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Does Monday morning give you a sinking feeling in your gut—a combination of dread, fear and strangled hope?
Is your optimism and desire to make a difference gone? Feel like pointless emails, anxiety, depression, bitterness and just getting through the week are all that remain—that and your stubborn willingness to continue on your tortuous crusade even when you know you should break this destructive cycle by working for yourself?
If you answered yes, you’re probably a hop, skip and an F-you from throwing in the employee towel. But before you jump ship, honestly answer the following questions to determine whether becoming an entrepreneur is truly the best path for you:
1. How valuable is comfort to my life?
Even if you “make it,” working for yourself never comes with a guarantee. Money varies from month to month, and it could cease at any moment; you just never really know.
Although corporate jobs aren’t guaranteed, either, knowing how much income you’ll receive every month is. Entrepreneurs face things like vender backouts, Adsense account problems and niche competition—all stressful and scary.
Ask yourself whether it’s really worth the headache.
2. Is your new business compatible with your past?
Right before I started my first corporate job, I thought, “I’ve never been able to stick to a rigid schedule. How am I going to do it now?”
All my life, I’ve been erratic and unpredictable. That didn’t change when I started working. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get rid of a lifelong habit of living on my own terms.
Are you passionate enough about your new business to overcome ingrained characteristics of your personality?
3. How sentimental are you?
You will make mistakes. Whether you choose the wrong product or pursue a bad affiliate channel and have to scrap months of work, it’s going to happen.
And when it does, you can’t sit around performing CPR on your business.
You have to cut bait and get out. You need to be willing to do this fast without looking back. The only things you’ll take with you are lessons learned.
If you can’t make these kinds of decisions, you’re going to have a hard time staying in business.
4. When was the last time you learned something new?
Entrepreneurs are perpetual learners. Not only out of natural curiosity, but because if they don’t seek knowledge every day, they’ll be left in the dust by their more knowledgeable competition.
It’s up to you to decide what to study, which trainings you should go to and what knowledge you need to advance your career.
You can’t learn everything, and making a choice about what to focus on—and when to focus on it—is critical to your success.
Are you an active learner, or is your training determined by someone else?
5. How would you do in the middle of a foreign country with no money and no idea how you got there?
When you first start, you will have no idea what you’re doing half the time. Everyone will be talking about PPC, backlinking, SEO and other words from a foreign language you weren’t aware you had to learn.
Your environment will change, too; your workplace will become your living room or a cafe. All of a sudden, you will find yourself stoically walking by the TV when you go to get a snack so you’re not tempted to watch reruns of Lost.
You’ll learn to build relationships in a way that’s alien to you. Your coworkers will no longer be in the same building, and they may not even be in the same country. Talking to your peers on Skype will turn into the equivalent of a quick stop by a coworker’s cubicle.
The changes are swift and unapologetic. You need to be able to keep up with them and not get overwhelmed when you don’t understand everything you’re doing, where you are or exactly how you’re going to get to where you need to be next (wherever that is).
Could you talk a cabby into taking you to the nearest bus station in exchange for a song and dance? Or would you find the situation hopeless and resign yourself to weeping softly in the corner of the nearest alleyway?
6. Do you really just want to get rid of your boss?
What if you’re lazy and think owning your own business is an easy way out? You may not think these exact words, but maybe, deep down, you feel like life would be much easier without a boss.
Well, boy, have I got news for you!
Working for yourself is the opposite of easy. It’s hard. It’s arguably the hardest job on the planet.
You don’t get to come home from work and leave the office behind you. You’re always at the office.
There’s no “zoning out” every night. You always have to think and plan.
You don’t get to look forward to payday. Everyday is payday, potentially (hopefully).
If you are looking for an easier life, this isn’t it.
7. Am I prepared to die for my business?
Okay, no one is going to die for their business.
My point is, you have to be all in. Your business has to mean more to you than any immediate comfort.
A true entrepreneur can’t imagine living a life any way other than on their own terms. Their success is, metaphorically, a life or death situation.
If you feel the entrepreneur inside of you screaming every time you’re forced to suppress an idea, then it’s a matter of life or death for you. Every time you suppress your inner entrepreneur, a piece of it will die.
If you panic at the thought of living the rest of your life as a tool for achieving the goals of others, you need to get out before it’s too late. Because once your spark dies out, all you can do is watch as all of your dreams die right in front of your lifeless eyes.
There isn’t anything you can lose today that’s worse than losing the desire to make your dreams come true.
So, if you have a dream, or if you’ve ever had a dream, or even if you remember what it’s like to have dreams and aspire to something more, there’s never been a better time to start than now.
Go do it, because the world has waited long enough for you to realize that you’re capable of so much more.