Do you have what it takes to start your own business?
Can you support yourself?
There are many practicalities that may inhibit your ability to start your own business. If you’re planning making your endeavour a full-time job from the get-go, you will need to have enough savings to cover your living expenses.
Opinions vary on how much is enough – if you’re transitioning from a part-time business to a full-time business with your market already established, you’ll likely require only 6 months’ worth of savings to keep you afloat. If you’re building your business from scratch, having 18 months covered will give you a year to establish an income flow, and 6 months padding in case things don’t work out.
Being able to support yourself as you start your own business is more than having all financial bases covered. You have emotional needs that need to be taken care of. Many first-time entrepreneurs find it incredibly valuable to have a mentor that they can turn to for advice; an experienced voice can keep the drive going.
Do you have more than just an idea?
Ideas have no value by themselves; everybody can cite that one idea that “will make them millions”. By nature, you will believe in your ideas, but value is something that is determined between people. Getting another person to believe in your idea is a true test of your ability, and the idea itself. Moving an idea from your head into reality is no easy feat – you’ll have to negotiate moments in which your enthusiasm wanes and you consider abandoning things. It’s in these times that you’ll need the encouragement of others, as well as a reserve of resilience to push you through to success.
Moving an idea into fruition requires patience. The entrepreneur must be able to meticulously plan the development of their business. They will have to wear many hats – bookkeeper, project planner, sales – and will have their time spread thin. But they will know too that every moment that seems futile is in the service of the idea, and making their dreams reality.
Are you empowered by the idea of deciding for yourself?
You’re going to be making a lot of choices as an entrepreneur. Very often, you’ll be making decisions that have uncertain outcomes – hiring this person, trusting that supplier, chasing those leads. In many situations, it’ll pay off to know as much as you can. If you’re considering renting an office space, you should know whether you can afford it, and whether having the office will add something to your business. But to be an entrepreneur is a risk, and you’ll need to be ready to roll with an indefinite future.
The freedom that entrepreneurship brings comes at the cost of being the one at which the buck stops. Your success will, ultimately, be your own responsibility; and it takes a certain character to have that level of self-confidence.