A lot of people nurture that dream of dumping the corporate
world, with all its regimen and frustrations, and venturing
out on their own to run the business of their choice. But
the entrepreneurial world is also fraught with challenges,
so how do you know if it’s for you?
To help you decide, I’ve put together some of the
characteristics which I’ve found distinguish the
entrepreneur from the rest of us. There is no good or bad
here, just different mindsets. So take a minute, put aside
your fantasies, and take a hard look at who you really are.
If you recognize yourself in many of these quotes, you will
not be happy as an entrepreneur:
1. “I like my life structured with clear decision criteria.
” Entrepreneurs do not function well in structured
organizations and do not like someone having authority over
them. Most believe they can do the job better than anyone
else and will strive for maximum responsibility and
2. “Handling problems causes me stress and pressure.”
Entrepreneurs are comfortable in stress situations, and are
challenged rather than discouraged by setbacks. They may
actually be uncomfortable when things are going well, and
are not troubled by ambiguity and uncertainty because they
are used to solving problems.
3. “My job is fun when everyone knows and does their job.”
The best entrepreneurs enjoy 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.
4. “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.
5. “Balance and family are important in my life.”
Entrepreneurs may devote a disproportionate time to the
business. During tough business periods, they will
concentrate their energies on business operations, and may
stay on the job for extended periods of time. Even at home
or at social events, the business is always top of mind.
6. “It didn’t get done today, but there’s always tomorrow.”
Entrepreneurs have a never-ending sense of urgency to
develop their ideas. 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.
7. “That’s not my job.” Successful entrepreneurs can
comprehend complex situations that may include planning,
making strategic decisions, and working on multiple
business ideas simultaneously. They are farsighted and
aware of important details, and they will continuously
review all possibilities to achieve their business
8. “I love to get awards for my efforts.” Entrepreneurs
find satisfaction in symbols of success that are external
to themselves. They like the business they have built to be
praised, but they are often embarrassed by praise directed
at them personally.
9. “I get frustrated when things don’t work.” Entrepreneurs
have a “never, never, never quit” attitude. They are self-
confident when they are in control of what they’re doing
and working alone. Most are at their best in the face of
adversity, since they thrive on their own self-confidence.
10. “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 to you is do what you enjoy. Life is too short
for the alternative.
Marty Zwilling is the founder of startupprofessionals.com
and for years has provided entrepreneurs with first-hand
advice, mentoring and business plan assistance, as a
startup consultant. Marty is a member of the Arizona Angels
Venture Group, Inc., the Arizona State University
Technopolis program, and on the Advisory Board for several