There are a lot of reasons people go into business for themselves.
You’ve heard all the common sentiments. They want to stick it to the man. They’re sick of office politics. They aren’t getting paid what they’re worth. They want to make their own hours, be their own boss, write their own ticket, build their own dreams.
No doubt, these are all great reasons to go it alone. But they aren’t completely sufficient in themselves and simply having a few reasons like that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re built for the long, relentless road of business ownership. These common reasons may be good prompts early on, but surprises come and things eventually change.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. There is a definite mindset, a sort of DNA that seems to run through the veins of those who make it. It’s hard, it’s scary, rife with letdowns and seasons of dark doubt. That said, it is the path for some. The only path.
It’s for the bold ones who have an insatiable appetite for risk. They love the rugged terrain of the unknown. Here are 7 ways to know if you’re a true entrepreneur.
You have a product or service that solves a problem.
You bring something to the table that people need or want because it solves a problem for them. Small cleaning companies have the potential to grow into national franchises because dirt is a problem for a lot of people. Someone somewhere thought, “I can take care of that for people. And it’ll be worth every penny they spend for my services because I’ll do it exceptionally well.” Guess what. If you run that business right, it’ll grow. Your business will only go under the day dirt cleans itself.
You have what it takes to run a business.
Continuing on with the cleaning company example. It’s one thing to be able to clean a kitchen; it’s another to run a business. We all know Sally. She she started a cleaning business, but never managed to graduate from toilet brushes. She has what it takes to get a few customers but she doesn’t have the mind of an entrepreneur. At least not yet. Sally basically built a “job” for herself, but she never really made the transition into full-fledged business ownership because she hasn’t taken the right steps to grow it.
You have a sacred obsession for success.
It’s all you think about. You may work 40 or 50 hours a week or more, but let’s face it: Your mind never stops working. You’re always thinking about growing it. And other people don’t get that part of you. They think you’re crazy. They worry about you. But whatever. You’re wired for business growth and success and you don’t give a rip about what any other single human on earth thinks about that. You have a made-up mind to succeed and grow your business. And you’ll wade through a sea of blood to make your business dreams come true. See, for you, it’s a sacred obsession. It’s your moral responsibility to succeed. Your business is no elective; it’s a required course. And your dreams will come true because you said so. That’s all there is to it. That seems to be the disposition of true entrepreneurs. It’s who they are. They can be no other.
A true entrepreneur has unshakeable hope.
Politicians sell hope. But to you hope isn’t a commodity that anyone else on the earth can give. To you, hope isn’t merely optimism; it’s the certainty that something makes sense. And being an entrepreneur makes perfect sense to you. It makes perfect sense for you. So you stopped waiting on someone else to give you hope or the illusion of “job security” — whatever that is. You are hard-wired to be an entrepreneur and IT WILL WORK OUT because it’s your destiny and that’s that.
A true entrepreneur isn’t afraid of competition.
It’s like a crowd running from a bear. You don’t have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun the others. Competition jacks you up and you love it. But this isn’t a game for you. It’s your life. It’s win or die. In fact, you aren’t satisfied to merely compete because you have this internal need to dominate. So you go hard and you go long and you do everything it takes to subdue the competition.
A true entrepreneur gets over the fear of sales.
Just getting started? You probably don’t have a sales team. Yet. Until you do, you are the sales team. Say it with me: I am the sales team. Like it or not, sales is the lifeblood of your business. But this isn’t a sales JOB for you because you don’t do jobs. You realize that sales is business and business is life. And because you believe in your product or service, sales becomes a natural extension of the true you and it’s not an act. In fact, sales is the most authentic thing you can do. You can be real because you really believe that you have the best widget in town. You have your elevator pitch down and you’re ready to offer it anytime, anywhere. Closing deals comes especially easy because you aren’t selling just anything. You’re selling the reason you get up so early.
A true entrepreneur is a lifelong learner.
A lot of successful entrepreneurs never finished college. Or even high school in some cases. Some successful entrepreneurs can’t even spell entrepreneur. But that doesn’t mean they ever stopped learning how to grow their business. They’re always ready to learn something new, whether that’s reading or listening to audiobooks or taking courses or having a coach or a consultant (or both) to help them along the path to growth.
Do these traits describe you? Then you are well on your way. And please listen, when I use the metaphor of DNA, I’m not saying these traits can’t be learned, because many people do learn them. Many people have backed into entrepreneurialism through sheer desperation. They had nowhere else to turn and they became entrepreneurs out of a complete place of desperation. They may not have always had the mindset of a business owner, but they do now and they’ll never turn back.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Mark Jay Scott is the founder of GrowMyLocalBiz.com. Mark is an entrepreneur who handles web management, content creation, and SEO for many websites. Mark has been a writer and speaker for nearly 20 years, formerly as a radio personality for a major market FM station in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region where he produced and hosted two weekly programs, Real Life Matters and Essential Radio. Today, as an entrepreneur and business consultant, Mark loves to help people succeed by motivating them and showing them practical ways to grow and keep their productive edge in life and business.
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