I Want to Be an Entrepreneur!

Original Spanish version published in Mujeres Batalla magazine (Peru) on August 8, 2014

I think that almost everybody dreams about being an entrepreneur and having their own business. I see it constantly in my work: people who have worked as employees and decide to change course and, instead of looking to reposition themselves, decide to start their own business.

The reasons for doing so are many: healthy ambition, wanting to be their own boss –never to be dismissed again–, the need to create a better future for themselves, and so on.

Whatever the reason, the important thing is to be responsible and develop a complete, realistic, and, above all, financially feasible business plan. A failed business (which happens 80 percent of the time) can drag us into debt and result in important losses, even obliterating the family’s savings. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to see if we have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur:

  • Good health: Someone who starts their own business is going to work hard and without rest for 12, 14, or more hours a day, seven days a week. Being an entrepreneur is exhausting, especially in the first few years.
  • Little need for status: At first there is going to be little recognition and zero status or power. You are the doorman, messenger, computer technician, electrician, and even handyman in your own business. This can be a shock, especially when coming from a large organization where others did the heavy lifting.
  • Interpersonal skills: It is essential that you get along well with suppliers and earn their trust, gain new clients thanks to a contact network, inspire your co-workers, and attract investors.
  • Self-confidence and perseverance: Do not give up, not at the first, or at the tenth attempt. The challenge can only be met with perseverance; by being unwilling to fail or to give up in the face of the problems and challenges that will arise on a daily basis.
  • Be realistic: Entrepreneurs must dream and trust their dreams and instincts. However, you must also see things as they really are, because there are things that can be done and some that cannot. You cannot build castles in the sky, for yourself or your family.
  • Be smart: You must keep alert and be discerning to what is happening in the business world. You must have the ability to leverage opportunities and direct –or redirect– your business according to market needs.
  • Emotional stability: This point is decisive and I share this with you from my own experience. There will be ups and downs along the way. It will feel like a constant emotional roller coaster, with very good weeks when you feel like you have conquered the world and others when everything goes wrong. That is why you have to have a well-tempered spirit and be mature enough to recognize and accept that things are harder than you thought they would be.

Nevertheless, you must persevere, persevere, and persevere. Good luck to all of you who have decided to be entrepreneurs! And welcome!

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