The idea of becoming your own boss is appealing enough that it doesn’t even need elaboration. Who wouldn’t want to be the top gun who gets to call the shots?
Despite the known perks, not everyone will jump into entrepreneurship, and rightly so. It takes a very specific type of person to flourish as their own boss, especially with its high entry barrier and likelihood of failing.
And this doesn’t say bad things about the people who won’t do well as an entrepreneur, merely that they have different skillsets and interests in life. Conversely, entrepreneur-types may not necessarily flourish in other fields either.
But if you have ever entertained the thought of starting your own business, you might want to make sure that you’ve purged yourself of these character traits.
1. You’re Not Willing Or Able To Wear Many Hats
We all know of at least someone like this. When they’re working under someone’s thumb, they’re excellent employees. They are light years beyond what their contemporaries are doing and their focus is commendable. They’ve taken the time and effort to master that one skill.
But when they branch out to build their own business, they crash and burn. Why would that happen?
The truth is, if you’re a one trick pony, you’d best reconsider entrepreneurship because leading your own company involves playing at least 5 different roles, packaged in one person. As an entrepreneur, you are a spokesperson, an accountant, a leader, a marketer, a problem solver and often, the face of your brand.
If you’re not willing to learn new skills on-the-go, multitask and handle multiple responsibilities, then perhaps the life of an entrepreneur isn’t for you.
2. You Don’t Like To Take The Blame
A lot of doing business is apologising for things that you personally didn’t do. If a company manages to grow big, you’re going to find yourself taking the heat for stuff that you may not even realise was happening.
Take the Uber situation in America right now.
Sure, Travis Kalanick did have a large role to play in Uber’s current crisis, but not everything can be laid at his doorstep. However, it’s all about shouldering the blame and burden when the chips are down.
Your employees need to feel like you have their back, and any investors or the public need to feel like you’ll hear their complaints or critiques. And if you genuinely do make a mistake, like a misstep in your calculations it it is especially crucial for you to step up and own up to it.
3. You Want A Clear Progression Path
The sought-after entrepreneur success story always boils down to one narrative line: You’ll hear about how many times they’ve fallen flat on their face and how they kept going.
Entrepreneurship isn’t like levelling up in an RPG. If the structured corporate environment that allows you to plan your climb up the career ladder suits you best, you might struggle as a boss of your own company.
Doing entrepreneurship for 2 years does not guarantee you a certain amount of profit. You could be hiring furiously to keep up with product demand, only to lose of that demand and now have too many staff under you. You could end up selling your business, or pivot into something completely different and have to start all over again.
4. You Fear Failure And Its Implications
Everyone faces failure at least once in their lives, but as an entrepreneur, it hits you even harder than any other. If you fail, you’re going to take everyone down with you.
This may mean employees losing their jobs, investors losing their money and customers not getting what they want. And that’s huge responsibility and possible guilt that you’ll be taking on.
Or maybe you feel your identity is jeopardised when you are not a success in the eyes of the world. That’s a valid fear, but if you feel that failing invalidates your position in society, you might want to skip entrepreneurship.
5. You Like To Play It Safe
This is perhaps the most basic on the list. Risk is part and parcel of entrepreneurship, and might as well be included in the Entrepreneur Starter Kit.
Even from the get-go, any prospective startup founder has to contend with the oft-quoted statistic of how 90% of startups fail.
And this is all about opportunity. You miss 100% of the opportunities that you don’t take, but many of those do not guarantee any returns. And this choice will probably come up time and time again, when you’re running a business.
Of course, taking risks doesn’t equate to entrepreneurs just jumping headlong into shark-infested waters without looking first. It means considering that risk, and taking steps to minimise the potential impact of that risk. But if you’re not even going to grab the chances that come your way, you might as well not own a business.
6. You Want Work-Life Balance
For entrepreneurs, their business is their life. As we covered on our ‘Dating Startup Entrepreneurs‘ article, having a business means that not even your love life will escape the absolute vortex of entrepreneurship. There is no such thing as leaving the work at the office and clocking out at 7.00pm.
Any socialising in a bar is now an opportunity for you to meet potential business partners, but you’ll probably be scrambling to even find the time for that. If a business-threatening bombshell appears late in the night, that’s your whole evening gone as you sit to mull over damage control.
But even on a normal day, it’s go-time all the time, and you have to be ready to put everything you have into work, even if it means sacrificing sleep, weekends and family time.
7. You Prefer Following Orders
Some people just need to be told what to do, and even thrive in delivering exactly what they are told to do in perfect detail.
For these types of people, if they are not given a clear guideline or a direct order that they can complete, they find themselves lost and unsure what to do. This leads to many emerging companies failing because they are not willing to tread away from the beaten path to deliver anything new.
If however you enjoy innovating and you see solutions where others see problems, then perhaps you do have the potential to strike out on your own.
8. You’re Not A Natural Leader And You’re Uninterested In Cultivating The Skill
Some schools of thought believe that leaders are born, but this is of course not true. It does however, take a lot out of a person to cultivate that leadership quality, especially if you’re naturally not confident when taking the pole position.
Being a good leader as an entrepreneur is extremely crucial because everyone is banking on your vision and direction to get to where they need to go.
You have to be able to rally the troop when it counts. As an entrepreneur in the beginning stages, you’ll have to ask everyone under you to put in a lot more than what they’ll be getting back in the short term. And they have to feel like it’s worthwhile.
What other traits will make someone unsuitable to be their own boss? Let us know in the comments.
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