7 Signs You Are Not Ready To Quit Your Job And Become An Entrepreneur

We associate the term “entrepreneur” with those brave enough to go out on their own, not conform to traditional corporate standards, and who come out alive to talk about it.

Traditional corporate standards has many employees unhappy with their current supervisor, pay or some other facet of their job. Seemingly, there is a direct relationship among how dissatisfied someone is with their current condition at work or in their careers and the allure of starting a business… of being an entrepreneur.

Many employees stop at the point of imaging themselves as a business owner and never go through with entrepreneurship due to the risks involved. This is probably one of the more ironic facts about entrepreneurship and, in general business, as no true success can be obtained without taking risks… calculated risks.

Below, you will find some perimeters to help you calculate whether your leap into entrepreneurship is a calculated risk or deserves a little more thinking before doing.

Can You Be An Entrepreneur

Testing Out Your Product Or Service

The product or service is the lifeline of your business and from the onset either puts the entrepreneur at an advantage, a level playing field or a disadvantage.

Here are some questions to best help you aim for the first of the three aforementioned options:

1. How Important is Your Product or Service to the Public?

Businesses that try to create a demand in an industry that currently has no demand nearly always fail.

When it comes to products, most new inventions end up costing the dreamer dearly to the extent that commercials selling various patent software and invention related products / services must include a warning in their ad informing the potential entrepreneur of the risks involved.

If you have an undying love for inventing new things, I strongly recommend that you make it a 2nd business to start, completely putting it aside until you are successful starting up a business that you both enjoy and that has current market demand.

2. Do You Need Heavy Licensing? How Involved is the Government? How Easily Can You Get Sued?

If you answer some form of “a lot, many, exceeding high,” stay away from the industry. The above three road blocks can put you out of business before you even get in.

Capitalism has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the brighter sides of being an entrepreneur in a capitalistic country is that you don’t have to consistently deal with the government.

Also, if you answer “very” to the last question in the group, remember that you will probably have to shell out a tremendous amount of money in insurance every year.  Sometimes, these expenses can cut so deeply into a person’s bottom-line that the business no longer becomes worthwhile running.

To get a first person opinion, you can ask your local doctor as to how pleasant their insurance costs are the next time you have a checkup.

3. Can You Sell the Product or Service?

Can you get on the phone and actually “sell” the product or service in a convincing manner to the target individual(s)?

Nervousness aside (all entrepreneurs are at first), a small business owner needs to be able to verbalize in a quick, concise, appealing and intelligent manner as to why someone should give them money for their offering.

Are you willing to prospect?

When starting a business, the entrepreneur is above nothing. This includes prospecting for new business. Sales, many times proves to be a big hurdle for the entrepreneur.

Though, once you begin prospecting, it’s not as hard as they say. Keep your nose to the grindstone and you’ll eventually have a name for your company to where you don’t have to prospect.

Until then, remember that products or services don’t sell themselves… neither does mass emailing or spamming potential clients due to laziness.

4. Where Did You Get the Idea?

If you got the idea for your business from a friend or a relative as a “hot tip,” stay clear.

The idea for your business should be yours. It should involve a combination of the following: What can be lucrative, what others are making money doing, realism as to what types of businesses can and cannot be monetized, as well as engaging (what you enjoy).

Test Your Dedication

Without complete dedication to a new business venture, the entrepreneur is bound to fail. The following should help test whether you should start a particular business.

5. What Hours Are You Willing to Work?

When getting something off the ground, you will inevitably find yourself putting in up to 20 hour days with little sleep. This is probably the biggest shellshock that entrepreneurs experience upon leaving the corporate world.

In small business ownership, if you don’t do it, it simply does not get done. A lack of ability to execute will execute any business.

6. Will You Enjoy the Marriage?

You have to be honest with yourself. Are you going to enjoy the ups and downs of entrepreneurship? Are you possibly doing this for a reason, such as you don’t like your boss?

You have to enjoy what you do… that’s the golden rule of careers and it holds just as true regarding a career as one’s own boss.

7. What Are You Willing to Learn? To What Extent?

Successful entrepreneurship will consistently challenge you to learn and grow. Every step of the way, you must consistently set new goals, each one higher than the last. The only way to achieve these set parameters is to set parameters for yourself and do the learning that it takes to always move forward.

As an entrepreneur, you must learn to never be satisfied with your current position, your current wealth, your current company, your current happiness as well as your current knowledge and ability.

