Five Ways to Decide Whether to Become an Entrepreneur

Quitting your job and opening a business (physical or online) is more popular than ever, and no wonder! Anyone can launch a program, offer coaching, or create products for sale faster than ever. With the power of the internet, more eyeballs can find your offer than ever before.

However, this doesn’t mean everyone should pursue self employment, despite what online ads might tell you. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean only the most naturally talented people win. However, there’s a certain mindset required to become an entrepreneur.

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Entrepreneurship has different demands than a traditional job. It requires you to shift yourself away from the 9-5, same ol’ same ol’ mentality. You'll meet completely new challenges and be expected to handle them at a world-class level. This doesn’t mean you need to have hundreds of employees or millions in the bank. In fact, many of our success stories are solopreneurs and side hustlers. However, those folks accelerated into entrepreneurship because they deployed crucial mindset shifts to help them weather the inevitable storms. If this sounds like you, then entrepreneurship may be the right fit.

How do you detect a true entrepreneur? In our experience teaching students, we discovered some key mindset shifts that helped them to push through when others quit. The beautiful thing about these is that they ARE teachable! Neither Nick nor I were “born” entrepreneurs—we fought and clawed our way to make success on OUR terms. That’s the beauty of it all.

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The Five Ingredients for Entrepreneurship

1. Beyond Your Desk

For most people, “service” simply means doing a good job at work. They clock in, do the best they can, and leave. The idea of service starts and stops at their desk. However, when you become an entrepreneur, your service grows far beyond your desk. In fact, there’s no set job description. The scope of your role isn’t limited to bullet points, and there aren’t set-in-stone ways that you “contribute.” This is because you aren’t confined to a role anymore. You’re in charge now!

How do you know if this mentality is right for you? Think about it this way: You don’t have “job responsibilities” anymore. Your work doesn’t start or stop depending on what time it is. You start thinking about your business when you wake up and stop when you fall asleep. This isn’t for everyone, but if you’re prepared to work diligently and fundamentally redefine “service,”  you’ll reap the rewards.

2. Determine Your Goals, Determine Your Life

Employees and entrepreneurs have fundamentally different goals. Employees seek to (for the most part) stay within the lines, please their boss, and do a great job in a repeatable fashion. This works great for tons of people, giving them the security they need for their families and future. In short, their goal is to stay the course.

By contrast, entrepreneurs can’t afford to play it safe… unless they want their competitors to win. The field is incredibly competitive, so entrepreneurs have a different philosophy: Color outside the lines, challenge the status quo, and risk making mistakes to innovate.

Before you embark on this journey, I want to ask you:

Do you crave a stable or dynamic work environment? 

Do you crave or avoid competition?

What are YOUR goals for your life?

3. Embrace the “What If?”

Being an employee involves relatively little risk. You earn a position at a (hopefully!) stable company and know what to expect day-to-day. Employers crave employees who are quick to follow directions and repeat positive results. 

An entrepreneur, however, understands that every day is unknown. To find success as an entrepreneur, you MUST embrace the daily unpredictability—it’s the nature of the game. However, if an entrepreneur did the same thing over and over again, their business would end up in a ditch! The market constantly shifts, so any sensible entrepreneur has to constantly adjust to stay relevant.

Most successful entrepreneurs and business owners take risks consistently, even if they wouldn't confess to it. They embrace new challenges every day and quickly get bored, driving them to frequently explore new avenues in their business. If this sounds like a nightmare, entrepreneurship may not be for you. But if this sounds exciting, you might be discovering something about yourself!

4. It’s All Your Fault

As an employee, you have a higher up that’s in charge of you. They hold responsibility for your success, education, and fulfillment. So, when you or someone on your team messes up, the blame is ultimately on your superior.

By contrast, when you’re self-employed or own a business, there’s no higher-up to defer to… it’s ALL on you! This is a hard lesson to learn when you’re an employee because, unless you’re the CEO, there’s always someone above you. Once you take the leap, the buck stops with you and you alone. Remember: With great power comes great responsibility!

So, before you become your own boss, ask yourself if you care about the idea. It’s a massive mental shift to make, so be honest with yourself before you leave your 9-5.

5. Higher Risk, Higher Reward

You’ll encounter relatively low risk when you work as an employee. Zero risk is impossible, but working for a company is like riding aboard a cruise ship that shields you from the torrential tides of the market. This is an awesome option for those who prefer low risk and are content with their set compensation.

However, once you become your own boss, there’s no cruise ship anymore… just a small canoe that braves EVERY wave, ready to blow over at any moment. This sounds terrifying, but with bigger risks come bigger rewards! Nick and I transformed our lives by pushing forward, no matter how uncertain things felt. That’s the spirit of entrepreneurship.

I want you to ask yourself:

Are you a risk taker, or do you prefer safety? 

Do you dream of high payouts and tons of growth, or are you cool with a set salary?

There’s no “best option” here—just focus on what’s right for YOU and your family.

ALSO READ: A Book a Day Keeps Bankruptcy Away

Picture of Tom Gaddis

Tom Gaddis

Attended the School of Hard Knocks. A former restaurant manager in Oklahoma, Tom always wanted to be self-employed and free from the butt-smooching of the corporate world. He wanted success bad enough that he picked up his family, including two small children and moved to beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Starting from zero, Tom embarked on building a local marketing consulting business. And promptly fell on his face! It seems Hawaiians were lovely people, until you tried to sell them something! But he persevered and learned from his mistakes. Today he's arguably one of the most successful in his niche and expecting to grow over 100% this year alone.

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