1. Are you the kind of person who does what you say you're going to do?
I think most people assume that their creativity makes them a great entrepreneur, but the ability to produce new ideas can often times hinder your ability to run a successful business. If every time follow ups, sales calls, and financial decisions need to be made, you're drafting up plans for a brand new program that you think will change the world, you're going to be hit with hard realities and struggle to keep your business alive (always).
Although creativity helps when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place in your biz, it's self accountability that really determines your success as a business owner.
If you're the kind of person who says you're going to start a hard core workout routine tomorrow, and you half ass it for 3 days before giving up and eating brownies while watching Netflix for ten hours, entrepreneurship is not the right move for you.
As an entrepreneur, you're going to have to wake yourself up every day (there's no schedule laid out by your manager that you have to get into work for), do the tasks that are 20% what you want to do and 80% the least fun things on the planet (there's no routine set in stone by previous employees and no other staff members to support the forward movement of a project), and say no to more things than you had to when you had a "real job" (there's no set schedule and it's tempting to let that mean I'll just sleep in until 9am, drink coffee nice and slow, and do the things that call out to me today).
As appealing as all those perks sound, they also affect how much your business grows and whether or not you make it past the struggle bus stage of owning your own business.
Notes: You can cultivate the skill of self accountability, but the time to do it is now (right where you are, with what you're currently doing), so that you have the skills you need to do what needs to be done, no matter how much you want to sleep in until 9am or just go on another vacation.
2. Are you good with money?
I cannot stress the importance of good financial management enough.
If you're a spender, and it's infrequent for you to sit down and budget out your savings and expenses, please, for the love of god (or aliens... whatever the eff is out there), don't be an entrepreneur (or at least spend a boat load of energy learning to manage money well).
I cannot tell you the number of people who manage their business finances like a personal bank account - when they receive a client payment, they spend it on groceries, pay their rent, get their nails done, and buy plane tickets. And guess what? 14 days later, they're broke again and need to sign another client.
Your business income is not your personal income.
Until your business can afford to pay you a salary, it's important to have another source of cash to lean on - maybe it's the money you've saved so you can spend two years growing your business, maybe it's a spouse who is on board with you focusing on the business for a while, or maybe it's a side job that helps you pay the bills while you get some financial consistency in your business.
If you're relying on your client payments to pay your rent in 3 days, it's time to reevaluate whether or not this is the route for you.
Look at business financial management as a skill, and start cultivating your ability to manage money like a true boss.
Good financial management (having a budget, paying yourself a salary or hourly wage, keeping business and personal expenses separate, knowing what you need to do to bring in additional income, saving for hard times, preparing to hire staff, etc.) will float or sink your business, and most entrepreneurs I know are in the middle of a lake floundering for their lives.
If this is a skill you know you need to cultivate in order to keep your business moving forward, I recommend Wealth Coaches such as Liza Witonis, Financial Planners such as Brittney Castro, and books such as Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman and The E Myth by Michael Gerber.
3. Are you ready to make this your life or just a hobby?
I think back to when I first started my business, and I remember getting excited about the ability to make my own schedule, have my opinions valued, create income that didn't have a limit, travel whenever I wanted to... there were so many things I thought that entrepreneurship would bring to me. Has it?
Hells-to-the-yeah. Entrepreneurship has given me the freedoms mentioned above - I've traveled the world, if an opportunity pops up, I can almost always say yes and take part in it, I can build something that has only my name on it, I've made a lot of money... There are so many things entrepreneurship has given to me. BUT...
All perks have come with a price.
Not always a financial price (though, I've definitely done my fair share of financial struggles), but I have found it difficult to manage being a business owner with all the other things life has to offer. It's tempting to want to be outside on beautiful, sunshiny days and think, "I'll just do that project later tonight!" But, the reality is...
Making your own schedule can often mean mismanaging time and losing track of what you started.
There's no 5pm stop time when you own your own business.
So for all the jobs that end at 5pm and you have 5:30-10pm all to yourself, hours can often be filled with making up for lost time, putting finishing touches on a project you thought would be done six hours ago, and tweeking your website for easier use and higher conversion rates.
It's not uncommon for me to jump out of bed at 11pm, open my computer, and act on an idea that pieces all the projects I'm working on together (creativity does not obey work hours, I find).
So, as a final question, it's important to ask yourself if you really want your work to be your life (although it may not always be that way, the truth is, the first handful of years require a lot more attention than a regular 9-5 job), or if you'd rather allow this skill (maybe you're a photographer, a writer, a coach, a graphic designer, a healer) to stay contained within the spare hours you have, after your other job ends.
This article, after reflecting back on it, may sound like I'm being a total Debbie Downer and don't think entrepreneurship is the way to go... and, in many ways, I do think 80% of the people who currently run their business or are about to quit their job and start something should seriously reconsider whether this is the life for them or not. However...
I also want to give you all the truths so you can get honest about whether or not running a business is the move that will truly provide the life you want.
All decisions come with benefits and downfalls, so it's not about picking the one with the fewest crappy aspects, but it is about choosing the route where you'll face benefits you enjoy so thoroughly that you're willing to face the downfalls too.