So you want to be your own boss, huh? Set your own schedule, make all the rules, sail your own ship, and, come the end of they day, be like Sinatra and say, “I did it my way.”
Well, you’re not the only one. Millions of people chase the “my business, my way” dream every year, and, sadly, the great majority of them fail.
It’s not because they aren’t bright, or didn’t read the right books. It’s because they just don’t have the mentality for it.
If you’re thinking about running your own business, do a bit of soul-searching before you plunk down your hard-earned cash on seminars, workshops, or how-tos. Even if you follow an exhaustive checklist of best practices, if you don’t have the personality required to run your own business, when the going gets tough–and it will at some point– you will fail.
Here are three questions you should answer honestly before taking your dream one step further:
1. Are you willing to be called crazy?
Because people are definitely going to treat you like you are.
I don’t mean crazy as in certifiable, wandering the streets with a jarred goldfish tied around your neck, declaring the end of days. I mean crazy for bucking the status quo.
Most people are risk-averse when it comes to gambling their financial future on the very risky dream of a doughnut shop, a dog treat bakery, or, in my case, a software startup. Routines are a big part of our existence and many people find safety and comfort within them. If you’re not a risk-averse person, you’ll single yourself out for ridicule and skepticism by the majority who are. Oh, and if your startup struggles, expect that sentiment to only get worse.
I started my business when I was just out of college, engaged, with no savings, living in a busted-up old house with mushrooms growing on the shower floor. Seriously. I told my dad that, despite all this, I still had a passion to run my own business. He replied with the obvious: “You’re broke, you’re about to be the head of a household–one that’s falling down around you–and you want to start a what? You’re crazy!”
Crazy indeed. But sometimes you have to be or you’ll never get started. Instead of shirking from that label, I embraced it. Thirty years of blood, sweat, and tears later, I’m the CEO of Patriot Software, Inc., a multi-million dollar company that helps other passionate entrepreneurs chase and realize their own crazy dreams.
The point here is, if you’re not ready to be called nuts for chasing your dream, you may end up doubting yourself to the point of backing down or bowing out. An entrepreneur has to have an iron will and a thick skin. Do you?
2. Are you willing to work harder than everyone else and NOT get paid for it?
Slogans about outworking the competition have become cliche. You can find them everywhere, from marketing offices to locker room walls. They’re supposed to instill a sense of drive and inspiration, but they only work because we inject them with the following assumption: if we outwork everyone else, we’ll be rewarded more than everyone else.