Many people dream about starting their own business or being their own boss. Especially after a bad day at the office, quitting the 9-to-5 and starting your own gig becomes a more attractive alternative.
But wanting to start a business and actually being ready to start one are two different things. You may feel ready to throw in the towel at your day job and take the plunge into entrepreneurship but are you really ready for the challenges of running a young business?
In this article, I want share five questions you should ask yourself to find out if you’re really ready to leave your job and start a business.
Question 1: Why do you want to start a business?
Starting a business with the right reasons can mean the difference between persisting or giving up when times get tough. If money is the biggest reason you want to start a business, you will find it difficult to persist when money becomes tight.
Another popular reason why people start thinking about starting their own business is because they’re tired of their jobs. They start fantasising about how great it would be if they were their own bosses.
While being your own boss solves the problem of having a bad boss, it also introduces a whole other set of problems that might be worse than having a bad boss.
Or perhaps you want to start a business because you want more free time for yourself. While it is possible to create a lifestyle business that will generate money for you in your sleep, it often takes more than setting up a website and expecting people to buy from you automatically.
For most people, starting a business means less, not more free time.
Question 2: Do you already have a tested business idea?
Do you have a business idea that solves real problems? Or do you have one that sounds and feels sexy but isn’t something anybody would pay money for?
Before you consider leaving your job to start a business, make sure that your business idea has already been validated. This means that people are willing to pay you money to help solve their problems.
You can test your business ideas by finding and talking to your potential customers about your business idea. If you can get at least three people to pay you a deposit or full price, then your idea will likely have a higher chance of becoming a long term business.
Question 3: Have you talked to entrepreneurs who are running businesses similar to the one you’re running?
Talking to entrepreneurs who are already in the business can help give you a realistic view of what it might be like when you’re running your own business. By talking to people who are already in the business you will realise how most of the assumptions you make about the business are unrealistic.
Reach out to entrepreneurs and invite them out for lunch or coffee. Go to events or conferences where you can meet with entrepreneurs in your business area.
You can even search online for entrepreneur interviews. Having an insider’s point of view will help you decide if you really want to take on the business.
Question 4: Are you ready to put at least 4-5 years of your life into your business?
New businesses often require a lot of your time and attention. Most of the time you will be able to see significant profits or growth after a few years of focused attention and commitment into your business.
If you are not ready to put in at least 4-5 years of your life in a business, it’s a sign that you’re not ready for that business. If you are only in the business to make a quick buck, you are probably starting the business for the wrong reasons (see question 1).
Question 5: Are you ready to make sacrifices?
Promoting your business, finding clients, answering client requests and actually doing the work required to keep your business alive takes a lot of time.
In most cases it means you will need to make sacrifices on your lifestyle. This may mean taking less vacations or forgoing nice gifts for yourself in order to devote more time and money to your business.
Are you ready to make these sacrifices? Especially when you are used to getting a fixed pay check from your day job it can be difficult to give up the lifestyle that you are already used to.
Many entrepreneurs I know have not been on vacations in the last three years so they can focus on their business. Would you be willing to make a sacrifice like that for your own business?
Question 6: Who’s with you?
The truth is that most businesses fail because there is only one founder. While most people think they’re good enough to do everything themselves, they are usually better off paired with someone who can compliment their skill set.
Having a partner who shares the same vision as you will help keep you accountable and help you carry on when times get tough. Moreover, having another person look at the business allows you to make less biased decisions.
Do you have someone who you can build and grow your business with? If you don’t, it’s probably time to look for one.
Wanting to start your own business and actually running your own business are two very different things. While the fantasy of starting a business may be appealing from the outside, the truth is that the life of an entrepreneur isn’t what you see on the news.
Contrary to popular belief, starting a business usually starts off as a labour of love and doesn’t make you an instant millionaire. To be able to persist as an entrepreneur you must start your business with the right reasons and be realistic about what to expect in the journey.
Other than that you will also need to ensure that your business idea is able to solve a real pain. This way you will more likely be persist and be able to reap the rewards of your business instead of giving up halfway.