You want to work for yourself - but do you have what it takes?

Being an entrepreneur means sacrifice, resiliency, discipline and delay of income.

At some point in our work life, we think about how it would be nice to make money for ourselves, to be our own boss, to stop enriching the lives of our boss, or to create a business from the product invented in your garage. Oh, the life we could have by running a small business.

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of this society. They create innovative products, they develop wonderful services and they make tons of money. This is the glamorous side of small business. The fact is, however, most people in our society could not handle being an entrepreneur. There are many reasons why most people don’t fit the mold of an entrepreneur, and Michigan State University Extension wants you to be prepared before you take that leap. The following are a few of them you should know.

Sacrifice is as much a part of an entrepreneur’s life as is the glamor of being your own boss. Time is something that you will never get back. And, as a successful entrepreneur, you will most likely be working 100-hour work-weeks in the start-up phase. This is because you are the production manager, the marketing manager, the sales manager, the custodial manager, the bookkeeping manager, the HR manager, and manager of all other tasks and responsibilities. You will miss some of your children’s softball games and you will have to work on most holidays. As an entrepreneur, work becomes your life: you will not pass up a sales opportunity, you will not miss deadlines and you will not abdicate your responsibilities to subordinates. You are your business: your business is you! You will have to sacrifice something. Sacrifice is a quality trait of successful entrepreneurs.

Resiliency allows an entrepreneur to be successful. Taking “no” is not something that a successful entrepreneur does. If the entrepreneur fails to make a sale to a customer, they immediate seek out another customer. If the loan officer declines a loan, the successful entrepreneur finds another funding source. If a customer cancels a large order, the successful entrepreneur secures a different order. If the entrepreneur is knocked down, the successful entrepreneurs gets back up, dusts themselves off, and does it all over again, just to be more successful the next time. Resiliency is a quality trait of successful entrepreneurs.

Discipline is the master of a successful entrepreneur. You have heard it before: promise what you can deliver and deliver what you promise. This means that successful entrepreneurs will work to finish the project to meet the customer’s deadline. The successful entrepreneur will not take on projects that are not a good fit for their business. The successful entrepreneur will have a laser-like focus on seeking out business that is a good fit for their enterprise. Discipline is a quality trait of successful entrepreneurs.

Delay is a concept well known by successful entrepreneurs. One of the most prominent items of delay is income. You will have to delay income until your business is successful. This could be from one month to 5 years or more. It all depends on your business. If you start a vineyard and winery, it will take years just to make a sale. Your income will be delayed for many years. If you start a consulting business, it could take you months to secure a contract, then it could take as many months to collect payment. Or, if you purchase a Major League Baseball franchise, you probable will not receive an income until you sell the franchise, which could be many, many years later. Delay of income is a quality trait of successful entrepreneurs.

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