Take Inventory

With all the above questions, you have a lot of thinking and tests to run prior to the commencement of an entrepreneurial venture. However, rest assured that there is a successful entrepreneur in everybody… you just find it along the journey.

Ken Sundheim

Photo courtesy of laverrue on Flickr

About Ken Sundheim

At age 25, Ken Sundheim started KAS Placement Recruitment and Staffing from a studio apartment in New York. With no industry experience nor contacts, Ken learned the staffing business out of a book. KAS Placement now has two offices and is currently nominated as America's Most Promising Companies in 2012 by Forbes Magazine. Ken has previously contributed to NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, USAToday.com, Forbes and many more. You can read more at kensundheim.com.

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  • I think a lot of what you are saying revolves around the fact that many people see entrepreneurship or especially Internet Marketing as an easy way out and never take the time to really consider the basics.

    I particular like your number 3, and it’s something I drill into my clients. I always get them to research a new idea by trying to pitch or sell it to at least 3 different buyers. If they cannot do that, then perhaps they should go back to the drawing board and consider their options and feedback before pumping in more time and money.

    I would also add one more thing and that is to make sure your chosen business plays with your strengths. Somebody who needs routine and regular tasks may not enjoy the creativity of a new product developement, and accordingly creative people will get bogged down if the chosen business revolves largely around routines. Consider who you are as a person and make sure your traits are aligned with your chosen venture.

  • I think the fact that many people take the plung with a thought , they think the world will jump to bite and eat all their bait. I would also add that people need to test the viability and sustainability of their product/ ideas or dream. I can talk from experience, that the dedication required is second to none.It’s nice to see the boldness you give this since many of us jump at the nice sounds of entrepreneur but when daunted by the ebbs and flow of the journey, we all scream.
    I would also suggest you add, FIND A MENTOR and this can help more entrepreneurs through the valley we often get ourselves stuck and many times here is where we fail. I really enjoyed the post.

  • Nicely written article, and definitely a good selection of questions that someone should ask themselves before leaving their corporate jobs.
    There are are a lot of articles (particularly in the internet marketing niche) that make becoming an entrepreneur sound like its easy, and neglect to mention all of the initial time and energy required to get your business off the ground.

  • Nice article Ken. I’d add another point to it:

    8: Are you happy to work even when feeling ill? (I have a serious case of man flu today but it’s not like I can phone in sick!)


  • Nice one Ken, I think the greatest challenge this generation has, is that people are too much in a hurry…always in a hurry to get everything done, even businesses. Conducting visibility studies on business ideas are no longer popular. Listen to this wise saying “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you”

  • Very informative and insightful article. I believe not every one is suited for becoming a business owner. If you think about it, that is good thing because what will happen if everyone wanted to become a entrepreneur?
    As for me, I am very interested in owning and operating a business myself. A 9 to 5 job does not interest me at all and I have trouble explaining this to my elders who all want for to get a good job once I finish my studies.

  • Hey Ken
    Cool story of your breakthrough as a recruiter. I’ve been one for 20 plus years and built and sold two recruiting firms-It’s a “unique” business for sure and doing what you’ve done, especially in NYC, is admirable

  • Max

    Ken you are quite right. I agree with you and many other comments. Earning online (guadagnare online) is not a loophole … it’s a job. as such it deserves respect and dedication. Nothing should be left to chance … the failure is just around the corner. The motivation and focus to achieve the objectives … is very important this factor is often overlooked.

  • emm

    For me the failure to successfully identify and execute the transition between technical and managerial roles is a core reason behind entrepreneurial failure.

  • I’d add one more piece to this. The first time a friend of mine and I tried to set up a gardening business (I studied landscape architecture, she was a master gardener- does a better match exist?), we totally blew it. Why? Lack of capital. But how much capital does it take to start a gardening / garden education business? We already owned the tools, already had a car… The piece we forgot to assess was the depth of our savings. How many months rent were covered? How many months of food? and phone? etc etc. The fact is, there are only so many hours in the day. Businesses take work to get started, and work takes time. That said, best of luck to everybody! ~ Molly

  • Thanks Ken Sundheim for this great article.

    I believe every individual human being on this planet has his/her own hobbies or interests that later could be the source of ideas to find what kind of product to sell and what kind of business to enter. I think interest should be the first framework or foundation to build your dream business empire. Just like on the point 6: “Will You Enjoy the Marriage?”

