Some people are not cut out to be entrepreneurs. This is a good thing: if they were, the business world would be chaos, with everyone trying to do their own thing. So what about you? How do you know if you should be running your own company or concentrating on that queue of work that someone else has built for you?
I’ve hit this before, but I still hear from too many unhappy entrepreneurs. Now is the time to put aside your fantasies and take a hard look at who you really are, before you commit to the entrepreneurial lifestyle. If you recognize yourself in many of these quotes, you WILL NOT be happy in that lifestyle:
- “I like my life structured with clear decisions.” Entrepreneurs do not function well in traditional organizations and do not like being in the conventional management hierarchy. Most believe they can do the job better than anyone else and will strive for maximum responsibility and accountability.
- “Handling problems causes me stress and pressure.” To an entrepreneur, stress is part of the job, and they are re-invigorated rather than discouraged by setbacks. They may actually be less comfortable when things are going well, and they are not troubled by ambiguity and uncertainty because they are used to solving problems.
- “My job is fun when everyone knows and does their job.” The best entrepreneurs relish the challenge of an undefined role and enjoy the learning process as much as success. It’s even better when they can inspire and energize others to do things that have never been done before.
- “I like to put my mistakes behind me and never think about them again.” Entrepreneurs accept things as they are and deal with them accordingly. They are quick to learn from their failures. They may or may not be idealistic, but they are seldom unrealistic. They want to know the status of a given situation at all times.
- “Balance and family are everything in my life.” Entrepreneurs devote the largest share of their time to the business. During tough business periods, they will give their entire focus to business operations and may stay on the job for days at a time. Even at home or at social events, the business is always top of mind.
- “It didn’t get done today, but there’s always tomorrow.” Entrepreneurs have a great sense of urgency to develop their ideas now. Inactivity makes them impatient, tense, and uneasy. They have drive and high energy levels, they are achievement-oriented, and they are tireless in the pursuit of their goals.
- “That’s not my job.” Successful entrepreneurs love to tackle complex situations that span the spectrum from planning, making strategic decisions, and working on multiple operational crises simultaneously. They are futuristic and aware of important implications, and they will continuously review alternatives to achieve their business objectives.
- “I love to get awards for my efforts.” Entrepreneurs find satisfaction in the trappings of success from external sources, like the media and peer organizations. They like the business they have built to be praised, but they are often embarrassed by praise directed at them personally.
- “I get frustrated when things don’t work.” Entrepreneurs have a “never, never, never quit” attitude. They are self-confident when they know what they’re doing and are in control. Most are at their best in the face of adversity because they thrive on their own self-confidence.
- “Risk and uncertainty cause me to lose too much sleep.” Some of the best entrepreneurs talk about the highs they get from taking a big risk and the euphoria they feel when they beat the odds. They live for these feelings.
If you are an employee and you recognize your boss in the quotes, you probably are not a happy employee. If you recognize your CEO or business founder in the quotes, then your business is probably failing. That’s how important it is for the right people to be in the right category.
In my experience, the most unhappy people are the ones who clearly fit in one category, but, for various reasons, believe they need to be in the other one (entitlement, more money, more prestige, family pressures). My message is do what you enjoy. Life is too short for the alternative.
Image credit: CC by Adam Goode