We are often asked, “Do you think everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur?” It is a thoughtful question on behalf of the entrepreneurs, and a question that we have been thinking about ever since the initial design of Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative.
My short answer is no. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Starting and growing a business to be sustainable takes a lot of time and hard work and exposes you to many risks. While there’s no simple way of knowing whether you will actually thrive as a business owner, there are some common mindsets and skills that can indicate you might enjoy and be successful as an entrepreneur.
You See Opportunities When Others Don’t
Do you see challenges as opportunities for improvement? Do you see solutions when other people dwell on the problem? An entrepreneur looks at what’s not working or what’s missing in the moment and sees an opportunity to improve the situation.
You Take the Initiative
Are you the type of person who sees a problem and says, “I wish someone would take care of that”? Or when you uncover a problem, do find yourself thinking over possible solutions? Do you ask yourself, “What can I do to solve that problem?” Entrepreneurs create solutions to problems they encounter. They don’t just wait for others to come along and solve it for them.
You Understand It’s Not a Quick Path to Cash
I often joke with my partner that if I wanted to make money quickly, I’m in the wrong line of work. As an entrepreneur, it might take years for your business to be in a financial position to pay you a reasonable salary, if at all. So, if you are starting your business as a way to get rich quickly, you’ll likely be very disappointed.
You Don’t Let Uncertainty Stop You
There is a lot of uncertainty in starting and growing a business. An entrepreneur doesn’t let that stop them from pursuing their dreams. Instead, entrepreneurs acknowledge the existence of uncertainties and risks, assess their own risk tolerance, and work to equip themselves with knowledge and other resources to manage through the uncertainty.
You Can Manage Your Time
When you work for yourself, there’s no one standing over you to make sure you punch a time card, prioritize your work, and get work done. It’s all on you to make sure you are setting the right priorities, carving out time to work on the business, staying on task, and meeting your own deadlines.
You Trust Your Decision-Making Capabilities
Starting a business requires you to make decisions constantly. Consider how you handle decisions in your everyday life. Ask yourself if you have the trust and confidence in yourself to identify the right questions to ask, do the research, weigh your options, and make informed decisions.
You Take Ownership Over Your Actions
As an entrepreneur, you are the one who makes the decisions on when you work on your business, how you develop your solution, which customers to work with, how much to charge, how to market and sell, who to hire, and so on. Each decision you make has implications for your business, so you need to be ready to take ownership over your actions and how they translate into your business’ success.
You Are Able to Get Others on Board with Your Vision
It takes community support to build a business. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to articulate your vision so that you can get others on board with it. You’ll need to show your potential customers, employees, partners, and funders what’s possible, and that you are the right person to lead the effort.
You Embrace Personal Growth
Putting a business out into the world for others to engage with can bring you face to face with all your own emotional stuff, especially your relationship with money. These fears, doubts, anxieties, and resistances can often prevent you from developing your business. If you embrace practices of self-exploration, reflection, and personal growth, you will be better prepared to move beyond them to build a meaningful business.
You Have Patience and Stamina
Starting and growing a business is like running a marathon. In the beginning, you’re pumped to start and in that first year everything seems possible. Some years into it, it feels like you’ve hit a wall – you’re tired and every action feels heavy. But you have to be patient, stay focused, and keep moving through that wall to achieve your dreams.