    And the second most important thing should be to analyze between our interests with the demands around the market. If there is no demand around the market, or the demand is below the average, you might want to stay away from that kind of business. Because there is no long term future in that one. Just like what you said: “Businesses that try to create a demand in an industry that currently has no demand nearly always fail.”

    And last but not least, in the journey of your business, there will be so many people around you (your friends or family) who underestimate your decision to become a businessman and want to stop you from doing your business. This can be a great mental test to see your genuine dedication to your business. Otherwise, if you listen to them, it only means that you’re not ready to be a businessman.

  • Mark

    Sadly – You either are or you aren’t an entrepreneur. You cannot become one by reading self-help styled articles like this. I’m an entrepreneur -a successful one, and I can’t make sense of this article, it would actually keep me from starting my business.

    You have to have a fire in your heart, one that these articles can’t ignite. You have to be able to say and believe “I’m going to make this work, come Hell or high water!” And believe me…you’d better have ability and believe in your abilities…. or you will fail.

    You have to be able to handle confrontation -without that you’re as weak and helpless as a newborn baby. I see this in Accountant types- all theory -no firepower. There are many successful Accountants who do manage businesses, yes, but most lack vision and the vast majority of them work for the likes of me. Being confrontational at the right times, and the ability to size your competitors will be one of your biggest assets. Timing is everything -you’re born with it or you’re not. Simple.

    Consider this….. Are you hungry? I was born hungry…were you/are you? Everyone is running to the front of the queue, ask yourself…are you going to walk there calmly, humming your favourite tune, or are you going to run and fight your way to the front and get yourself that slice of Ham. That’s me in the front there, getting my Ham. Does that sound like you as well!?

    I stumbled on this article and it’s been written by a successful entrepreneur, and I’m certainly not challenging his accomplishments, well done! But Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t draw parallels….be realistic. Take a good look at yourself…..”Do you have the Fight in yourself?” Above all the required skills, demand for product and personal potential you may have, that is the most pertinent question you have to ask yourself, because believe me when your dream business doesn’t go according to plan it’s the fight in you that will keep you and it afloat. Business is about resistance, and plenty of it, it’s an uphill battle all the way. Passion this, passion that….blah blah blah. You’d better love that baby or nurturing it will be the end of you.

    Define your abilities, forge your strenghts, team up with strong, skilled individuals and have the ability to fight to the death when you need to…..and perhaps you’ll make a success -otherwise keep the day job.

    Or do as I did -I got tired of thinking about it -I was scared -banked everthing on myself -climbed in head first -risked everything -and made a success out of it!

    Only once you’ve risked everything will you be able to see who you really are.If that scares you, good, you must be scared. People who aren’t scared are a danger to themselves and everyone else who believes in them. Fear keeps you up at night and on your toes, exactly where you need to be to have a successful business.

    I’m tired of those articles written in the most positive upbeat language, providing words of wisdom in such a fashion that the readers almost think they can start a business tommorrow morning. No wonder everyone’s confussed.

    Make no mistake, those Corporate Bigwigs are making a kings ransom every month of the year, with self devised bonus schemes that will make you cry like onions do. You have a better chance being killed by a donkey than having the fortune to command a salary as large as theirs.

    But come on guys…..enough fanasizing! Get out there and do it!

  • Planning out your plan to open up a new business can use asking yourself dedication-based questions. This seems to include how much you’re willing to learn to be proficient in the product or service you want to sell. Great post.

  • Im a new media and web designer and I love what I do. This also gives me an excuse to learn fresh things all the time because the internet is always changing. Absolutely enjoy every second of it!

  • I totally agree with Ken with all his points out there. People simply leave their job with a dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur online or offline without any plan. Planning is the core of any successful person. But only planning isn’t gonna help you much and it depends on the person how much of commitment is he willing to put in for the plans. Plans without any commitment and hard work will surely fail.

    No one is perfect in this world and hard work, confidence, determination is the main criteria to make a person successful in his career and business. You should always learn how to fail, no one can reach their goals without failing. Learn from your mistakes. Make sure to educate yourself and get lots and lots of knowledge about the business you’re passionate about.

    When you have all the necessary criteria and surely you will achieve your goals and dreams.

    My valuable tips will be ready to face failures. People just quit if they fail once. Failure has been the stepping stone for success. Other than that, make sure to set logic short term goals and long term goals. Don’t go over your limits and it will destroy you instantly. Like what people used to say slow and study wins the race. And all the internet millionaires and marketers are not miracle workers. They worked hard for their success.

    So these are the two things you have to follow
    Realistic Planning and than Execute the Plan.

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