by Tim Mercer, ForbesBooks author of “Bootstrapped Millionaire: Defying the Opportunities of Business”
With COVID-19 causing layoffs and increasing employment uncertainty in 2021, many people are considering new options, reinventing themselves, or trying to decide whether it is more desirable to work for themselves than another 9-to-5 -Find a job that may not last.
Entrepreneurship brings a lot of freedom, responsibility, and risk, and before people commit to taking this big step, they should ask themselves some important questions.
Entrepreneurship is a career that offers a kind of freedom and personal satisfaction that simply cannot be got from a traditional 9-to-5 job. You will never know if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur if you don’t take the leap of faith and see it for yourself.
However, it is a big decision that involves many factors and inherent risks. There is much to navigate and endure on the road to your dream goal of professional and financial freedom, and many simply fail because they simply weren’t up to the challenge.
People thinking about entrepreneurship should ask themselves these five questions first.
1. Why do you want to do this?
Let’s be honest If it’s all about us, we want to give up on ourselves when things get difficult. Your why, what your purpose is, has to be much bigger than you are. You have to believe in a vision of why you want to be an entrepreneur and develop a plan for how to involve others in your vision. Sustainable entrepreneurship requires other people’s efforts. Be sure to write down your “why” and hold it in front of you to remind you when difficult times come.
2. Are you realistic?
One can get carried away with the emotion of starting a business, but Mercer says it is vital for any potential entrepreneur to have realistic business ideas in the first two years of startup.
Answering this question before you open it can prevent some unpleasant surprises as you are trying to build your business.
3. Do you have daily discipline?
You are the boss and only you can hold yourself accountable. If staying at work or staying motivated is difficult for you and you think being an entrepreneur is a quick ticket to the easy road, then entrepreneurship is definitely not for you.
4. Can your relationships survive the victims?
The time it takes to set up your own business and run it efficiently goes far beyond a typical 9-to-5 job. Relationships can suffer. All entrepreneurs need to understand that they will be forced to make sacrifices on a personal level with their family and friends. You need to stay focused without your commitment to your entrepreneurship affecting your relationships with those you are closest to. Communicate with them and have mutually aligned expectations as you build the business.
5. Can you withstand the fighting?
Rejection and failure are realities that new entrepreneurs need to get used to and overcome. You need to understand how many times you fail before you can succeed. You are constantly being rejected by potential customers and your self-worth is checked daily. Is your why strong enough to keep you going?
Overall, the decision as to whether or not you are an entrepreneur boils down to how comfortably you feel uncomfortable. Only time will tell if you have the skills and capabilities of the people and companies to be a successful entrepreneur, but you can be assured that you will face periods of real discomfort.
Tim Mercer is the founder of IBOXG, a company that provides technology services and solutions to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. He is also the ForbesBooks author of Bootstrapped Millionaire: Defying The Odds Of Business. Mercer was inspired to pursue a career in IT as a consultant after joining the U.S. Army as a telecommunications operator.