Not sure whether you are cut out for starting your own business? Don't worry, you have company. Most people have dreamed about launching their own venture at some stage of their lives but the majority do not even take the first step.They are held back by a number of reasons. Some fear that if their business does not succeed, they could lose the investment they make. In many cases, that's their entire life's savings.
Others think they are too old. In fact, even if they overcome one argument that is keeping them back, they think of another one to stop themselves from taking the plunge.
Age is definitely not a factor to consider before getting into business for yourself. An article titled, "Entrepreneurs Get Better with Age" in Harvard Business Review says, "The average age of a successful entrepreneur in high-growth industries such as computers, health care, and aerospace is 40" and "Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25."
Colonel Sanders started the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of restaurants when he was 65 and Takichiro Mori, who built a real estate empire worth $13 billion, made his first investment in property at the age of 55.
Try it out
So what are the traits that you need to become a successful businessperson? Do you need a hypercompetitive nature? Is it crucial to be a self-starter or have great people skills?
Many of those who throw up their jobs and make it on their own, certainly do have some combination of these abilities. But everyone who has these attributes does not become an entrepreneur.
Seth Godin, the author and entrepreneur, says, "Studying entrepreneurship without doing it ...is like studying the appreciation of music without listening to it."
The only way to really find out whether you have what it takes is to start your own business and get a first-hand feel of entrepreneurship. Of course, this is not to suggest that you launch on a big scale right away.
Devote a little time each day, make some small investments in the field of your choice and see if you like the experience. If you have an eye for color and furnishings and are contemplating a venture in interior decoration, start by meeting someone who is in the same profession. While you may have the ability to furnish a room beautifully, do you know how to attract customers? Where will you source accessories from? Can you make an estimate for doing a job? Do you have a list of sub-contractors whom you can engage?
The process of finding answers to all these questions will give you an idea about your capabilities. You will realize that becoming an interior decorator requires you to have many skills in addition to the ability to make a room look pleasing to the eye.
If you are able to actually take up an interior decoration project for a customer, it will give you a genuine basis on which you can decide whether you are cut out for entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs also need to dedicate long hours to mundane tasks like accounting, filing tax returns, complying with local, state and federal laws and doing different types of administrative work. Keep in mind that none of these tasks are related to your core business and they don't get you any new customers. But you have to make the effort to complete them anyway.
Still not sure whether to make a start? Maybe this piece of advice from Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, will help.
"If you are the kind of person who is waiting for the 'right' thing to happen, you might wait for a long time. It's like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green for five miles before starting the trip."