Many people feel like they’d like to start their own business — maybe they have a great original idea, or they can see a way to do something better than what the market currently has to offer. Yet all too often, these same people let their potential go unfulfilled because they think they’re not quite ready for the responsibilities that come with starting a business.
The truth is, nobody is ever truly “ready” to dive into entrepreneurship. You’ll probably never feel like you have enough money to get your startup off the ground, or you may feel like you don’t have enough knowledge or experience. However, these things probably aren’t going to change if you decide to wait a few years before starting your entrepreneurial journey.
In reality, there’s a good chance that you’re as ready now as you’ll ever be for this next big step. If the following descriptors match your situation, then you’re probably ready for entrepreneurship.
1) You’re passionate
A passion for a product or idea is ultimately what drives entrepreneurial success. When you love your idea, you’ll be working for much more than the mere motive of making money. While improving your finances is certainly important, those who identify a higher purpose in their work or simply love what they do are far more likely to achieve success.
Passion for your business will allow you to work with an enthusiasm and dedication that you probably can’t muster up for your current nine-to-five job. This will make it easier to come up with creative insights to improve your product while also ensuring that you have the stamina to work long hours and learn from setbacks.
2) You understand the market and the risks
While you’ll never know everything, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to inform yourself before trying to start your own business. You absolutely must do your research — and you shouldn’t just limit yourself to trying to better understand your niche. While knowing the trends for your industry can help you identify new opportunities or generate creative ideas, you also need to learn the ins and outs of running a business.
You don’t have to become an expert at everything — that’s why you hire other people. However, by learning the basics of managing your own company, you’ll be more fully aware of the risks involved and what steps you need to take to build up toward success. If you’ve done your due diligence, you’re ready to dive in.
3) You know how to communicate your big idea
You may be passionate about your big idea — but can you sell it to others? This is one of the biggest tests of whether or not you’re ready for entrepreneurship. The success of every startup essentially boils down to whether or not you can communicate your idea in a way that will get others to buy it.
Start by honing in on the core principles behind your product or service. Can you explain its features and benefits in a short and convincing matter? If your elevator pitch sparks enthusiasm and interest from others, you have a solid foundation to build from. Perfecting your ability to communicate your big idea now will pay big dividends when the time comes to pitch to potential investors.
4) You’re willing to rely on others
While you may have come up with a big idea all on your own, turning that idea into a viable startup shouldn’t be a solo endeavor. Savvy individuals know they need the help of business partners and others to achieve startup success. Leveraging their strengths and insights will lay the groundwork for a properly-functioning business and help you avoid overburdening yourself.
A mentor can make an especially big difference for young entrepreneurs. Working with a mentor gives you access to someone who has real-world experience in your industry and understands current market trends. A mentor’s honest advice can help you avoid costly mistakes and help make up for your weaknesses. Perhaps most importantly, mentors can create networking opportunities that will allow you to further expand your support group.
5) You have a backup plan
Forming a startup is undeniably risky. Research from the U.S. Small Business Administration found that only about half of all startups were still in business five years after they launched. While the majority of businesses do make it past their first year, it is essential that you have a sound financial plan in place to minimize your personal risk.
Because of this, many entrepreneurs continue to work at a full-time job, dedicating their “free time” to growing their startup. Others will often save money to cover their living expenses for several months prior to jumping into full-time entrepreneurship. By improving your financial security, you’ll have a much easier time staying focused on your business.
6) You’re fully committed
Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy. It requires your full commitment — you shouldn’t expect to be able to only work three days a week and retire early. You need to understand that starting a successful business often requires late hours, which means setting aside certain social priorities and other distractions.
Committed individuals understand that they have to hold themselves accountable for their successes and failures. They exercise discipline in their efforts to find new clients, manage expenses and stay on top of their workload. If you have the type of work ethic that will allow you to handle these demands without a supervisor telling you what to do, then you can handle the rigors of entrepreneurship.
Don’t doubt; trust your abilities
There is always going to be a fair amount of risk associated with any entrepreneurial endeavor. But with the right mindset (and developing the proper skills) you can ensure that your startup becomes the exciting and fulfilling business adventure you’ve been craving. Even more importantly, you’ll put yourself on the path to success.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.