My wife and I took our grandsons to see, “School of Rock” on Broadway last weekend. There is one line in the show that struck a chord with me: “Not everyone is cut out to be a rock star, but if you are, then you’ve got to go for it.”
What struck me about that line is how it directly relates to business and my coaching practice: “Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, but if you are, then you’ve got to go for it.”
In my mind, there are two types of entrepreneurs; active entrepreneurs and everyone else who has a job. In other words, we are all entrepreneurs. The days of two-way company/employee loyalty for 30-40 years is gone. No more gold watches and fancy retirement parties. Like it or not, we have become a society of “Me, Inc.” We are our own bosses.
But how do you know if you are cut out to be an active entrepreneur? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Am I comfortable with an erratic schedule? Do I have good time management skills? As an entrepreneur, you likely won’t be working 9-5. As you gear up, 10-12 hour days are not uncommon; you’ll spend your time networking, blogging, researching, and marketing. You will need to work on your business every day.
- Can I afford it? You need a safety net. It can take up to six months or more to start to see a steady income. Depending on the terms of your contracts, clients can take up to three months to pay.
- What could I do? Two ways to go here:
- Skills and Talents: Evaluate your current career/work situation. Are there any skills that you can take and parlay into a business?
- Passion: Hobbies: many people have used their talents and created successful companies from their love of baking or knitting.
- What are my strengths and weaknesses? While it might be painful, ask your friends and family. They will give you some good insight regarding how you are with people, taking initiative, or seeing a project to the end. A word of caution here, do not let family and friends dissuade you from pursuing your dream. Also, don’t underestimate self-assessment tools – such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® or the DiSC which can provide self-awareness.
Assuming these items don’t scare you, what’s next?
- Plan. Our philosophy at ActionCOACH is to start planning as early as possible. Most businesses grow organically, without planning. Often, that leads to problems down the road.
- Research. Talk to other people who are already doing it. You need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. Arm yourself with as much information as possible. Additionally, there are many excellent books that address entrepreneurship as well as your area of expertise. Never stop learning.
- Get all necessary certifications. The cost of the schooling may be tax deductible.
- Start small. Get the word out with friends and family about the service(s) or product(s) you are offering. Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools.
- Don’t wait until you get laid off. Lay the groundwork as soon as possible.
- Most important, hire an ActionCOACH to help you write a business plan, outline goals, and be the most effective president of “Me, Inc.”
Even if you decide you do not wish to be an active entrepreneur, it is necessary to take most of the steps outlined above to succeed in your career.