Entrepreneurship is not for everyone.
It’s not for the person who thinks a 40-hour workweek is a busy week. It’s not for people who can’t stand change. It’s not for people who lack drive and motivation when they’re working for themselves.
And, that’s okay.
We need people who aren’t entrepreneurs in this world.
Before you invest time and money into getting your business off the ground, I recommend that you get really honest with yourself.
Only you know whether or not running a business just sounds cool but isn’t the day-to-day life that you want to live.
It might sound nice to have a respected blog with thousands of readers, but if you don’t love to write or create videos, you probably shouldn’t start a blog. You might like the idea of being the boss but can’t get going in the mornings without deadlines imposed by someone else (and three Red Bulls that erode your stomach lining). You might think an Instagram following of 300,000 sounds like a dream but you don’t want to learn how to take beautiful photos or ever have to sit down and read your camera manual.
Reality is often different than perception. Do you like the reality that comes along with running a business?
Answering the following five questions will help you figure out whether you should go for it or stop before you ever get started.
1. Do you REALLY want it?
About half of the emails I receive from people who want my advice or help with something follow this pattern:
“I really want to do x but y and z are in my way.”
Some examples: I really want to start my own photography business, but I don’t have the money to buy the equipment. I really want to start a blog but I don’t know where to start and I have three young kids so I don’t have a lot of time. I really want to start a life coaching business but I suffer from chronic fatigue and I don’t know if I’ll run myself down.
If you’re in this type of situation where you want to start a business but you’ve got reasons why you don’t think you can, I’m going to tell you something that might hurt your feelings. You’re not special.
We all have reasons why we can’t, but some of us want it bad enough that we overcome those excuses and do the work anyways.
Do you want it that bad? Are you willing to face your excuses head on and build a business despite them?
If you don’t REALLY want it with every fiber of your being, you’ll probably give up when you hit a rough patch and I promise you that you will hit many rough patches.
When you really want it, you’ll keep going when you’re on day sixty-five of your website redesign and you just want to drown in a bucket of mint chocolate chip. Or when you kid is projectile vomiting and it’s launch day. Or when it’s your day to publish a blog post and you’re still staring at a blank screen. If you don’t really want it, that’ll be your last excuse to give up.
2. What are you doing it for?
Please don’t tell me that you’re blogging because you want to become famous or that you’re posting to Instagram because you want 100,000 followers. There are so many people online who are adding to the noise. The main reason they’re tweeting or posting videos on YouTube is because they want more followers.
You’ll get easily lost if that’s what you’re doing this for.
There needs to be so much more to it.
I don’t publish a blog post every Wednesday to get more readers. That’s not the purpose. If it was, I wouldn’t put in nearly as much time and I’d use scammy techniques to get people to click like click bait. The reason I publish weekly blog posts is to help the women who follow my blog build successful businesses around the lives they want to live. I want to help them for free. I want to share my knowledge and expertise with others who are just starting out or struggling to reach their business goals.
Those reasons keep me going when I’ve got a temperature of 102 degrees and still need to edit my blog post before publishing.
So think very carefully about why you want this before you start.
3. Are you ready to work harder than ever before?
There are people out there selling programs like ‘Six Figures in 30 Days’ and other nonsense. I say run in the opposite direction.
There is no magic pill or one strategy that’ll help you make loads of money and keep your dignity.
If you care about how you make money and aren’t willing to scam people, you have to work hard.
Overnight successes aren’t real. That person that seemed like she built her business overnight probably worked for years before that point.
Building a successful business isn’t easy. I won’t lie to you and sell you a fairytale. If you’re not up for the grind and if you don’t have the grit, don’t start a business.
Hustle has become this evil term, but if you’re truly afraid of hustling your buns off to get your business off the ground, you have no business becoming an entrepreneur.
There’s nothing wrong with you if the idea of blogging every week, building an email list, posting to social media every day, connecting with others in your niche and learning to take beautiful product photos sounds like a nightmare. It just means this probably isn’t the path for you.
4. Are you willing to look silly?
Most people will admit that they’re willing to fail. But, often they mean without others seeing it.
They don’t want their friends from high school to know that they’re latest product line completely flopped. They don’t want their family to know that they had to pick up a part-time job because they’re business isn’t profitable yet.
And, they certainly don’t want to do anything that their friends, coworkers and family might make fun of.
That’s why they don’t go all in when filming videos for their websites. That’s why they don’t talk to their spouses about attending a business conference titled Rich, Happy and Hot Live. That’s why they don’t tell anyone about their blogs.
If you’re serious about building a successful business, there are going to be times that you embarrass yourself.
You might blank out in the middle of a speech at a conference live streaming to thousands of people. You might say something you wish you could take back at a networking event. You might blush when a friend from college says that she read your blog and wonders how you can possibly make money from that.
Taking risks often means risking embarrassment. You can’t build a business worth having without either of those things. So, are you willing to look silly to reach your dreams?
5. Can you adapt?
This is the question that lots of people don’t think about until it’s too late. Something that will help you out more than most anything else in building a business is adapting.
The entrepreneur who refused to leave MySpace to join Facebook because hundreds of people were following her on MySpace is currently regretting it. Taxicab drivers who put down Uber are probably wishing they could have a do over. That shop owner who wouldn’t move from sending out physical mailers to email marketing is cursing herself for it now.
Things are constantly changing and if you fight change every step of the way, you’re going to find your business crumbling around you.
You have to move with what works and what your market wants.
You can’t refuse to have a business Facebook page when all of your customers are on Facebook and want to follow you there. You can’t build a website that isn’t mobile-friendly when everyone is glued to their phones. You can’t denounce email marketing when email is the one thing that pretty much every single person checks every single day, multiple times a day.
If you’re not willing to adapt, you shouldn’t become an entrepreneur. You’re just setting yourself up for frustration and heartbreak.
I know this post is a bit harsh, but it’s necessary.
If you’ve honestly thought about all of these things, then you’ll have a much better idea of whether you should start a business or spend your life doing something else.
Neither is the right answer. It depends on what you want out of life and how you want to fill your days.