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9 Questions for Determining if Running Your Own Business Is the Perfect Job for You

So you say you want to start a business. Ask yourself these nine questions before you get started. From Robin Ryan, author of What to Do With the Rest of Your Life: America’s Top Career Coach Shows You How to Find or Create the Job You’ll LOVE.

Take the business ownership assessment test to see if opening and running a business might be the perfect job for you.

Business Ownership Assessment

  1. Are you a self-starter? It will be up to you, not someone else, to develop the business, organize the projects, manage your time, and follow through on details.
  2. Can you handle the uncertain financial risk? Businesses all have cycles — ebbs and flows in profitability. Once it’s started, you’ll have overhead and operational expenses that must be met before you get paid.
  3. Do you have good business skills — accounting, business planning, operations, sales, marketing, and customer service? You must attract customers. New and repeat customers are your business’s lifeblood. You must possess or learn these skills to survive and succeed.
  4. Do you have the stamina needed to run a business? Business ownership is a lot of work. Can you face twelve-hour workdays, six or seven days a week, every week?
  5. Are you motivated by achievement? Many entrepreneurs get great joy out of the daily “wins” they get from running their business. They find it’s a competitive game and a satisfying way to fulfill their instinct to achieve. They have fun doing it. These people have a passion and driving desire to come in first. They are doers and want to derive benefits from their efforts and labor. They are unlikely to get “burned out” or worn down by carrying all the responsibilities of the business on their shoulders. To build a big business, the passion must burn within you.
  6. Are you a good decision maker? Business owners are required to make decisions constantly, quickly, under pressure, and independently. Do you research and examine all options on important decisions to minimize your risk but then decide and go forward?
  7. How well do you handle different personalities? Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of people, including customers, vendors, staff, bankers, and professionals such as lawyers, accountants, or graphic artists. Your ability to deal successfully with demanding clients, unreliable vendors, or cranky staff people in order to benefit your business will directly impact your success.
  8. How will the business affect your family? It’s hard to balance work and family demands during the first few years after starting a new business. There may also be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk. Can your family deal with the challenges business ownership requires? Although many entrepreneurs go on to make large incomes, the “lean years” are a necessary part of the evolution and business growth cycle. Equally important to consider are the many job perks — paid vacations, sick days, medical and dental insurance, stock options, cars, health club memberships — that disappear when you own the company. Think about the extra costs you will now incur.
  9. How will you deal with the isolation and/or change in status? Once you go off on your own, you’ll be just that — ALONE. Can you deal with being isolated? Will you miss the status, respect, and collegial connections that you had while working for an employer other than yourself? Don’t underestimate this — it’s the reason many consultants and service business owners close their own operations and reenter the corporate world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin Ryan is the author What to Do With the Rest of Your Life: America’s Top Career Coach Shows You How to Find or Create the Job You’ll LOVE (Copyright © 2002 by Robin Ryan) and other bestselling books, including 60 Seconds and You’re Hired! She has appeared on more than seven hundred television and radio programs including The Oprah Winfrey Show, and has been featured in Money, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, McCall’s, and Fortune, as well as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Chicago Tribune. She has a career consulting practice in Seattle and has helped more than five thousand clients land better jobs.

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