Should You Strike Out on Your Own? Or Will You Strike Out?

business"I should just start a ______ business."

How many times have you had the light bulb go off, thinking you can do it better than an established business or seeing an opportunity that hasn't been tapped? Having the idea is one thing -- but knowing if you're meant to be a boss is another thing.

Daniel Isenberg, professor of management practice at Babson College, suggests asking yourself some essential questions. If you can respond "yes" to the majority of the following statements, then owning your own business might just be for you.

  1. I don't like being told what to do by people who are less capable than I am.
  2. I like challenging myself.
  3. I like to win.
  4. I like being my own boss.
  5. I always look for new and better ways to do things.
  6. I like to question conventional wisdom.
  7. I like to get people together in order to get things done.
  8. People get excited by my ideas.
  9. I am rarely satisfied or complacent.
  10. I can't sit still.
  11. I can usually work my way out of a difficult situation.
  12. I would rather fail at my own thing than succeed at someone else's.
  13. Whenever there is a problem, I am ready to jump right in.
  14. I think old dogs can learn -- even invent -- new tricks.
  15. Members of my family run their own businesses.
  16. I have friends who run their own businesses.
  17. I worked after school and during vacations when I was growing up.
  18. I get an adrenaline rush from selling things.
  19. I am exhilarated by achieving results.
  20. I could have written a better test than Isenberg (and here is what I would change ...).

If you're destined to be your own boss based on this test, don't rush out and stretch your credit-card limits on a storefront and new business cards just yet. Isenberg says this is just the beginning. Consider other financial obligations and your timing.

An important point is that "I want to get rich" is not on his list. While some business owners do strike gold, according to Isenberg, the motivating factors should be more intangible: challenge, autonomy, recognition, excitement, and creativity.

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