Taking the leap into entrepreneurship is no easy feat and many aspiring entrepreneurs need to do some self-assessment before they decide to move forward. Besides asking yourself the obvious questions like “Am I ready to fail?” or “Can I handle risks?” aspiring entrepreneurs need to figure out if they’re ready for the rocky road ahead of them.
Many participants for our signature program, Change Ventures, often contemplate the entrepreneurship route. Choosing this path does not come easy and it’s ultimately one of the biggest changes you can make in your lifetime. From a steady, reliable job to the open waters of entrepreneurship, we guide our participants to ask themselves six questions that will help determine if they’re ready and prepare for their journey ahead.
Why do I want to embark on this journey?
It’s a simple question, but depending how you answer can make all the difference in whether or not you’re successful. Is this something you are truly passionate about? Will this endeavor make you happy for the long term? Is it aligned with your greater purpose and vision for the world? Uncovering whether this new venture will enable you to make the impact you want or to simply build a business around a hobby is a critical starting point to uncover your why and readiness to embark on this journey.
Am I certain that my current or alternate jobs can’t fulfill these objectives and desires?
Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Oftentimes, you feel under-challenged or you feel like you’re not your true selves at a current position. You believe the next step is to go out on your own. List out what you like and dislike about your current job. What aspect(s) of your job excite you and where do you excel? Dig deeper to identify your core strengths and what drives you. What’s missing from your current job and have you taken proactive measures to try and fill the gaps at your current job? Are you seeking out other opportunities? If you’re still set on becoming an entrepreneur, you may be on the right path.
Which of my skills and assets would enable me to pursue a path of entrepreneurship?
Starting out as an entrepreneur often means you’ll be by yourself as you build and start your business. Assess your current skills and personal traits to understand how they can help you along the way.
Questions you might ask yourself.
- Do you find yourself taking the lead in team projects?
- Are you driven by purpose or a strong desire to solve, fix or improve things?
- Do you lose sleep ideating possibilities or ways to make things better?
- Do you have a strong background in finance or marketing or business development?
- Are you self-disciplined?
- Do you work well independently and as part of a team?
- Do you have the tenacity to keep going in spite of nay-sayers?
Do I have a support system or network to help fill the gaps?
Think about your current networks that can help you fill in the gaps for skills you don’t currently have. Our networks are made up of our friends, family, organizations we’re a part of, colleagues, and mentors. Develop a list a list of people you can reach out to for help, and even more importantly, those who can give you emotional support or guidance. Entrepreneurship is a lonesome journey, so having a support system is key.
- Consider both on and offline communities and how you can tap into the knowledge, experience and practice areas they offer.
- Identify experts and influencers within your networks who can lend weight and credibility to your venture and/or your capabilities.
What would be the next milestone? How much time can I give myself to achieve the first one?
Timelines are crucial to help guide your goals and milestones to ensure you are on the right track. From concept to creation, what is your timeframe? How important is it to stick within that timeframe.
Depending on your venture, these timelines are critical to meeting your milestones. Once you’re up and running, set the next milestone – whether it’s customer growth, revenue growth or brand awareness —to keep you on track. Remember to think about your personal situation and goals in parallel with your business objectives. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for yourself as well as your venture so it is equally important to ensure you can sustain yourself financially and physiologically during each milestone.
Do I have the financial means or a financial plan for sustaining myself during this time frame?
Leaving your cushy full-time job to embark on entrepreneurship requires you to have a financial plan so you can sustain yourself during your next venture. Map out how much will you need to sustain the essential bills– groceries, utilities, rent or mortgage, car insurance, clothing, and for how long. These bills need to be paid and having a financial plan in place is crucial to avoid stressful situations with personal finances.
Entrepreneurship can be one of the most rewarding journeys we embark on. But it’s not for everyone. Asking these questions and preparing ahead of time are crucial to ensure you’re ready for the adventure ahead.