Despite all the beautiful pictures on Instagram, not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship can lead to a life of freedom, and benefit the people a business serves. Or, it can be a nightmare if someone isn’t cut out for entrepreneurship. It’s not a one-size-fits-all choice for everyone.
I took the opportunity to become an entrepreneur at 19 years old. No one in my life at that point was an entrepreneur, so I took the leap without any firsthand knowledge or mentors to guide me. The business grew to half-a-million dollars a year, but I ran it into the ground. I didn’t know what I was doing and wasn’t ready. I’m now 35. My second business — a lifestyle business — allowed me to clear up the debt from the first business so I was able to sell it.
Today, I have a business that allows me to write, speak all over the world, consult and coach. I love what I do because I was ready for this business. Before you make the leap into entrepreneurship, you need some certainty. Life isn’t a movie where things magically work out. You can’t be 100 percent certain of anything in life, but there are six signs important signs that you may not be ready or cut out for entrepreneurship.
1. You aren’t self-motivated.
Entrepreneurship is lonely at times but you only get out of it what you put in. The ability get things done working alone is important. You have to be self-motivated to complete tasks, especially when you don’t feel like it. If you are the type of person who needs a boss telling you what’s next, you are not read
2. You haven’t established the foundation.
Before you consider leaving that steady paycheck, you should have a foundation established. This foundation includes a generous emergency fund—you never know when things won’t work out as planned. It should also include a strong financial base. Your debt shouldn’t be out of control and you should have enough currently to pay your bills comfortable. Income from entrepreneurship can be sporadic and you want to prepare the best you can.
3. You get flustered under pressure.
The stress of a business will be overwhelming at times. You have to juggle running the business while dealing with pressure from many angles. If you crumble under pressure and stress, think twice about entrepreneurship.
4. You haven’t done enough research.
Whatever business you want to start will require research. Before you take the first steps you should become an expert on what it will take to be profitable. The Internet and social media provide an opportunity to do some efficient research on building a profitable business. Take advantage.
5. You have no passion for the business you want to start.
Passion isn’t enough to build a business but you better believe it’s an important part of the equation. There are times when a business feels like a job. Your passion is what reminds you of what you have. It helps you continue to move forward. If you don’t have a passion for any one thing, you are not ready for entrepreneurship.
6. Your growth strategy is what somebody else did.
Growing a business can be fun, or it can frustrate you into quitting. When there’s a lack of growth or research, people turn to copying a successful entrepreneur. What worked for someone else probably won’t work for you. Each of us is different and so are our businesses. We have to find what works for us where we are in the process. If you are relying on copying someone else, you are not ready for entrepreneurship.
Don’t leave your day job if you’re not ready for the uncertainty that comes with entrepreneurship. I love having a business and the freedom entrepreneurship provides, but I recognize how hard this life can be.
Get honest with yourself about what you want from life. Get honest about whether entrepreneurship is right for you, and if you’re ready. It takes some time to get ready. That’s fine. It’s better to build your dream on the side with a plan than to turn a dream into a nightmare.
Photo: Flickr/ Trey Ratcliff
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.