Can You Pass the Entrepreneur Test?
It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is trying their hand at being an entrepreneur. It might make you consider whether or not you have the characteristics needed to be a successful entrepreneur.
In fact, LendingTree ran a survey with Qualtrics of 1,067 Americans in 2018 and found roughly two-thirds thought about starting a business in the previous 12 months.
While most people in the survey claim a lack of start-up capital for being the biggest reason for not taking that big leap, I think there’s something else at work…
The Real Reasons People Don’t Become An Entrepreneur
In my more than forty years of experience in business, I have found that it’s not a lack of money that stops people from pursuing their dream. Rather they lack certain characteristics required of an entrepreneur.
After all, if it were easy, everyone would do it.
I believe most people could be an entrepreneur, but won’t. Most people won’t put in the time, energy and commitment it takes to be a successful business owner.
And that’s OK. Not everyone needs to be a business owner. But if you’re wondering if you have what it takes to be successful at entrepreneurship, consider the following nine statements.
The Entrepreneur Quiz
If you read these nine statements and don’t feel that they represent you, then maybe it’s time to take the leap.
How many of these characteristics do you have? If you can satisfy most or all of these, congratulations! You’re ready to exit the rat race…
- You Have Thick Skin
Chances are you’ve been thinking about starting a business for a while. You may have told a few close friends about your “crazy idea” but for the most part, you have chosen to keep this dream to yourself.
Eventually, however, you will need to let the world know. And not everyone is going to share your enthusiasm.
When my wife Kim and I were developing our board game, CASHFLOW 101, later renamed to just CASHFLOW®, we would hold events for testing purposes. I still cringe at people’s response. “The game is terrible,” and “It takes too long,” and my personal favorite, “It’s too hard.”
Imagine if we had stopped at that first beta-test. That game has helped thousands of people increase their financial IQ by playing it.
And maybe that will be the situation you find yourself in.
You might have family and friends who support you every day with personal problems that will suddenly show you a different part of their personality when you discuss starting a business: fear.
Maybe they have tried to start a business and failed. Or possibly they live under the false sense of security a job provides and think climbing the corporate ladder is a guaranteed path to safety.
Either way, you’ll face criticism faster — and harsher — than you expect. How you handle it will make all the difference.
- You Crave Being “Connected”
If you think living the life of an introvert will allow you to become a successful entrepreneur, you may want to think again.
You’ll be living and breathing your new company every moment of the day while you try to educate everyone you come in contact with about your business.
24/7 takes on a whole new meaning when you open your doors. No longer are quick 5-minute breaks spent scrolling your Facebook or Instagram feeds looking at updates from your family. Now, the time spent on the very same social networks will be spent answering customer service complaints and trolling your competition looking for ways to improve your business.
Though you won’t need to be the life of the party, you will definitely need to get more comfortable in your own skin.
- You Can Live Without Praise
There has been a disturbing trend in youth activities the last few years where all participants receive trophies. These awards are given to anyone who participates in the given activity like little league baseball or pee-wee football.
As adults, we know that’s not how life works. There are winners, and then there are losers.
Think about your average day at work. How many times a day do you hear, “That’s awesome!” or “Great job,” or “That’s soooo good?”
It seems everyone has been trained to give positive feedback almost as if on autopilot.
Unfortunately, you won’t receive this type of praise as an entrepreneur.
You need to keep all criticism in context. Some people will love your product, others won’t.
Regardless, if you have done your research and have built a business around solving a legitimate problem, eventually you’ll receive your just rewards.
- You’re Self-Motivated
Another characteristic of an entrepreneur is the ability to set your own tasks and accomplish them.
You won’t arrive at work with a set list of expectations you’re to accomplish by day’s end.
Whatever gets done (or doesn’t) is entirely up to you.
When I was in boot camp preparing for my brief career in the military, I received all the external motivation I could handle. From fellow recruits taking turns leading our troup through our daily training regime to the ever present drill sergeant, there was no shortage of people making sure I was doing what I should be doing, how I should be doing it and where I should be doing it.
You are your own drill sergeant when you become a business owner.
Do you have what it takes to give the orders and follow them?
- You Don’t Fear Leaving Your Comfort Zone
One characteristic of an entrepreneur that is often overlooked is the ability to wear multiple hats.
Most people who dream about being an entrepreneur focus on the technical mastery they’re providing. They feel that a decade of writing or baking or carpentry experience is the proof they have what it takes to run a successful business.
That’s never the case. A successful entrepreneur needs to understand accounting, sales, legal protection, taxes, customer service, and a slew of other things to turn their technical mastery into business success.
- You Can Accept When You’re Wrong
We were taught in school that there is only one right answer. There is one side to history, one way to solve a math problem and one way to be successful in life. And when it is time to test your knowledge you either know the answers on the exam or you don’t. If you try to look elsewhere for the answer it’s considered cheating.
But real life doesn’t work like that. In real life, “cheating” is called teamwork. If you don’t like to work as a team, you are often considered a “know-it-all” and no one wants to work with you.
There’s nothing wrong with putting in the time to get things right, unless you’re an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneur’s don’t have the luxury of time. After all, time is money. If you’re spending time behind closed doors trying to get everything perfect before you launch tomorrow, you’re missing money making opportunities today.
- You Have Patience
Many people think I became a success overnight. One day I was a complete unknown and the next I’m on Oprah with a New York Times bestseller.
The truth is, it took almost a decade for me to reach that level of success.
First, there was my failed nylon and Velcro wallet business. After my rich dad showed me how my partners were robbing me, I had to close the business. This left me over $800,000 in debt.
It was for that reason that I knew the only way I was going to get out of such a financial hole was through entrepreneurship.
There was no way to pay back such a monumental amount of debt with a day job.
Slow and steady wins the race. There are no shortcuts.
- You Don’t Procrastinate
With almost $800,000 of debt, Kim and I knew we weren’t going to break free from our financial situation any time soon. So, we developed a plan. It required tremendous sacrifice but we knew we would eventually get there.
It all started with a dedication to increasing our financial education. First we worked to learn, then to earn.
We studied real estate investing and created our own businesses. No matter how bad things got and how much we wanted to quit, we didn’t.
We kept our eye on the prize and looked for any opportunity to learn a new skill that was going to help us become successful business owners.
The ability to take action is a vital characteristic of an entrepreneur.
- You Like to Sell
My rich dad would often tell me that learning how to sell is the most important characteristic of an entrepreneur.
After being an entrepreneur in multiple industries over the past three decades I have to agree.
If you can’t sell, you can’t be an entrepreneur.
After I returned from Vietnam, I had a choice to make. I could get a job in the shipping industry making very good money or take an entry-level sales job at Xerox.
My rich dad recommended that I take the job at Xerox. I took it and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was not a natural born salesman. I spoke with my rich dad about my struggles and he suggested I fail faster.
Rather than find another sales job at night, I remembered some other advice from my rich dad, namely that it’s easier to find work if you are willing to do it for free.
I found a charity that needed people to dial for dollars at night. So, I would leave my job at Xerox and put in a few hours cold calling people for donations. I was able to increase my failure rate from three to seven calls a day at Xerox to over 20 calls in a few hours at night.
Though my failure rate increased, ironically so did my success rate. The more calls I made, the better I became at handling objections. I had no choice but to adapt, and so will you.
If you have tremendous odds stacked against you, and you don’t have any other choice but to take matters into your own hands, you might be surprised to discover just how many characteristics of an entrepreneur you possess.
Play it smart,
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily