10 Signs You're Ready to Start a Business
Updated: Apr 13
Tempted to set up your own business but don’t know if you should take the leap? More and more women are becoming entrepreneurs, as self-employment promises career satisfaction and the flexibility working mums crave. But it’s not for everyone. Find out if you’ve got what it takes
Written by Emma Waltham | Career Returner Expert |
The world of work isn’t set up for returning mothers. Finding a job that pays well and has the flexibility to go to sports day and the school play is an uphill battle. So many women decide to go it alone and launch a business of their own. If you’re wondering whether to take this leap, check out these 10 signs to see if you’re ready for entrepreneurship.
1. You’re an Idea Factory
Do you wake up in the morning full of ideas for your business, because you’ve spent the whole night dreaming about it? Are you in creative overdrive, with thoughts constantly bubbling up on what you could do and how you could do it? Are you the kind of person who thinks up ways to do things more efficiently or better?
Entrepreneurs are visionaries who can imagine a big picture and can think of myriad ways to create their vision. If you can’t think of an idea or feel stuck when it comes to how to make it real, that’s a sign you are not ready.
“Entrepreneurs are visionaries who can imagine a big picture and can think up myriad ways to create their vision”
2. You’ve Spotted a Niche
Have you identified a problem that needs to be fixed, a pain point that you are perfect for easing? Is this difficulty challenging enough that someone will pay you to fix it? And can you charge enough to make a profitable business?
Can you describe what you want to do in a sentence when someone asks you what your business idea is? Do you know how you’re going to reach your customers and convince them to buy from you? Your product or service doesn’t have to be unique, in fact, if you wait for a one-off idea to come along, you could be waiting a long time. Your offering does have to be as good as your competitors’ though, and ideally it should be better.
It’s good to be flexible too. Don’t be too fixed in what you want to sell. Once you start engaging with your market, be prepared to tweak or rethink. You don't want to invest too much until you know it’s a viable proposition.
3. You’re Passionate
Launching your own business is a huge amount of work, a time when you have to put in a lot of effort and for a long time you can feel like you are getting little – or nothing – in return. It can be demoralising and you will need resilience and self-belief to make it through the early years. You need to be passionate about your idea, excited about working with your market and driven to reach your goal. If you don’t have that fire in your belly, you will likely give up along the way when you come up against yet another hurdle.
"If you don’t have that fire in your belly, you will likely give up along the way when you come up against a hurdle"
4. You have Biz Expertise
Every successful startup founder had to be an entrepreneurial newbie once. Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you won’t be a success. And don’t be put off by some idealised stereotype of twenty-something disrupters owning the startup space. Recent research into enterprising entrepreneurs showed that the average age of the founders of the fastest growing tech startups was 'about 45 years old — and 50-year-old entrepreneurs were about twice as likely to have a runaway business success as their 30-year-old counterparts'. This makes sense because those are the people with the business and life experience to succeed.
You don’t need to have set up a business before but you are more likely to transition to successful entrepreneurship if you’re making a pivot rather than a leap. You will also be at an advantage if you have business skills – marketing, finance, strategy, hiring, people management, etc. If you haven't, consider coaching or training to fill the skills gap.
“Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you won’t be a success”
5. You’re Ready to Learn
Whatever you’ve done before, launching and running your own business will be a stratospheric learning curve. There is so much more to it than just providing the service or product. You’ll have to wear a lot of hats, especially in the beginning – you’ll be the head of HR, product development, marketing, finance and sales, the list goes on! Are you prepared to learn what you don't know yet? Can you identify what your skills gaps are and how to fill them? Can you continue to do that while you are in the thick of the day-to-day running of your business?
6. You’re Ready to Fail
Are you prepared to step out of your comfort zone? There will be failures ahead if you choose to startup your own business. It’s inevitable – no one can choose the right path every time when there is no map. You will need an optimistic and resilient mindset. You will need to understand that every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. Mistakes are the very best way of learning. When things don’t go to plan, can you frame it that way? Are you able to process what has happened, understand what was in your control and what wasn’t, and make changes that will make the difference next time?
