut out to be an entrepreneur? Or are you still unsure? Take this informal quiz to see how your answers compare with the popular profile of today's successful entrepreneurs.