Do You Have What it Takes? Not everyone is cut out to be their own boss
I recently saw on the news that the recession has prompted more and more people to go into business for themselves.
In the automotive, newspaper, banking industries and many others, the story is the same. The jobs Americans thought would always be there no longer seem so secure.
The end result is that many employees feel working for themselves may provide a more secure financial future in the long run than staying with their long-time employers.
Not everyone, however, is cut out to be in business for themselves. I’ve identified some common attributes of successful entrepreneurs as I’ve started several companies of my own over the past decade.
First, they value a sense of independence. Entrepreneurs like being in control of their own income, schedule and destiny.
Right after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Utah, I went to work for Landmark Education. This international company specializes in ontology, the study of what it takes for human beings to achieve personal growth and fulfillment.
Inspired to seek my own path after four years with Landmark, I took a year to backpack around Europe. When I returned to the United States, I became a regional manager for a financial services company and developed my own company to help teachers plan their finances.
Once I found out what it was like to have control over my income and schedule, I found that I liked driving the ship. The immense amount of freedom that gave me was exhilarating.
Like many entrepreneurs, I was not put off by the risk involved. It is that same entrepreneurial spirit that’s pushing many long-time employees to move out of their comfort zones and into their own businesses.
About 10 years ago I started working as an independent consultant in sales and marketing. I was able to use the most valuable skill I had learned, the ability to really listen to others. This is a top tool for success for anyone who works in sales and especially for those who work for themselves.
Over the years I have started several companies, including Blue Kangaroo, a technology company that develops products for sales and marketing. Our products include PressKit247, a program to create online press kits, and PitchRate.com, a new online tool to connect journalists with the most qualified expert sources.
I love the freedom of working for myself and the ability it gives me to live anywhere I want. Splitting time between the mountains, the coast and the city has been a great fit for my partners, my family and me. High speed Internet allows us to work virtually from any location.
That of course is another major consideration you must weigh when deciding whether to start your own business. How will your spouse and children adapt to the always demanding world of self-employment?
As your own boss, you must be able to motivate yourself. If you work at home, you have to be able to put aside distractions and focus on the tasks you need to accomplish. It is not always easy and requires discipline.
There are many other considerations you must weigh. Do you have the skills for your self-employed career? Talk to people in the field you plan to pursue, as well as those who know you well for candid answers.
Do you have a financial plan for getting started and for growing your business? Are you willing to sell and market your business, knocking on doors and cold calling if necessary? And do you like keeping yourself informed of the latest trends in your field?
The bottom line is you must be passionate about the service or product you provide. As your own boss, there is no place to hide.