Knowing when it’s time to start your own business is a deeply personal choice. It’s a question that almost everyone has asked themselves (likely over and over again) in their professional career: Is it time for me to start my own business? Am I ready to become my own boss?
Taking the step into full-time business ownership feels a bit like stepping off the ledge of a cliff. No matter how much you’ve prepared for it, there’s nothing between you and the hard ground of failure below. You can only hope that the ropes and harnesses you’ve strapped yourself in with can hold you.
But, once that first, monumental step is taken, entrepreneurs around the world have discovered the joys of business ownership. Here are five signs that may be telling you it’s time to take your step.
1. You Have Business Experience To Share (and Sell)
These days, tech startups get all the glory. But, the reality is that sole proprietors make up about 73% of all businesses in the U.S. economy. And, collectively, professional services is a $1.76 trillion industry in the U.S.
The most common, and often easiest, way for people to get into business is by selling expertise. If you have significant experience and/or specialized expertise in a certain area, you have a marketable skill! Is it time to become your own boss and share that skill with the world?
2. You’re Passionate About Your Idea
Business ownership isn’t all fun and games all the time. There are long days (and nights), near constant pressures to sell and deliver, and periods of loneliness. Nobody can persevere through the challenges of business ownership without passion. We hear it time and again from Crestcom franchisees: passion is what keeps you going through the high times and the low times.
Make sure that you’re particularly passionate about the type of work you’re looking to do for your business. Often, it’s a passion for what you’re doing (like improving companies by developing managers into leaders). But it can also be about who you’re doing the work for. For example, is a specific company size, growth stage, or industry that you particularly love to work with?
Most importantly, you must be passionate about WHY you are doing it!
3. You Know Your Market
Knowing your market is critical to getting your business off the ground and growing it by providing relevant value to customers. Product (or service) market fit is sometimes the most difficult thing for new business owners to get right. But, there are many benefits to identifying and sticking to your market niche. Particularly when you’re just getting started.
4. You’re Ready for a Change
Have you been sitting at your desk at work wondering if you’ve reached your full potential? Perhaps you’ve sat stuck in traffic wondering if this is really the best use of your time. Maybe you love your job, but the idea that there’s something more out there is nagging you.
These are some of the thoughts that people begin to have when it’s time for them to make a decision. Do you keep doing what you’ve been doing for years, or is it time to take the next step in your career?
Business ownership isn’t for everyone. And it’s not for everyone all of the time. Perhaps you know that you want to start your own business someday, but that someday isn’t today. That’s OK! Just knowing it’s your goal helps you start to plan for it today. You can start laying the groundwork for becoming your own boss that will ease the transition in the future.
Some steps you can start to take today that will help you in the future are:
- Start saving to set aside startup capital: Even if it’s just to buy a new desk & chair, order business cards, and pay yourself a salary for the first few “skinny” months, you’ll need some cash to get going.
- Hone your relationship skills: Business is all about relationships, and operating your own business makes this skill even more important. You’ll need to be able to build and maintain relationships with your broader network, potential partners, prospects and, of course, customers.
- Hone your presentation skills: Most professional services businesses will require some form of presentation. You may need to present in-person or virtually via phone or webcast. These could be sales presentations, project proposals, results reports, and more.
- Think your niche: The mistake that most new business owners make is defining their target market too broadly. The thinking behind this is that you don’t want to limit yourself and your earning potential. However, you’re only one person (at least at the beginning) and you can’t be all things to all people. Define exactly the type of customer that you are best suited to work with—customers that you enjoy working with and that your expertise provides the most value.
5. You’re Ready To Learn—A Lot!
Maybe you’ve been working in your specialization for 20, even 30 years and you’ve seen it all. Starting your own business is still a completely different ball game. You’re going to make mistakes. And you’re going to have amazing breakthroughs. You’re going to learn more from working with your customers than you ever thought possible.
You will be amazed by just how much you don’t know. So, keep your mind open to new things and embrace the change. Business ownership is perhaps the best personal and professional growth opportunity out there, so take a deep breath and enjoy the wild ride!