Some people like the sound of being an “entrepreneur.” They associate that word with freedom, money, and an independent lifestyle where you don’t have a boss or someone breathing down your neck.

The truth of being an entrepreneur differs a bit from this idealistic definition.

If you truly want to start and own your own business and live the entrepreneurial lifestyle, here are some questions you need to ask yourself these questions:

If you are going to become a business owner instead of an employee there are several questions you need to answer first

1) Are you a born leader, a person who needs little direction, and are fiercely independent?

If so, these are good starting points for becoming your own boss. Understand that when you run your own business, your paycheck isn’t guaranteed like it is with a standard job. Bottom line is that if you don’t produce, don’t market and don’t sell your product (whatever it may be) you won’t get paid.

Some people love the idea of blazing their own trail and being 100% responsible for their own earnings. As long as you understand the upside as well as the downside you will be much better off. There will be months where you will make a lot of money, and quite honestly, there may be months where you are struggling to pay your business bills. 

2) Are you just positive that your “great idea” is going to make you a millionaire?

Are you willing to bet your future on it? Well, if you think you have the next big idea I say “hat’s off to you!” However, please understand that your great idea might not make you a single cent. Real businesses are created when there is a demand for your product. Just because your product is unique, interesting, and groundbreaking, doesn’t mean that everyone will feel that way.

When you are an entrepreneur, you need to have the confidence to believe in your product and be passionate about its place in the market. Likewise, a good businessperson knows when his or her product is a good one, but the market disagrees. They know when to pull the plug on a project even if they believe in it with every bone in their body. A savvy businessman will understand that true companies are built on products or services that SELL and generate income.

3) Are you willing to work 60 to 80 hours a week?

Interesting that some people feel that being a business owner affords them the ability to NOT work. If you have ever owned a business you know this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you are going to build a business you better love it because you are going to be working a lot of hours to get it off the ground.

Know this, successful businesses are built by people who are willing to put in the time necessary to make them succeed. There may come a day that you can work fewer hours but that likely won’t be in the first couple of years of building your company or business.

4) Are you the person who just has great ideas or are you the person who takes massive action?

As they say, ideas are a dime a dozen. If you are honest with yourself, how many times have you had a great idea and did nothing about it? I’m willing to bet the answer to that question is “often.” Those who become successful entrepreneurs are the action takers in our society. They see a problem, think of a solution, and then take massive action in order to implement their idea and make it into a business.

Business owners who don’t take this action-oriented approach likely be very successful. Generally speaking entrepreneurs aren’t lazy – quite the opposite in fact – they are usually hyper and actively engaged in producing an outstanding product, service, or solution.

5) Are you more interested in a 401(k), company provided medical benefits and a bi-weekly paycheck than you are facing financial uncertainty?

There are definitely benefits to being an employee versus a business owner. In fact, a strong case can be made for a job in Corporate America: a steady paycheck, company matching on your retirement plan, decently priced health insurance and paid vacation each and every year.

As long as you know going in, these are the price to pay when you leave the “employee” life behind and become a business owner. It’s almost as if you need nerves of steel to open your own business. You are giving up some financial security and this can be all the more intimidating if you have a spouse or children to care for. You need to take this last point very seriously when it comes to deciding if you want to be an employee or an entrepreneur.

The best advice I can off you is this:

If you are a born entrepreneur you know it deep in your soul. You can’t imagine working for someone else. In fact, you’d rather fail on your own than succeed for someone else.

Don’t take this decision lightly because being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t always offer the big money and ability to kick your feet up on a desk that some would lead us to believe is a given. In fact, being an entrepreneur is in some ways much harder than being an employee. Difference is, if you are truly an entrepreneur you wouldn’t have it any other way.

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