Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur. After all, you're in total control of your career path, you have a flexible work schedule, and your salary is a direct reflection of your efforts. With automation tools, outsourcing platforms, digital marketing channels, and turnkey e-commerce options that are affordable and accessible, it's never been easier to start your own enterprise. Thanks to the internet, you have the potential to reach audiences across the globe.
Foregoing the traditional nine-to-five for a life of entrepreneurship is clearly more than a trend, as self-employment surged by more than 50,000 people in September according to a report by Statistics Canada. Last year, nearly 2.8 million Canadians considered themselves to be self-employed, a 9.7% increase in the past decade.
While the lure of being your own boss can seem all too enticing, not everyone is meant for the entrepreneurial life. So if you're wondering if you've got what it takes, here are five things to consider to see whether or not you're cut out for the (self-employed) job.
You've got skills.
It's one thing to start a business, it's another to actually make it successful. Whether you're creating a completely new market or opening a coffee shop, you have to know what makes your company unique, and furthermore be able to explain it to someone in less than 30 seconds.
You're okay with taking risks.
Leaving the security of a full-time position can be terrifying for many, and rightfully so; whether you have a mortgage, a family, or student loans you need to pay off, the idea that sales could stop coming in could put your financial and relationship status in ruins.
Before you make any rash decisions, do your research. Speak to other entrepreneurs in the industry who can provide solid advice. From small business loans to incorporation fees, they'll be able to shed light on expenses you may have never considered.
You can ignore the haters.
When you start telling your network that you're starting a business, there will inevitably be one or two people who will tell you it's a terrible idea. These naysayers will try to discourage you from taking the leap, even dissect your capabilities or insult your concept. When this happens, do you retreat and start questioning your idea? Or does it ignite a passion to prove them wrong and only confirm that you want to move forward? How you react will be a good indicator of whether you're ready to take the first entrepreneurial step.
You're technically ready -- literally.
No matter what kind of business you open, your digital presence should be at the forefront of your business plan. From website design to the user experience to social media presence, your brand's digital footprint has to be on point in order to attract and engage your target audience. This is definitely not the area to skimp or 'get to later'. Make sure you have the resources in place to build these effectively.
You've got a little cash.
Though some businesses can be started with minimal financial investment, you need to have some money saved before you take the leap. The beginning phase is always the hardest. It takes time to start building a steady customer base, so ideally you should have a minimum of 6 to 12 months of living expenses saved. You want to be able to live comfortably without adding further stress to your plate, so start with a little nest egg before you make the jump.
While the life of an entrepreneur can be extremely rewarding, it's definitely not for everyone. Paid vacation, extended health, and job security are all perks not to be taken for granted, especially since it may be years until you experience them again. However, if these challenges make you feel determined rather than deterred, than you may have just what it takes to be your own boss.
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