When The Interactive Team started in 2012, it was Gilles Baudet, a couple of mates, and an office with bad carpeting. Gilles had moved cities to be closer to his wife’s family (not to mention country!), he had a baby on the way and he’d just left a well paid job with clear career progression. It was a risk, a big, big risk. But he didn’t choose to start his own business and risk everything without doing his homework first – he had a clear vision of what he wanted to create and a clear goal of where he wanted to end up. So once you’ve decided you want to start your own business – well – what else do you need?
It turns out there are certain qualities that every entrepreneur has in common; signs that the risk they’re taking might well pay off. So here is our list of some signs that you too should start your own business.
1 You want to be your own boss
Let’s be real – there is no reason starting your own business unless you truly want to be your own boss. If you hate working for someone else or are sure you could run a company better than the one you’re in at the moment it’s a sure fire sign you should start your own. But you’ve got to want to be at the helm of it all. Unless your business becomes the next Apple, the fact is that for a very long time you will be where the buck stops. Even if you do get the chance to retire from the frontlines and take a position on the board – well, Steve Jobs couldn’t stay away and creatively drove the business in what was technically his retirement. So if you can’t handle the limelight then maybe being an entrepreneur isn’t for you. But being your own boss is a lot more involved than it sounds and often decidedly less glamorous than it looks. Sure you can set your own hours, and maybe even get a few tax breaks, but every decision you make will directly affect the success of your business. Which brings us to our next point.
2 You’re a thrill seeker
Now you don’t need to go base-jumping every weekend to be an entrepreneur, but a sense of an adventure definitely helps!
If you’re risk averse then I’ve got bad news for you – starting your own business is not for you. Being an entrepreneur is the career equivalent of a rollercoaster. Your stomach will flip more than once – and if you don’t enjoy that feeling you’ll want to get off the second things get too bumpy. But starting your own business has ups and downs, and you’ve got to learn to ride them out. But if you can thrive on the uncertainty – and enjoy the thrill – then you’re more likely to succeed than your counterparts.
Tolerating ambiguity is an essential part of starting and running your own business. You have to get a kick from the tension of not knowing if you made the right choice until the outcome plays out.
Entrepreneur calls risk “the admission fee” of being an entrepreneur – so the question is, are you willing to pay that price?
3 You have thick skin
It takes guts to start your own business, there’s no doubt about it. There will be doubters along the way, sometimes it will feel like everyone around you is a naysayer but you need the ability to stand on your own two feet and rise above it.
When starting your own business having a thick skin is more than an asset, it’s a must. You need the ability to pick yourself up, brush off all the negativity and get on with it. If thick skin isn’t something that comes naturally to you then there are a few techniques you can try to improve your resilience.
One such technique is a simple meditation: imagine a valley, see how the light travels down the valley, from the tops of the mountains, down into the glen the light comes to rest on a river, winding between the rocks and the trees the river flows peacefully by. Its calm but has a strong current. Leaves from the trees have fallen into the river; they float gently and rest on the surface of the water for a moment before the current takes the leaf away. Focus on just one part of the river, just one section, see the leaves come into view and then in time, pass out of sight. Just observe them, nothing more; just let the leaves flow past you. Imagine your worries, your concerns, your preoccupations are the leaves, flowing past you, one after the other the river takes them out of sight and out of your mind.
Resilience is like a muscle the more you practice the stronger it becomes, take the time to develop it by meditating. By letting other peoples negativity just flow around you not only will you resilience grow but your ability to start and runyour own business will grow too.
4 You’re motivated
No one is going to make it happen but you. Thems the facts! You need motivation like you’ve never had before. What was the most motivated you’ve ever been in your life? Was it studying for exams? Was it running a marathon? Was it asking that hottie at the coffee shop out? Double it. Then triple that. That is just a touch of the level of motivation you’ll need to succeed in starting your own business.
Do an experiment: set yourself a goal, something you’re really unlikely to do – for me its waking up early – I can do it, I just never do, getting up at the first alarm is deeply unlikely. Then tell three people about your challenge, make yourself accountable to them by putting money on it – 20 bucks a pop? If you don’t achieve your goal by the end of the week you have to pay out. If you do succeed they’ll each give you – say £10 – or something else you find valuable. And there you have it, a pretty accurate model of how running your own company will be. If you can’t be motivated to stop yourself losing money, even in a silly bet with mates – well 50% of new businesses fail within their first 6 months – and now you know why.
5 You have self-belief
There’s more to being an entrepreneur than motivation, you have to believe, beyond any doubt, that you have what it takes to make it. And it’s a different quality to motivation, motivation can help you get up in the morning, but you need that voice in your head at night before you fall asleep saying “you’ve got this, tomorrow is going to be amazing” – if you don’t have self-belief then, like a soufflé, your business will fall flat. But more to the point, if you don’t start your business with the belief that it will succeed then why start one at all?
Self-belief can come from a number of places to give you the confidence you need to see your business succeed – maybe you’ve had a light bulb moment and thought of the next cool app or you’ve spotted an industry with low supply and high demand, or maybe your mind is always racing and you’ve spotted potential in one of your ideas – but the key in all this is to believe not only that your business will make it, but that you’re the one to make it happen.
And there you have it, while this list is by no means exhaustive, what you see above is the building blocks to starting your own business. So, do you have what it takes?