What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur
Many do not appreciate what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Vision is not enough. Entrepreneurship is often a hazardous enterprise full of deviations and complete failures. Nights spent working on plans that never reach fruition and funds and customers that never appear to form the backdrop of most entrepreneurs’ daily reality. The challenges of launching a new business are so substantial, it’s amazing that anyone does it!
Nonetheless, each year, entrepreneurs take on these trials, driven by the determination to see their ideas come to life and satisfy a need in society. Entrepreneurship can take the form of, for example, launching a start-up, bringing a novel service or product to the market or opening a physical store, but regardless of the type of endeavor attempted, very few will make it in the long, or even short term.
How can we explain why some people choose to confront the challenges and repeated failures of entrepreneurship and others don’t? While everyone has their own unique motivations pushing them forward, there are five key elements that alone or in combination drive entrepreneurs.
Most entrepreneurs find the idea of being their own boss very attractive. They enjoy taking the lead and being in charge of their objectives, progress and business processes. The responsibility for failure or success is theirs alone, but rather than being intimidated by this, they see ultimate responsibility as an indicator of their much-valued independence.
A lot of people inspired to launch their own businesses, services or products, will have a strong sense of purpose. They know what they want to achieve and are prepared, even compelled to strive ceaselessly to see their vision realized. They have an unshakeable commitment to their objective and are convinced that they have identified a service or product that addresses a clear need in society. Failure is far less frightening to them than inaction.
The nine-to-five workday isn’t for everyone. Entrepreneurs often value flexibility in their work-life and the ability to work when they want, where they want and according to a process that suits them. Typically, this means working longer rather than shorter days, particularly when starting out, but an entrepreneur’s ability to work when the mood strikes, unrestrained by the deadlines, tick-box procedures and meetings that litter most workplaces, makes it all worthwhile.
Of course, a lot of people are attracted to entrepreneurship by the possibility that they could make some serious money. However, typically, they do also realize that it can take a lot of time and hard work to get there. Some may be seeking a windfall by launching the next hit product and others may be more concerned about creating a financially secure environment for their families or just themselves.
Some seeking to make a name for themselves as entrepreneurs are looking well beyond their own lifespans. They want to make something that will guarantee them a long-lasting and celebrated legacy. There is often some ego at play here and a desire for fame, but others may be interested in creating an ongoing income stream for future generations. Importantly, the desire to secure a legacy can also be underpinned by the desire to create something that meaningfully enhances people’s lives and is of enduring value.
So, do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? Before you attempt your own entrepreneurial initiatives, reflect on the above motivations and which may be driving you. It’s important to be honest with yourself and consider whether you share those characteristics that keep entrepreneurs pushing forward in the face of constant difficulty.