If you're like many people, you often fantasize about handing in your notice at your corporate job and starting the business you've been dreaming of for years. Although the life of a successful entrepreneur can be fulfilling and exciting, it also typically involves negative aspects with the potential to seriously decrease your quality of life. For instance, you'll say goodbye to evenings, weekends, holidays, family outings, sleep, and the security that comes from having a steady paycheck and a traditional routine. In return, you might just make it as an entrepreneur and join the ranks of those who believe that the sacrifices they made on their way to the top were worth it.
No one should start a new business without considering everything that may possibly go wrong and without giving the matter a substantial amount of serious thought. Following are just six of the many questions you should ask yourself if you're thinking about starting a business.
Are You Willing to Take a Significant Financial Risk?
Those who quit their jobs to start their own businesses run the risk of ending up with nothing. Sometimes, just the thought of losing it all paralyzes fledgling entrepreneurs to the extent that they can't effectively manage their new businesses. If you aren't temperamentally suited for the inherent risks involved in being an independent business owner, you may be better off sticking with the security of a corporate job.
Do You Have Trouble Making Decisions?
Private business owners need to have superior decision-making skills. If they don't, they run the risk of being left in the dust by the competition as industry trends evolve and change. Those who have trouble making decisions often end up doing nothing and causing their businesses to stagnate as a result of their inaction.
Do You Suffer From Depression or Anxiety?
Those who suffer from depression or anxiety don't necessarily have to cross starting their own business off their bucket list. However, if you experience one or both of these conditions, consider getting therapy for the purpose of developing the tools you'll need for managing them while simultaneously dealing with the emotional and mental demands of owning and operating a successful business.
Do You Shoulder Substantial Personal Obligations?
If you've got a mortgage to pay and a spouse and family to support, you may be better off waiting until the children are out of the house before moving forward with your business plans. Starting a new business involves considerable financial risk, but it also takes precious time and energy away from family life. Keep in mind that the time business owners must spend to find new customers takes time away from all other activities.
Do You Wear Several Hats With Ease?
Starting your own business means you'll need to be prepared to handle every role involved in business operations. Sometimes, this means mopping the floor, washing the windows, and cleaning the bathroom. At one time or another, you'll find yourself pinch-hitting for every cog in the wheel of your business — often on the spur of the moment when an employee fails to show up for work.
Do You Often Act on a Whim?
If you have a tendency to act on impulse, you should work on learning how to curb it before making a solid commitment to owning and operating your own business. Many entrepreneurs have lost everything as the result of acting on the wrong whim at the wrong time.
Keep in mind that even though starting your own business may not be in the cards at this point in your life, it still may be a viable option at a future date. For instance, perhaps your children will be grown and out of the house in a few years, and you'll have more time and money to devote to nurturing your business. It could also be that you're emotionally and mentally ready to go out on your own right now but need to save up enough start-up cash to ensure that your business has the best possible chance of thriving.
Another scenario is that owning and operating your own business really isn't the best option no matter where you're at in your life. Although being your own boss definitely makes good daydreaming material, the reality is often quite different from the dream.