Browsing on the internet recently, I ended up at a quiz entitled ‘Are You A Natural Entrepreneur?’ which got me thinking.
I don’t know about you, but for me the word ‘entrepreneur’ is weighed down with assumptions about what is actually means and in my case, these are mostly negative assumptions.
How about you? Does the thought of being an entrepreneur excite you or make you want to run a mile? What is the picture you have in your mind when you read the word 'entrepreneur'?
The quiz I came across asked 5 simple questions. I had a hunch before I started as to what my answer to the 'Entrepreneur’ question might be, but I decided to take a look at the quiz anyway.
Here are the 5 questions they asked:
Well, my answers were as follows
Oh no! Disaster! Here am I running my own business and yet I am clearly not very ‘entrepreneurial’ according to this quiz. Does this means I should give up and get back into the world of employment as soon as I can?
Actually, no it does not mean that at all, I am pleased to say.
I think this quiz highlights one of the common misconceptions that people struggle with when they begin to think about giving up their job and setting up their own business. It is all tied up with how we interpret a loaded word like ‘entrepreneur’ – and we all interpret it differently, of course!
So how does the ‘E’ word feel to you? Do you hesitate to go down the path of self employment because you think you are not an ‘entrepreneur’?
Well I say, don’t let that word put you off!
Let’s look at each of these questions in turn.
1. Do you love reading stories about how businesses start and learning about entrepreneurs?
What kinds of life stories fascinate you? For some it will be A-list celebrities while others will be inspired by the likes of Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. These are all very well, but they are so out of reach for most of us in terms of what they have done that they can actually feel intimidating rather than inspiring.
So look a bit further.
If you are exploring the idea of self-employment, who can you use as a role model who feels like they are within reach of where you are? Who do you know who is running a smaller scale business successfully? When you are getting started, you only need someone a couple of steps ahead of you to keep you believing in yourself and your business idea.
2. Before you were old enough to get a real job, did you think up little businesses you could start?
You don’t have to have to be born with an entrepreneurial gene to make a success of running your own business. If you are a natural ‘ideas’ person, that’s great, but actually you only need one good idea to get you started. Indeed, sometimes the ideas people struggle because they can’t settle and focus on one thing for long enough to make it really work. You will need a lot more than ideas to make your business work and it may be that you bring the systematic and organised approach that will keep a business afloat while the ideas person has crashed and burned.
3. Are you not afraid to ask questions and you love to learn new things?
This question is essentially about curiosity and I do think this will make a difference to your success in business. If you gave up learning when you left school or University and have not picked up a book or been on a course since, you need to know that you will be facing a steep learning curve once you set up on your own. You will need the skills to work on your business as well as in your business. Are you up for this? I find I am much more active in developing myself and learning new skills than I was when I was employed – and I love it! Are you willing to invest time and effort in learning new things to support your fledgling business idea? Then go for it!
4. Are you busting with ideas and always looking for ways to improve how something works?
The implication here is that you will need a constant stream of new ideas to survive in business. Yes, that helps, but ideas can come from many sources. Obviously you need a basic idea to start with, but use the brainpower of others to grow and shape your idea to the point that is looks viable and then continue that process as your business grows. It is back to the curiosity word again. You do need to be willing to regularly review your progress and if Plan A is not working, then be comfortable with the idea that you may have to adapt and change it a bit. Having too rigid a concept of what your business idea is all about may hinder you, but if you are willing to try new ideas and learn lessons from failures then you can still be successful.
5. Would you rather colour outside the lines or start with a blank page?
Entrepreneurs are typically seen as innovators, always challenging the status quo and looking for new ways of doing things. But not every business has to be ground breaking. Many businesses offer services that exist elsewhere with perhaps a slight tweak in terms of a different target market or geographical location. You can be successful doing something mainstream so you don’t have to sit around waiting for the inspired off-the-wall idea to strike you. Follow the role models who feel 'right' for you, just keep learning and retain an open minded curiosity so that you can review your progress and spot the opportunities to grow your business.
So don’t worry if you also fail the ‘natural entrepreneur’ test. It doesn’t mean you are condemned to be an employee for the rest of your life. If you have got the germ of an idea that you would like to try, just apply a bit of curiosity and commitment and you could be up and running!
"It doesn't matter how many times you fail. It doesn't matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because... All that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you
how lucky you are."
~ Mark Cuban ~
The 4-Hour Work Week
This is actually a very practical book that shows you the steps to take to create a work/life balance to die for.
Tim shows you how you can set up a business that allows you to operate from anywhere in the world and generate a significant income without working all hours. He has done it so he is speaking from experience.
But that doesn’t mean it offers an easy quick fix answer. You will need to look closely at your own mindset and attitude to work and be ready to make radical changes. Are you ready to let go of the need to be the one with the hand on the tiller all the time? Automation is central to the 4-Hour Work Week model. Is it for you?
Read the book to find out!
With best wishes for your career change success
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