Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

How to Find Your Place in an Entrepreneur World

Business people standing in front of map of the worldDeciding to become an entrepreneur is just the beginning of a major life change. The idea of owning your own business and controlling your schedule excites you, but you’re not yet sure exactly what it is that you should do. Thankfully, by answering the following questions you can narrow down your choices and find your place in the entrepreneur world.

What are your interests?
While you don’t need to be an expert in the business you choose in order to start, it will help you get ahead of the game if you have some interest in the field already. And if you have a passion for it, even better.

How much starting capital do you have?
Don’t panic if you have nothing saved up to get started, but it’s important to be accurate and know what you have before you begin. Figure out if there are things you can sell quickly to gather some money to get you going. If you have a number in mind then you’ll know which business ideas are out of bounds and which ones you can truly make happen. This is not the time for pie-in-the-sky thinking, this is a time for being realistic.

What skills do you have?
Even if you’re not sure yet what you want to do, identify the skills that you have. Do you enjoy people? If so, what kind of people do you like the most and who would you like working with the most? Often, starting with your target audience is the best way to choose a business. If you can narrow down your skill level and the type of people you want to work with, you will get far in choosing a business start-up idea.

What skills can you buy?
When you start a business it’s important to realize that you cannot (and should not) do everything. If your budget is super tight you might have to start with what you know instead of what you can buy. However, knowing what you can buy will help you imagine the future as your business grows.

What skills should you learn?
If you’ve realized you have holes in your skill level, are they skills you can easily learn? If something has come to mind that needs licensure, how difficult is it to get? How long will it take? What will it cost? How will you get to the classes; are they online or offline?

What resources do you have?
Some of the resources you already have might include a computer, internet access, and even your skills and people that you know. Make a list of any resource, be it a person, place, or thing that can help you reach your business ownership goals.

What resources do you need?
As you listed the resources that you have, you likely came up with some resources you do not have but need to get. Don’t panic; just make the list and think about listing them in order from "must have" to just "want to have."

What type of personality do you have?
Are you reclusive? Do you enjoy spending long hours in front of your computer or would you like to do something that is more active? Do you like being with a certain type of person? Are you a morning person or a night person? When you identify how you work best and whom you work best with, it will help narrow down your choices.

What is your risk toleration level?
Everyone has a certain level of risk aversion. One way to look at it is to ask: how much can you stand to lose without destroying your marriage, losing your home, or giving up time with your children? If you have a low tolerance for risk, you may not want to become a day trader.

How much time do you have to devote?
If you currently have a job that you have to go to and are just wanting to start a business part time, it’s important to identify how much time you can realistically devote to getting a business off the ground at the moment. Even if it’s just two hours a night after dinner, that is something you can do to start a business. But, the amount of time along with the other information you’ve gathered here will help narrow down your choices.

Answering these questions can help you determine the area you should enter into as an entrepreneur. Giving the next steps after your self-evaluation a lot of thought and consideration as you craft a plan of action will ensure your success in the long term.

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