Starting a new business, be it big or small, is far from easy. In the early stages you will inevitably drift between periods of certainty and uncertainty about your decision. You will feel like you are constantly swaying with the wind of opinions from your peers.
So how do you know you're ready to give up everything to start your own venture?
- You're not feeling fulfilled at work - First, to be clear, just because you don't feel fulfilled at work doesn't necessarily mean it's time to jump ship and start building your own business. There are many ways to improve satisfaction in the workplace, so it is important to understand why you feel this way. Will a career in a new industry make you happier? What about increased responsibilities, money or vacation time? If any of these scenarios are the case, then perhaps it is time to open up the gates of communication with your manager.
But what if you want something that no employer can offer you, such as unlimited career growth opportunity and the freedom to make all business decisions? If you feel only you can create the path needed to reach your potential, then consider starting your own business. You should understand the difference between wanting more from an employer or job versus wanting more out of yourself.
- You're not afraid of failure - It's important to go into any new business venture with a positive attitude, however it's not realistic to go in assuming you're immune to the possibility of failure. CNBC recently reported "that while 400,000 new businesses are being created annually, 470,000 are closing, leaving a deficit of 70,000." The number is scary and puts the risks of starting a new business in perspective. If you make it - great! If not, it's important to remember that some of the most successful businesses have grown out of the gravel of failure.
- You have an emotional support system - Even if it is just a friend, family member or co-worker, it is important that you have someone on your team who understands your dream. Throughout the business startup process you will inevitably question yourself and your decision to branch out on your own. Confidence in yourself is most important, but it doesn't hurt to have a cheerleader on the sidelines.
- You have a 'life' plan - It's a no-brainer to have a business plan laid out, but what about a life plan? Before you dive into your new business, map out where you see yourself (personally) in the coming years, to ensure that your business plan accommodates it (of course life throws curveballs, but if you know you want to move closer to your family in five years, this is something to consider factoring in). Thinking big picture also means understanding how your decision will affect those around you.
- You are not okay with the thought 'what if?' - I used to think 'I can't' was the worst phrase for self-morale. I've only come to realize that 'I can't' often amounts to something worse in the long run - 'what if?' "What if I had taken that chance?" is a valid question that has the ability to eat at you. If you know that silencing your desires to start your own business will undoubtedly result in 'what if' thoughts that will plague you through your adult years, then perhaps it is time to act on your instincts.
Gillian dreams big. After years of working under successful and inspirational women, she woke up one day at age 27 realizing she wanted more out of her career. The result of her revelation is Gillian Small Public Relations, a small business offering high quality PR services at an affordable price.