Before starting a business, would-be entrepreneurs should fully assess both the pros and cons of being self-employed. It is a choice that demands a certain type of character – entrepreneurship is not for everyone. If you are wondering if you are a natural entrepreneur yourself, here are some habits that they tend to have.
1. You're Good at Time Management
Do you always get your work done on time and still have time to enjoy yourself afterwards? If so, that’s a good sign that you might have an entrepreneurial career path ahead of you. Without good time management skills, it’s easy to become overloaded with work and get behind schedule on all aspects of your business. More generally, entrepreneurs need to be able to balance work and life, both to avoid burnout and to make time for friends and family. As the popular saying goes: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
If you’re in the habit of writing daily lists to keep yourself focused on goals, you might also have an entrepreneurial streak. Business owners are very good at prioritizing, keeping their minds on their long-term aims as they achieve their goals on a day-to-day basis. By being organized, they can maximize the amount of work they do every day and maintain a consistent schedule. They have to have this discipline in order for their business to keep running smoothly.
2. You Enjoy Learning
Are you relentlessly intellectually curious, constantly pushing yourself to learn new things? Do you spend hours on Wikipedia or in your local library researching obscure topics that interest you? If this sounds just like you, perhaps you should consider starting your own business. As entrepreneurs often set up new, innovative business models, they need to be prepared to learn about different topics and look at things from unusual angles. A love of learning keeps entrepreneurs out of their comfort zone and allows them to see new opportunities in the marketplace faster than their competitors.
Whether your interest is fitness, relationships, finances or something else, if you’re obsessed with personal growth, you might have an entrepreneurial gene in you somewhere. Your typical entrepreneur spends a lot of his or her spare time learning new skills, as opposed to playing games on phones and spending time on social media like regular folks. Over time, they learn to play to their strengths, but most entrepreneurs will have at least one side project on the go at any given moment. The possibility of the project’s failure is less of a factor in their reasoning than the chances of discovering something truly life-changing. For entrepreneurs, knowledge is power, and they feel the need to acquire as much of it as they can.
3. You Enjoy Taking Risks
From bungee jumping to playing poker and casual relationships to investing in the stock market, you keep finding yourself engaging in risky behavior. Passive hobbies like watching TV, reading novels or doing yoga are of no interest to you.
The act of starting a new company is inherently risky because entrepreneurs often have to spend their own savings or take out loans – without any guarantee that the project will work out and the business will survive. Business owners have little to no safety net if they make mistakes, often bearing the financial risk of failure alone. This is not a trait that everyone has: most people prefer the security that comes with a steady job and a regular income. The risk-taking element in the entrepreneurial personality goes hand in hand with the ability to tolerate uncertainty. Those that start their own businesses tend to have the confidence and the optimism to weather the effects of months without a paycheck.
The act of starting a new business is a calculated gamble – not dissimilar from a large bet on a poker hand in which you have incomplete information about the cards held by your opponent. Entrepreneurs understand that you rarely have complete information before making a decision in life and do not let that uncertainty stop them moving their business forward.
4. You Keep Going Despite Setbacks
Have you experienced financial, emotional or physical hardship before? Did you bounce back to playing regular sports after spending months out with a leg injury? Keeping going in the face of setbacks is a trait that separates the entrepreneurs who make it from those who give up at the first hint of failure. People who do well as entrepreneurs are good at separating the professional from the personal: just because they are experiencing business difficulties does not mean that they are any less of a human being.
A large part of this is the ability to defer gratification. If you’re the sort of person who eats chocolate and drinks soda all the time, you are unlikely to succeed as an entrepreneur. Business owners understand that success does not happen overnight, and remain patient in the face of the inevitable failures they will face on the road to financial prosperity. Rather than give in to their emotions like most people would, they persevere. If their company does get in a bad way, they listen to market feedback and adapt their strategy accordingly. The knowledge acquired during the hard times will be a useful asset for the challenges their business will face in the months and years to come.
5. You Like Your Independence
Do you hate being told what to do by your boss, your partner, your parents, or even the government? Perhaps you’re even in the habit of rebelling against authority figures in some way – by doing what you want, even if it goes against other people’s ideas of what is good for you. Interestingly, behaviors like truancy and pot-smoking in school are often indicators of an entrepreneurial spirit. This type of personality is unimpressed by arbitrary rules and regulations, and wants to live life on his or her terms.
Entrepreneurs are motivated by their own goals, as opposed to the assignments and deadlines imposed upon them by others. A major incentive to set up one’s own business is to work on one’s own terms and not have to work for someone else. Contrary to popular opinion, most entrepreneurs are much more interested in personal freedom than wealth; rare is the business that is set up for purely financial reasons.
Naturally, entrepreneurs have to hire people to expand their business, but there is no reason why this should spell the end of their independence. Quite the opposite – the team can be set up according to the preferences and aims of the entrepreneur. Rather than slave away from 9 to 5 for someone else for 40 years, they can take their business interests in whatever direction they choose. This is a liberating feeling that anyone with an entrepreneurial personality can relate to.
Do these habits sound like you? Then you might have been an entrepreneur your whole life without knowing it! Setting up your own business is the journey of a lifetime. If you’re ready to leave that boring office job behind and set out on your own, let me know in the comments section below.