You need to be able to deal with uncertainty. No one knows what is going to happen to your business, it might be a huge success, come to nothing, or be something in the middle. You can’t know this. How will that affect you?
If you are too frightened of failure to take the leaps into the unknown that you will need to take, if you cannot accept your own vulnerabilities, you are not yet ready.
“There will be failures ahead if you choose to startup your own business. It’s inevitable – no one can choose the right path every time when there is no map”
7. You Can Think for Yourself
Are you a problem-solver? When you are a business owner, the buck stops at you. You can consult others and ask for opinions, but at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with being the decision-maker and taking responsibility for the outcome. If you are not confident about being in the driving seat, you will struggle to move forward, and every time you make a decision, that will just lead to another choice you have to make.
Can you be the boss? No one else is going to hold you accountable for your performance. Can you hold yourself to account? When something comes up, like that important but intimidating networking event, will you go with no boss telling you that you should?
8. You Have Support
You can’t do this on your own. You’ll need people and resources to support you. Have you got family and friends on your side willing you on? Can they pick up the kids from an after-school club while you go to a networking event? Can they help you work out how to set up a website or Facebook business page? Can they pay the bills while you wait for the money to roll in?
Have you got the software you need and a physical space to work? Do you have a coach or mentor to turn to when you just don’t know what to do next? Do you appropriate financial support? This could be a part-time job you do on the side, while you build up your revenue. It could be a savings cushion or outside investment. Be prepared for it to take a while before the business pays its way.
Have you got the energy and time you need? If you don't, work out what support you need to put in place to free it up.
9. There’s Pull and/or Push
There’s no doubt about it, launching a business is difficult and draining – which is why so many (around 80%) fail in the first few year. It could well be easier just to get a job. Yes, you might not get the flexibility or autonomy you are yearning for, but you will get a regular salary and those weighty decisions will be on someone else’s shoulders.
Is it worth it? Only you can answer that. You need to feel a substantial push or pull to say yes. The push could be that the work you are doing, or could be doing for someone else, is just so wrong for you that you can’t face it. It could be so frustrating or limiting that you need to make a change.
The pull is towards your goal or vision – the future success you see ahead for yourself that will carry you through the difficult times. Is the pull creating something meaningful? Is it spending the school summer holiday working poolside at a villa in France while the kids play in the sun? Whatever goals and values you want to satisfy, are they a powerful enough pull?
“It could well be easier just to get a job. Yes, you might not get the flexibility or autonomy you are yearning for, but you will get a regular salary and those weighty decisions will be on someone else’s plate”
10. You are Super Organised
This last one might be boring but it is a foundation stone to success. Are you the kind of person who can prioritise and focus, to keep all the important plates spinning? Unless you are a visionary with a business partner who can do that for you, you will need to be very organised to pull this off. If you’re good at time management and understand where to put your efforts to get the most return, then that's a good sign.
If you’re one of the many women returners considering launching their own business, there’s never been better time. So many mums with successful careers behind them, bags of expertise and ambition, are ready and able to do their own thing after having children. They want to have the work-life blend that works for them and an interesting career, and that’s such a challenge to find out there in the workplace.
But working for yourself is just as much of challenge, if a different one. These 10 Signs will give you an insight of whether you are ready to take the leap. They aren't the be all and end all, just a guide. If you can say you have majority of them, that’s promising… and no one has them all ticked off. If you wait for all your stars to align before you follow your heart, you will probably be waiting forever. If can’t say yes the majority of these signs then that's a warning sign. Ask yourself whether you are ready yet. It doesn’t mean you aren’t entrepreneurial material. You might just need address some of these areas first.
If you're ready to progress your career and get the support you need to do the work required, book a FREE consultation call with me today. Find out how I can help you get into the perfect position to return to work confidently, into a dream role that pays well and works with family life