Always wanted to be an Entrepreneur? To be your own boss? Love the idea of having all the freedom to do what you want and when you want it? Whilst many people relish the idea of controlling their own destinies, the whole idea of being completely self-reliant can fill many with dread.
We have put together 5 top tips to think about when deciding if this really is the right route for you.
Be Honest With Yourself – Are you really an Entrepreneur?
The face of the workplace is changing. The rise of the digital age and changing working conditions mean the number of people classed as self-employed is at an all time high. Does this mean we have more budding entrepreneurs than ever before or is the very nature of employment changing?
With the rising cost of the minimum wage, pensions and employee benefits, many companies are turning traditional employee roles into self-employment opportunities. Uber, for instance, is built upon a network of self-employed drivers across the world. This allows the company to successfully scale up their business very quickly and at minimal cost with maximum capital efficiency. But is every driver an Entrepreneur or simply an aspiring employee who doesn’t have the full time secure job they really want available to them?
Circumstance or Drive?
For many, circumstances dictate their employment status rather than it being based on a calling. There is a huge difference between being a self-employed contractor and an entrepreneur, building a business from scratch. Be honest with yourself, do you want to quit the day job because;
- I want to earn more money
- I’d like to work fewer hours
- I’m after an easier life
If an easier life or simply more money is the goal then becoming a contractor rather than employee might well be the answer. Alternatively, if you want to go down the entrepreneurial route and start a fully fledged business to achieve an easier life then stop now! The cold hard truth that every person that has built a business will tell you is that;
- You make less money, to begin with
- You will work longer hours than you thought possible
- Life will become harder not easier
That guaranteed paycheck for simply ticking the boxes on a job description no longer exists. Having a bad day and not performing 100% isn’t an option. Will you earn enough money for food and pay the mortgage? Does that sound scary or does it sound thrilling? Be honest with yourself because trying to be somebody you are not will ultimately lead to some of life’s most painful lessons. If you aren’t honest with yourself, the people who will see it fastest will be your customers.
It’s Not About The Money
Almost without exception, nearly every successful entrepreneur will tell you that their success was never about the money. To be successful means putting in long hours; facing challenges; making difficult decisions; running just to stand still. To drive you successfully through these challenges your passion has to be for more than money. You need to love and believe in the business you are starting up. You need to believe that you are making a real difference. A belief that you are doing something, or delivering a service that your customers need. Even more importantly you need to believe that you are the person they need to deliver it. Passion and belief will drive you further than money ever could.
Jack of all Trades
You will very quickly learn to start a business from scratch and on a budget means you will wear many hats. You need to become everyone to everybody. From director to bookkeeper to sales person to marketer and cleaner, you will become them all and have to change between the roles very quickly.
The more naturally curious a person you are the more easily you’ll adapt to these ever changing needs. “I don’t know how” needs to become “How do I?” to be successful.
Knowing what to juggle and when is key. As is, knowing what you should and shouldn’t take on yourself. Although you will turn your hand to many different tasks, some areas are best left to experts. If you don’t have a financial or accountancy background securing the services of an accountant would be a very wise choice. What if you have an online retail business and require a stock ordering system? You have three choices; Utilise an off the shelf solution; Hire a software developer; Learn to code software from scratch! As a business owner, the decision to what answer is right for your business is yours to make. Normally the right answer is a trade-off between Time, Cost and Quality.
Running your own business, employing people, renting or buying premises is never risk-free. You have to be open to taking calculated risks to move forward and grow. The trick to growing safely and securely is knowing how to calculate risk and then taking the right risks. You need to understanding the consequences of getting the calculation right or maybe even wrong. Calculated failure is a great way to learn. The most successful people built their success on a strong foundation of learning from their failures.
(Why not click here to read our article on “Risk Appetite: The Do’s and Don’ts”)
We all know somebody who tries to convince us they would have been the next Bill Gates or Richard Branson. If only they had had the money to start their business. Or, if they just get one more qualification. “I just need one more piece of equipment”. “One more year’s experience then I’ll be ready”. You don’t win Entrepreneur of the year by waiting for the wind to change. The reality is that all of these things are excuses. If you really do have drive, passion and belief then you don’t need to wait for “one more” anything. If the desire is strong enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen and happen now.
The whole question of whether you are a true Entrepreneur comes back round full circle. Be honest with yourself, is it just an excuse?