Being an entrepreneur seems to be one of the most popular lifestyle aspirations these days. According to most definitions, anyone who starts a business is an entrepreneur. Most people do not realize there are many startup types out there. Picking the wrong one can be just as bad as doing things with no interest or skills.
This mismatch of motivation to your business model is the primary reason, that 70 percent or more of startups ultimately fail. An even higher percentage of employees are dissatisfied at work. Thus, it behooves every entrepreneur to pick the startup model that best matches their real motivation. Here are six considerations to get you started on the right startup:
- Invent a solution to a painful existing problem. You have proven that you can create an innovative product, but creating a business is a whole new challenge. The old adage of “if we build it, they will come” does not work anymore. Every business needs marketing, distribution, a positive revenue model, and intellectual property to survive. You will not be a successful and happy entrepreneur, if you are not motivated to build a business.
- Aspire to be in control of your own domain. There are many business types that do not assume any new invention or service, such as franchising, multilevel marketing, or freelancing. These do require business management and execution skills, as well as the discipline to manage yourself. Do not look for an investor to fund your efforts here. Investors will likely be tougher bosses than corporate managers.
- Look for a path to dramatically increase your income. This is a tough one, since most of the overnight startup successes I know took six years or more. Franchises and consulting businesses have an earlier and higher success rate. However, they typically have a lower return. Having new products and services, you can be rewarding, but many struggle or fail.
- Try to fulfill family or peer expectations. Do not try to be an entrepreneur just to prove something to a loved one, friend or sibling. There are no business types that work well here, with exception to a successful family business. If you must proceed, at least pick something you love, or a social cause to benefit society.
- Seek a new career challenge to follow an existing success. If you have had previous success and are not retired, then share your expertise and experience, through business consulting.
- Fulfill your legacy and responsibility to society. Environmental startups and nonprofit businesses are just as challenging, as the next disruptive technology startup. Leaving a personal legacy is a great motivator to switch to entrepreneurial work, if you have passion and determination.
No matter which of the entrepreneur business models you choose, do not expect the work to be easier than a corporate job. Most successful entrepreneurs would argue just the opposite. Success in any entrepreneur role, requires a serious commitment, determination, and learning from setbacks. Switching business models is not usually a shortcut to success and happiness.
To aspiring entrepreneurs, I recommend that they first take a job with another startup, in the same field. They will get some practical insight into the challenges, make contacts, and learn more about their own motivations. Take the big step of starting your own business, with fewer surprises, some good connections, and likely more accumulated savings.
It is important to remember that happiness breeds success more often, than success breeds happiness. Every aspiring entrepreneur should play to their strengths and interests, rather than listen to the advice you will hear from friends and experts. The exciting part about being an entrepreneur is that you can tailor the role to match your real motivations.
Image Credit: CC by Steven Depolo