4 Questions to Ask Before Taking the Entrepreneurial Plunge Starting and running your own business is one of the hardest things you can ever do. Make sure you're ready for the challenge.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Being an entrepreneur isn't just hard, it's really hard. Your days and nights, or more so your entire life, are dedicated to developing a business that you know in advance is highly likely to fail.
The reality is 80 percent of new businesses crash and burn within the first 18 months, according to Bloomberg. I believe that, more often than not, failures come as the result of people not being set up or prepared to leave behind stability for chaos.
Am I suggesting you shouldn't go for it? Absolutely not. Rarely in your life will you have the chance to create something from nothing, while walking away from a career that is built around making someone else rich -- or richer. Even if you do fail with your first venture, the education that you will receive from that failed opportunity will dramatically increase the likelihood of success in your next.
Before you take the plunge, you should make sure that you are properly prepared for the inevitable skydive that is entrepreneurship. After all, if you're going to jump, you should do everything possible to make sure your parachute is properly packed. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself:
1. Are you comfortable with absolutely zero structure? As I said before, entrepreneurship and nearly all processes involved are at some level of complete chaos. It will be your job to wade through the madness and organize products and processes that generate value to whomever you're selling to.
Are you the kind of person that doesn't do well unless you're executing a process that someone else created? Sorry my friend, entrepreneurship is going to be incredibly difficult for you.
2. Do you have financial stability? It often takes a long time to get a new business to the point of generating enough revenue to pay yourself, which can take years, and if you're not financially comfortable with this, it's much more likely that you will give up before your business has a real opportunity to work.
Financial stability can come in many forms, from a spouse that carries a steady job, a solid personal savings account, starting up while keeping your day job or maintaining extremely low personal costs. Whatever your situation is, you must maintain financial stability to have a reasonable chance of success.
3. Are you entering new territory? With innovative companies such as Arkenea Technologies, creating a new mobile app can be done for a fraction of what it would have cost even five years ago. This is great for those that are using these types of technology to expand current businesses, but it can be dangerous for the inexperienced that are jumping into the space because even if you position yourself correctly, the likelihood of success is, well, highly improbable.
Instead of jumping on the "I'll just make an app and get rich" bandwagon, start a business in a space that you are highly experienced in, then create an app to expand and grow it.
4. Do you change jobs every two years? I'm not passing judgment here, but I am going to make a statement that probably won't shock most. People that jump around from job to job often have a difficult time dedicating themselves through the hard times.
The issue here is that entrepreneurship requires an unbelievable amount of focus and dedication over years, and it's hugely important that you determine whether you're capable of dedicating yourself through difficulty, which will be plentiful, for at least five years. Sure, you may get out earlier, but understand that building a business is a seemingly never-ending uphill battle, until it's not, so do everything you can to prepare yourself -- and your family -- before jumping out of the plane.