In the world today, there seems to be an ever-present yearning for entrepreneurship. “Be your own boss” and “Become an entrepreneur to fulfill your dreams” are a few of the common phrases feeding the narrative that setting up and running your own company is to be seen as the final goal as opposed to a 9-5 job.
From this perspective, people often see themselves as cogs, lifelessly working in someone else’s machine. However, like many things in life, it’s all relative.
Gainful employment is definitely not something that should be disparaged in any way because it offers consistent pay and stability; stability to save, make investments and plan for the future. A 9-5 job also offers structure that is often important for personal development within certain fields. Numerous renowned individuals have worked their way up from “cogs” to technocrats within their respective industries through a 9-5 job.
On the other hand, taking the leap to fly solo and become an entrepreneur also has its benefits. You are in full control of your time, your earning potential (on average) is higher and most importantly, you are doing what you want to do. Entrepreneurship helps you meet people who you probably would not meet under normal circumstances and achieve new levels of self-awareness.
You really have to dig deep within yourself to get the singularity of focus needed to continuously pursue your long-term goals. Apparently, there are positives on both sides of the spectrum, solely depending on what perspective you choose to take. You can learn more about some common misconceptions people have about entrepreneurship here.
The Big Question
For a better part of the year, I have been speaking to people about entrepreneurship and found that the decision to either stay in a 9-5 job, venture into entrepreneurship or shuffle between both is quite tricky for a lot of people. I have heard people ask various questions when trying to make this decision and one of the most common ones is:
“How do I know if I am cut out to be an entrepreneur?”
In this article, I will address this question and walk you through the process of figuring out if entrepreneurship may be on the cards for you.
After years of studying numerous entrepreneurs and their paths to success, I believe that successful entrepreneurship comes down to two key things:
- Personality traits
Elaborating on Willingness
There is one common factor that all successful entrepreneurs have in common and I believe that this factor is the fundamental determinant of entrepreneurial success. That factor is willingness; willingness to do the work required to succeed. It is also known as GRIT.
This may seem quite simple, but the honest truth is that a lot of people would like to be successful entrepreneurs but they are not wholeheartedly willing to do the tedious and initially thankless work required to achieve entrepreneurial success.
This willingness typically comes from a deep-seated fervor to solve a problem or satisfy a need that you and others have, not from money. Money is usually not a strong enough motivator in the long run. Searching for your source of ‘willingness’ will require a few hours of introspection but if you are able to find a need/problem that will fuel it, then you have the core requirement for entrepreneurial success.
Explaining Personality traits
Although ‘willingness to do the required work’ is the core requirement to be a successful entrepreneur, your personality traits are also important. Your personality traits will go a long way to determine how smooth or bumpy your entrepreneurial journey will be.
I developed a simple 2-minute test that will outline whether you have some of key traits that aid entrepreneurial success.
The test contains 20 statements and it simply requires you to respond with a ‘yes’ (this is me) or ‘no’ (this isn’t me), but it is important to be honest with yourself while taking the test – the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
Take these two-minute tests
- I don’t like being told what to do by people who are less capable than I am.
- I constantly look for new and better ways to do things.
- I love challenging myself.
- I have to win (I am competitive by nature).
- I like being in control.
- I love to question conventional wisdom.
- I like getting people together to get things done.
- People get excited by my ideas.
- I am rarely complacent.
- I am action-oriented.
- I can usually work my way out of a difficult situation,
- Whenever there is a problem around me, my first instinct is to think of a solution and not just avoid it.
- I am motivated by challenges – I see them as opportunities to improve and not as hindrances.
- I work tirelessly.
- I recover from failure quickly.
- I worked after school and during vacations when I was growing up.
- I am more likely to ask for forgiveness than for permission.
- I get an adrenaline rush from selling things to people, even if those things are ideas.
- I constantly reach for new achievements.
- I don’t give up easily.
If you agreed with 17 or more of these statements, then it means you have a lot of the basic traits that aid success in entrepreneurship. If you have less than 17, don’t be discouraged. A lot of the traits required for successful entrepreneurship can be learnt along the way.
For instance, Mark Zuckerberg was not the best at public speaking or expressing himself when he first started Facebook, but now, he comfortably conveys his thoughts to thousands of people at a time.
If you have the willingness to do the work required and personality traits to go with it, you should definitely check out our MSME category for tips, information and tools to help you embark on your entrepreneurship journey because there is a good chance that you are cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Updated on July 18, 2019: This story was previously published in 2017, and has been revamped for public education.