It’s hard not to be intrigued by entrepreneurs.
The men and women who say goodbye to the security of a paycheck for the path of small business ownership make up the backbone of the American economy. They control their own destinies, knowing whatever success they have is for their own benefit. They know no boundaries, empowered by the thought that their opportunity for success as a business owner is limitless.
But how did they know they were meant to be entrepreneurs?
In his book, Born, Not Made, co-author James V. Koch argues that entrepreneurs have certain characteristics that separate them from the pack. They are good at dealing with uncertainty, have a high tolerance for risk, deal with ambiguity well and are very self-confident. Self-confidence and a healthy risk tolerance are certainly important traits for a small business owner, but once we’ve identified those characteristics in a candidate, how do we know when the time is right to transform from an employee to an entrepreneur?
As a franchise consultant, I’ve counseled more than 2,000 candidates for entrepreneurship, helping them decide if it’s time to strike out on their own or remain in the job market. In the early stages of consultation, we engage in self-discovery to get a feel for which direction they are leaning. Here are six indications they are ready to become an entrepreneur.
1. I’m ready to do my own thing.
Promising entrepreneurs don’t just have this thought now and again. They say it out loud and early in the consultation period. It may seem obvious, but feeling this way now and again when you're frustrated at work isn’t the same as announcing it to someone who is in a position to make it happen. They are declaring a course of action, and it won’t be the last time an entrepreneur will need to show that kind of resolve.
2. The pay isn’t worth it.
Have you ever looked at your salaried position and determined what you are actually making per hour? Entrepreneurs have, and they find it sobering. Most people are stunned when they realize what they’d be getting paid if they thought of their salary in terms of hourly wages. Entrepreneurs want more and realize the only way to take complete control of their earning potential is to start their own business.
3. I want more control of my time.
Aspiring entrepreneurs realize that it’s hard to take charge of your time when others control 40 to 80 of your hours per week. Entrepreneurs work a lot of hours -- often more than they did in their day job, initially. However, when it’s their business, they make the ultimate decision of when they’ll be working and what they’ll be doing.
4. I’m tired of my job but not ready to retire.
Entrepreneurs are productive people. They are driven by a need to contribute to society but are disillusioned with their their lives as employees. The idea of spending the rest of their lives sitting on a beach isn’t appealing, but neither is the prospect of punching a clock for one more day. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to continue working on their enterprise well into their senior years. Not because they have to -- because they want to.
5. I want something to leave for my family.
Entrepreneurs love the idea of legacy. Inspired by the thought of building something that will remain in place for their heirs, they envision a business as a means to secure their future while enriching the lives of future generations. Entrepreneurs often have a deep sense of commitment to their families and see building a business as a way to ensure their prosperity for years to come.
6. I’m excited for what’s next!
Most people fear change. Entrepreneurs embrace it. They are more likely to get a knot in their stomach facing another day in a dead-end job than they are from the unknown possibilities of leading their own company. Budding entrepreneurs approach career crossroads with courage and enthusiasm, ready to take the next step toward a better life for themselves and their families.