Independence means different things to different people. For me it means having the flexibility and freedom to do what matters most in the current moment. When I started my professional career more than 20 years ago, I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. I often tell audiences I am an “accidental entrepreneur,” but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Little did I know while working in Corporate America, I was setting myself up with the skills and experiences necessary to thrive as an Entrepreneur. Now I know everyone has a different path and Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but since I get so many requests about this topic, I thought on this Independence day weekend to share with you some questions to see if Entrepreneurship is truly your path to freedom.
1.) Can you handle uncertainty? The only constant on the Entrepreneur’s journey is change. Are you comfortable with change, do you manage the unknown well, can you manage the pressure and risk of leading a business with employees, customers, vendors, contractors and the like? If these thoughts scare and excite you then entrepreneurship may be the right path for you.
2.) Do you have a support network? Even the most successful “solopreneur” has a team behind them. You see Entrepreneurship is a team sport. It is important that you have an existing support network who believe in you and your dreams. See, there will be hard days and when they come, someone will need to be there to encourage you. If you know the kind of venture you would want to start make sure you are building a support network in your field. There is the classic saying that you are like the five people you spend the most time with. BEFORE you venture out, find some successful Entrepreneurs to connect with on an ongoing basis so you can make the shift from employee to owner.
3.) Do you have a plan? An idea is the only thing that ever changed the world. Now an idea without a plan is simply a dream. If you will self fund your business, you may not need a business plan, but you certainly need a strategic plan. A good tool that could serve you well starting out is the One Page Business Plan. You can find several great templates online. The sooner you clarify your plan the more successful your launch will be.
4.) Are you financially prepared? Preparation in this case looks different for everyone but here are some things to consider. Do you have enough in liquid assets to run in the business and pay your personal bills for the first X number of months? I recommend at least a year but it depends on your risk aversion. Have you designed and protected the business with your exit strategy in mind? At some point you will either close or sell the business and each requires asset protection that looks different. Make sure you know when you will be taking a salary from the business. You should be paying yourself some portion of every dollar earned or at least have an idea of when in the first year you will be earning a salary.
5.) What lifestyle are you really trying to create? When my mother was living, my parents would say I was always working even when I was on vacation. Truth is, I live an integrated lifestyle which means there are business days when I am taking care of personal matters and there are personal days where some portion of the day is spent on business. Take today for instance, we are on a family vacation and I woke up early to write this and do some other work on the beach before our day gets started. It is important that you are clear about the lifestyle you want to create so you can design your business to support your lifestyle not the other way around. Far to many people don’t start a business, they simply own a job. Be clear about which path you are taking and do the research necessary to make sure Entrepreneurship is the parachute you always hoped it would be. Know that it may take months even years of hard work before you achieve the lifestyle of your dreams.
Want some support to make this decision? Feel free to schedule a complimentary consult to decide if entrepreneurship is the path for you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get you all set up.