Entrepreneur. Solopreneur. Do-it-yourself-preneur. Stand-on-your-head-preneur!
There’s no doubt that the last couple of years have offered the world-at-large some of the most inventive and creative variations of the word entrepreneur.
But let’s face it: Entrepreneurship isn’t anything new, but the concept of the common man (or woman) being able to become one is relatively new. In fact, thanks to all of the options for entrepreneurship literally at our fingertips, it might appear that entrepreneurship has gone beyond something that those with capital and ingenuity aspire to.
It might appear that entrepreneurship is the given right of any adult living in the 21st century!
But, here’s the problem with that line of thinking: Just because entrepreneurship can be endeavored upon doesn’t mean that it should be endeavored upon.
In layman’s terms, everyone isn’t cut out to become an entrepreneur!
And, while chances are good that if you’re reading industry blogs such this one that you’re on the right track with your career aspirations, below are seven signs that you or someone else you know might be on the wrong track:
You Can’t Recognize When You’re In Over Your Head
Do you often feel as if you’re conducting business like a dog chasing its tail? Are you always falling short on your duties? Are you known for making excuses?
Have you developed a resentful attitude because it feels as if no one understands what you’re experiencing? Do you find that you’re constantly demanding respect instead of commanding respect with your actions?
If any of these sound familiar, then there’s a very good chance that you’re in over your head either as a business operator, or entirely as an entrepreneur. It’s perfectly fine to experience moments of overwhelment, but it’s not okay to behave in a manner that invites a reputation for being inept.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t simply about the perks of being the boss and working for yourself. It’s also about behaving like a business leader. Inc. says it best:
Get some help. There’s plenty of it out there. Find someone who’s done what you’re trying to do and get them to take you under their wing and set you straight.
You Refuse To Research For Market Viability
One of the reasons why many new entrepreneurs can’t gain product investment on the television show Shark Tank is because they fail to show proof of market viability. More to the point, they fail to show that they’ve created a marketable product, a product that consumers want to purchase.
It’s tempting for entrepreneurs to fall madly in love with their product or service without giving any thought to whether or not a consumer feels the same about the product or service.
Think about the time when you eat a meal at a friend or relative’s home. The cook might believe that they’ve created the best dish this side of the moon, but if you and others feel that the dish is gross, then no one will eat it!
No one likes having things they hate forced down their throats, and no one wants to be presented with a product or a service they don’t want, either. It’s easy to learn if this is so with a bit of market research.
You Sacrifice The Financial Well-Being Of Your Family
There’s always the entrepreneur out there who is so in love with their product or service, they’ll come to believe that going to the wall for their endeavor means mortgaging their house or spending their children’s college fund in order to “support their dream”.
While it’s often true that “no risk means no reward”, it’s also unfair and selfish to place the financial well-being of your family at stake.
Being an entrepreneurship is often a gamble, but gambling with the family’s safety and well-being should never be an option when starting a business.
You Need To Be In Control At Your Own Peril
If you’ve survived employment long enough, then you’ve certainly ran into the boss who was too egotistical to rely upon his so-called trusted team of employees to steer the business in the right direction.
You know these types: The micro-manager, the dictator, the narcissist, the lone wolf, and others.
They all feel that they are the final authority on the operation of a business, regardless if all they’re accomplishing is leading themselves out of business. The problem with these types is they fail to realize that it’s about doing what’s right for the business, instead of always appearing to be right.
You Don’t Care About Your Clients/Customers
If you’re the type of person who’s out to make a quick buck without any consideration to the safety, well-being or satisfaction of your clients/customers, then you’re not going to stay in business for very long, and you might quickly find yourself buried in legal paperwork!
The last thing that you want for your brand is to be the first thing that people find when they plug in an internet search for “fraudulent advertising”, like this brand here.
You Lean On Friends And Family For Investment Capital
There’s nothing wrong with going to your close friends and family members for an initial loan to start your business. The problem comes when you’re constantly leaning on your friends and family members to fund your business.
You might be in a lean-pattern if you notice everyone’s eyeballs enlarging in fear when you mention that you’re showing up to family functions. If you’ve noticed that your friends are no longer returning your calls, or if they’re ignoring your calls, then they might be trying to tell you something.
The fact is, you are the person who needs to fund your dreams, and it’s not fair to make your friends and family members feel emotionally blackmailed into opening up their wallets every chance you get!
And, whatever you do, DON’T sell your friends or family members on some wild financial dream! Don’t even think about asking for financial help from anyone who can’t afford to lose their investment.
Because, there’s always a chance that they could lose their money on the road to helping you to gain money.
You Can’t Be Bothered With Fostering Buyer Engagement
Point blank, with all of the free social media platforms available for anyone to use, there’s no excuse for an entrepreneur, agency, or brand to fail at fostering client/customer engagement.
And, by the way, engagement goes far beyond blasting out tired sales messages promoting the latest way to ask customers/clients to empty their wallets!
Baffling as this is, article in Entrepreneur says this about the average entrepreneur marketer:
When it comes to growing their startups, many entrepreneurs are so focused on gaining new clients and customers that they fail to effectively address the need to retain those they already have.
All gung-ho and fresh out of the gate, startup entrepreneurs often find it more exciting to focus on customer addition, but ignoring customer attrition could eventually spell their downfall.
If you’re not willing to invest a bit of energy into building a relationship with your clients/customers, then don’t expect them to give you their loyalty or their money.
And, if the issue is laziness, then you’re not a person who is ready to lead.
You’re Fine With Sub-Standard Living While You Invest In Your Business
This last point might sound surprising, because isn’t entrepreneurship all about sacrifice? But, there’s a huge difference between making calculated sacrifices and neglecting yourself.
The most important relationship we can foster is the one that we have with ourselves. If we’re neglecting ourselves by failing to take care of basics such as feeding ourselves properly, or living in our own clean, habitable home, then we won’t have the energy or the creativity to build and manage a business.
Besides, would you trust your business or your money to someone who appeared as if they haven’t seen the bushy side of a washcloth in days, or weeks? How much credibility could you expect from your clients when you force them to meet you in a studio or garage apartment located in a seedy part of town?
Could you conduct business with someone who is short-tempered or who seems to be forgetful, because they’re hungry, malnourished, or sleep-deprived? How much respect can your customers/clients expect you to have for their needs when you’re not respecting your personal needs?
Now, of course, none of these apply to you, the smart entrepreneur/agency owner who reads industry articles in order to grow, both personally and professionally. At least, that’s the assumption.
But, if the assumption is wrong, then the good news is that you can still turn things around, or learn lessons that will suit you well the next time you attempt to start a business.
*Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net.