To make a successful go at the startup life, you need the right mindset and environment. Here are five signs that entrepreneurship isn’t for you.
As venture capital investing hits levels that were previously known only to the dot-com era, more and more people are striking out on their own as entrepreneurs. The startup ecosystem is booming, with unheard-of IPOs and acquisitionsmaking national headlines proving it’s a great time to be a startup founder.
However, the life as a startup founder is a rocky one. It can require more hours and more energy to produce fewer results. Suffice it to say, entrepreneurship is a journey that some people are not ready to embark on.
Here are five signs that you might want to stick with your day job and put your startup dreams on hold.
1. You don’t have a support system
When someone comes to Jason Hogg, a professor of management at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, wanting to be an entrepreneur, he always asks them the same question, “Do you have a support network (family, friends, spouse, colleagues) that supports you in taking this leap?”
In order to achieve success as an entrepreneur, you need to have an established network of people that are willing to support you, and that support starts at home. If you don’t have support, especially from spouse, you could end up making poor decisions for the business based on personal reasons. You won’t feel empowered by the people around you.
“You need professional and personal mentorship and community around you in order to have these types of communities grow. Because, without that, you’re going to burn out pretty quickly,” said Moj Mahdara, CEO of Made With Elastic.
Startup founders have to be ready to face defeat. James Sun, Chairman and co-founder of Anomo and a finalist on season six of The Apprentice, calls this the door slam effect. This is the same thing faced by people in sales and, without a support system, it will be a lot harder to keep that rejection from getting under your skin. Also, it’s important to know there are people who believe in you and are rooting for you.
Don’t underestimate the power of having people in your corner.
2. You have a paycheck dependency
“One of the first questions I ask all my friends who want to be entrepreneurs is, ‘Are you ready to go without a salary for sixth months?,'” Sun said.
Sun’s view might be hard to swallow, but it is realistic. Some founders take it even further than six months. Phil Dumas, of Unikey Technologies, waited until he had enough money saved up to go two years without taking a paycheck, and he ended up going two and a half years before he cut a check to himself.
As a founder, especially if you have other employees, your money is obligated to other people before it is your own. Sun said this is especially true if you are raising an early round of financing such as a seed round. If a seed or Angel investor puts money into an early stage company, they’re probably going to be averse to you paying yourself with it.
According to Mahdara, would-be founders should be able to stave off their worries about more than just their paycheck.
“Whenever someone says to me that they’re concerned about how they’re going to get healthcare, pretty much lets me know that they are not an entrepreneur. I know that sounds really silly, but those are the kinds of things that, when you’re starting a company, you just don’t think about,” Mahdara said.
Not only do you have to be willing to waive your paycheck, but you also must be ready to learn.
3. You’re unwilling to learn new roles
Too many entrepreneurs set out to start a company with the view that they will be able to utilize their specific skill set. You’re in for a rude awakening if you think…