Below is an answer to this question that I posted to Quora on July 14, 2015.
Do you have this feeling that you are destined for greatness? Do you feel like you have something unique and wonderful inside of you waiting to get out?
That may not be enough to make the big leap. It’s important to find out before you set out to start a 21usiness.
A drive to control your own destiny:
If you feel like you have something wonderful, unique inside of you that is bursting to get out into the world, you likely have a driving force to control your destiny. (I’m not going to touch on faith or religion here, just business.)
I understand what this feels like. I bought the URL for my this company when I was 21. I started my company when I was 41. That’s a long time to yearn to CREATE something. To build something.
Learn as much NOW about your skills, your innate abilities, your communication style, your shortcomings, your biases as you can… as fast as you can.
Starting a business is a journey of self-discovery. Everything wonderful about you will be set into action. Everything thorny, jagged, ratty about you as well.
I help people work through all of this what-should-I-do stuff for a living, and here’s what I’ve observed. Wanting control of your destiny is a driving force marker for every entrepreneur I have met. Some successful. Some not.
As a business owner, you have to believe in your ideas and your unique spin on the world MORE than anyone else around you. Wanting control of your own destiny bad enough will help you get through the land of haters. Haters are not all trolls. Some mean well.
People who love you will try to get you to give up on your dream. (They are just scared for you.) Thank them for caring about you, and help them to understand that you have to give this a try.
People who want to control their own destiny but don’t have the guts to do it will try to create problems for you. (They may not even realize it.) Wish them well and move on. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire them to take the leap, too!
And you’ll stumble on those people who have taken the leap already. Some who want to warn you about the traumas you are about to experience. Some who want to be your cheerleader and help you succeed. Learn from both but don’t be deluded by either extreme.
There are so many other important factors to consider before taking the leap.
A drive for function: The other marker I have seen with entrepreneurs is a driving force for function. Combine a desire to get your idea into the world with a driving force to be useful, and you start to have the makings of a business owner.
What do I mean by function? Do you look around and see how you could streamline that process? Wish you could improve that product? Reduce costs? Want to help people solve a problem? In the past, have you taken action on those impulses? If not, start now. If yes, you just need to develop this side more.
A drive for function often goes with a drive to accumulate wealth – but not always. Just make sure you are not chasing money without having to provide value to customers. That would make you someone who wants to be paid to be themselves and that’s not necessarily entrepreneur territory. (Closer to Kardashians, perhaps.)
Determining success is a question that we all ask, and some think they know the answer. There are many factors in addition to what drives you that help predict your success as a business owner, but FIRST figure out what propels you to take action in your life. That is an important – no, vital – part of preparing to start a new venture.
Not taken the leap as an entrepreneur yet? Please let as much as you can about yourself in order to plan a business that will fit who you ARE and WHY you take action. Please. Please.
If you are not sure, call me and we can help you learn more in 10 minutes than you could observe in a year.