Deciding to start your own business is likely one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. And it can make you the happiest person in the world or the saddest, based largely on whether you’re ready for it.
So, if you’re contemplating making the move from working a steady job with steady pay into the often chaotic and completely unpredictable world of the self-employed, you’re going to want to ask yourself these four very important questions before you do anything:
Question #1 – What do I have to lose by starting my own business?
This is likely the question that will keep you up at night and stop you from pursuing your dreams if you let it. Starting your own business is scary enough, but when you realize what you have to lose if it doesn’t go well, it can take you to the point of absolute terror.
The rationale behind why you should ask yourself this question isn’t to feed your fears, but rather to get you to address them in a way that can help you determine the reality of your situation. In other words, it is to help you see that sometimes what you have to lose isn’t as bad as may have initially thought.
For example, when I was deciding whether or not to pursue self-employment, I feared failing and winding up on the street – literally. I could picture myself in a cardboard box holding out an empty soup can for spare change to anyone willing to walk by.
However, when I really thought about it, I knew that it would never get that far as I had created a financial cushion before I made the jump. Plus, I wasn’t afraid to work part-time to supplement my income if need be. Realizing this put my fears into perspective and helped calm them before they got too big to handle.
Now, could you lose a lot if you start a business and it doesn’t make it? Sure. But with proper planning, you can minimize the damages and set yourself up as best you can.
Question #2 – What do I have to gain?
Although the first question is the one that may hold you back, this is the one that makes you want to shoot forward. Answer this and you will identify the very things that will keep you motivated enough to continue long after you want to quit.
Is it the self-defined schedule that you would like most, allowing you to attend all of your kid’s sports game, or the unlimited income potential? Maybe you love the idea of calling all of the shots or doing things your way? Make a list of these reasons and keep it handy because if you do decide to become self-employed, you’ll want to refer to it often to keep yourself going when times get tough.
Question #3 – What strengths do I possess that will help me succeed?
In order to succeed at being your own boss, you’ll have to utilize your strengths so that you are the best that you can be. These will be the things that you are naturally good at or enjoy that will help you promote your business and take it to higher levels.
Maybe you’re a top notch salesperson and can get most anyone to buy anything, or perhaps you’re very organized which will allow you to run a business that is stable and sturdy. Come up with as many personal strengths as you can so you know where you can draw the most advantages from when taking the leap to own your own company.
Question #4 – What are the weaknesses that I must overcome?
In addition to knowing your strengths, it is equally as important to know where your weaknesses are. These are the areas that you are either going to have to work to develop or hire someone who has them to make up for where you lack.
For example, are you the type of person who struggles with time management and has a difficult time meeting deadlines? If so, you want someone on your team who is super organized and can help you make sure nothing everything is calendared. Or, is public relations not your strong suit so you’d do better off hiring someone who can easily speak to your future clientele?
Knowing the answers to these four questions can help you determine whether or not you’re ready to start your own business. There are no right or wrong answers, so just be honest and answer them the best you can.
If you’re ready, you’re ready. If you’re not, you’re not. Either way, it’s best to know before you make the leap.
Good luck to you either way!