The beauty of entrepreneurship is that it’s open to anyone. Got an idea and a little ambition? Go for it!
But while it takes good, old-fashioned hard work and discipline to run your own business, it’s nonetheless true that some are more inclined to do it than others. Certain people just thrive on stress and enjoy the sorts of complications that would drive others up a wall.
To some degree or other, most of us like the idea of working for ourselves, even if we never do. But for those who are actually considering taking the plunge, here are a few ways to know if you’re really cut out for it.
Many people prefer routine with measured dashes of variety. Consistency and stability is their general goal, and that’s perfectly understandable. Job security, regular pay, and an expected level of comfort are nothing to laugh at.
Entrepreneurs, though? The idea of consistency is akin to stagnancy. It’s boring. It affords too few opportunities to try something new or test our fresh ideas. Sitting still simply isn’t in the cards, and the risk that comes with constantly moving around and experimenting is exhilarating.
Rob Grosshandler, the founder of iGive, tells me, “I was never able to stay still–just wouldn’t happen. I’ve always been like that, too. I formed my first company in junior high school. I worked more jobs than I can list. I just hated the idea of a boring life that favors authority, so I decided not to live that way, and I know a lot of people who feel the exact same way.”
We live in a truly incredible time. In the digital age, an unprecedented breadth of innovative products and services have completely transformed the way we live. Entrepreneurs, though? They aren’t satisfied. They’re always looking for the next big thing. The present simply isn’t good enough—it can always get better. To be merely up to date is to be behind the curve. Thinking in the future tense is much more important.
Entrepreneurs tend to care about the local communities from which they draw their talent. After all, without being able to tap into them, their business ventures are dead in the water. You might not consider empowering communities to innovate and grow to be one of entrepreneurship’s main goals, but it’s something the most successful business owners really value.
The truth is that for entrepreneurs, their business communities really are communal. They support one another, and they’re proud to do it. Of course, entrepreneurs–like the rest of us–don’t necessarily buy from small businesses exclusively, but if you’re a small business owner in New York (or San Francisco or Austin or Cleveland or Tallahassee), chances are you’re deeply committed to your hometown’s companies, not just your own.
There is no final venture for entrepreneurs, which makes the term “serial entrepreneur” redundant in more cases than not. The well of ideas for new businesses, projects, and experiments never runs dry. After all, running one successful operation doesn’t disqualify you from brainstorming how to solve a new problem. In fact, getting one company off the ground usually only impels you to try and do it all over again.
Jonathan Lacoste, cofounder of venture-backed startup Jebbit, says that kind of creative thinking is part of his routine: “I travel frequently and got tired of wasting a lot of time on flights. Now, I keep Evernote on my phone to brainstorm crazy ideas for the next business to start after Jebbit.” Of course, that doesn’t mean every new idea will turn into something, but the mind-set that comes from an active brain is a telltale sign of a natural entrepreneur.
Of course, there are people out there with their heads in the clouds, so to speak, who might identify as entrepreneurs without ever quite running a successful company in reality. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to do so. At all events, arguably the main sign that you’re cut out for entrepreneurship–whether you take the plunge or not–is an ongoing sense of self-improvement. Your best today just isn’t good enough for tomorrow. You know you can always learn more and improve. And that’s exactly what you set out to do, every day.