You’ve come to the conclusion that entrepreneurship is your true destiny. Hopefully you’ve taken the time to assess what you’re truly passionate about, and you’ve validated this with a personality type testing tool (like Myers Briggs). If you want to maximize the probability of entrepreneurial success, you’ve hopefully also identified a problem for the industry related to your passion (and come up with a novel solution for this problem, or at least a better solution than any that currently exist in the industry). Before you make the leap into entrepreneurship, I’d recommend you do one additional thing. Ask a diverse group of people in your network what they think about you, and what about you they believe sets you up ideally for entrepreneurial success (to see if they see you, the way you see yourself).
Validating that others see you as an entrepreneur is important, because the excitement of starting your own business can blind someone from the reality of what it means to truly be an entrepreneur. For instance, when you work for someone else, you typically have a limited range of responsibilities that you are expected to perform well. What you don’t take into consideration are the myriad number of responsibilities being performed by the collective group of employees working for whatever company that employs you. As the founder of an entrepreneurial enterprise, you are responsible for making sure that all of the responsibilities in the company that employs you, get performed well in your entrepreneurial venture (without the benefit of having all the staff that your current employer can afford to have on their payroll). Not only do you have to make sure that all these responsibilities get performed well, but every day is going to require you to spend the bulk of your time overseeing a different responsibility. For example, today you may have to spend the bulk of your day preparing for a presentation for a prospective new client, while tomorrow you may need to spend the bulk of your day brushing up on the company financials for a meeting with your banker about a line of credit for your business. If your network tells you that you don’t like to take risks outside of your comfort zone, you’re not going to enjoy being an entrepreneur!
Successful entrepreneurs can easily tell you what they intend to achieve with their business, how long it’s going to take, and can tell you the precise path they’re going to take to get to where they want to go (this doesn’t mean the path won’t change along the way). What these entrepreneurs understand, is that building a business is the opposite of reading a book (you start at the end first, then reverse engineer your way back to the beginning). Successful entrepreneurs are able to navigate the path to achieve their goals, because they have the ability to laser focus at any given moment on the one task that will have the greatest impact on moving their business forward (while filtering out the surrounding noise of all of the other less impactful tasks demanding of their time). If your network tells you that you get distracted easily and they find it difficult to list a number of your enviable accomplishments, you’re not going to enjoy being an entrepreneur!
There are also two traits that you will find in any successful entrepreneur. Go on a long walk with any successful entrepreneur, and ask them to tell you every entrepreneurial idea that comes to them during your walk. Don’t worry that they may be afraid to divulge their intellectual property to you. They understand that if you’re not an entrepreneur, you wouldn’t be able to implement what they tell you anyway! I guarantee any true entrepreneur will be able to list a string of ideas, longer than the amount of time you have to hear them (and these ideas will be inspired by everything they see and hear during the course of your walk). A second trait that you will find in any successful entrepreneur is a belief in their ideas, so rabid that they would be willing to go homeless in pursuit of their entrepreneurial idea. Insight from your network will make it easy to spot whether or not you possess these two characteristics. If your network has never accused you of either being a little crazy and/or having attention-deficit disorder, you’re not going to enjoy being an entrepreneur!
If you found this article helpful, please share it with other entrepreneurs in your network. If you have questions about anything in this article, or would like my insight on a question about any aspect of the entrepreneurial process, please connect with me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/thinkbigwithgeoffreykent/). I also believe that 50% of entrepreneurs fail within 5 years, because they lack the resources to properly execute their vision. Leveraging what I’ve learned over a 40+ year successful entrepreneurial career, I’ve developed a methodology to help entrepreneurs build their unique customized strategy for responsibly scaling exponential business growth. To gain access to my 7-week online course, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs through the exclusive “Think Big” Facebook group, regularly communicate with me, and gain access to my extensive professional network, connect with me on my course page (www.thinkbigwithgeoffreykent.com/).