Should I Become an Entrepreneur in 2021?

What is an Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is someone who starts and operates a business. Sounds simple enough.

Every business in the United States (and the world for that matter) is owned by someone who had an idea, took a chance, worked crazy hard, and somehow found a way to make it work.

What Type of Business Should You Own?

Small, sole proprietorship business:

This could be anything you can do to make a buck: mow lawns, clean gutters, write resumes, install roofs, sell used clothing, watch babies, wax cars, or fix computers.

One-person consulting shop:

You sell your knowledge or expertise. You manage yourself and keep the net income you generate.

Employee driven shop:

You hire and manage other skilled people and share in their income generation.

Passive income:

You create a product or service that sells or generates income without your active participation. Examples could include real estate investments or an internet-based business.

Major business:

This is the big one. Think copyrights, patents, angel investors, corporate headquarters, lawyers, accountants, human resources and IPOs. Say hello to Jeff Bezos for us.

Is entrepreneurship right for you?

Take our Career Test now and find your career matches!

The Risks of Owning a Business:

From the outside, business ownership often looks glamorous and financially rewarding to the point of being unfair. Someone starts a business, hires a bunch of employees, hits it big, and goes on to make millions or even billions of dollars.

We often see the companies that make it big, but we rarely see the millions of other companies that struggle to get by. We don’t see the long hours, the financial risks, the stress, or the exhausted and frustrated owners of companies that slowly fade away.

For every one of those billionaire companies, many more never make a dime. In fact, one in five businesses fail in their first year. Others make it a few years before giving up and closing the doors. One in two fail before their fifth anniversary. Seventy percent or more are gone before year ten.

Owning a business isn’t for everyone. Do you have the stamina to work 12-hour days including weekends with the possibility of making no money or even losing money?

The Entrepreneurial Mindset:

Entrepreneurs are special people. They are visionaries, they are driven, they are fearless, they have self-discipline, and they are motivated both internally and externally.


Entrepreneurs see opportunities where other people see only problems. They are always thinking about new ideas, new methods, and new approaches. They find pleasure in finding new ways of doing things. They seek out situations that require innovative solutions just for the joy of solving the problem.

Fearless and Determined:

They are not afraid to fail or take chances. When they fail (and they will) they get up and try again and again. They don’t blame others or politics or “the system” or the unfairness of life, they focus ahead and overcome obstacles through determination and effort. They overcome adversity, difficulties, hard times, and misfortune by finding a way through rather than blaming something other than their own limitations. They know there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on the past. They win by moving forward.


Successful entrepreneurs have self-control, self-discipline, and the ability to work completely on their own. Small business owners often work from home in an environment that may be chaotic or contain numerous distractions. To achieve success, they must plan and organize, manage their own time, set and achieve realistic deadlines, and create both short and long-term goals. The key to self-management is the ability to defer short-term pleasure in order to achieve long-term success.

Internal Motivation:

Entrepreneurs are motivated internally by winning, by accomplishment, and by the pleasure of success. They enjoy achievement for its own sake, not just for the money or tangible success that it can bring. They find deep fulfillment in proving themselves, by testing their limits, and by seeing what they can accomplish in this world.

External motivation:

Entrepreneurs are also driven by money and the opportunity for tangible success. The enjoy the opportunity to earn what they’re worth without the limitations imposed by a corporate environment. They are motivated by the chance to prove themselves to others and to gain the respect of peers and family for their achievements.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Entrepreneurs are special people. They are visionaries, they are driven, they are fearless, they have self-discipline, and they are motivated both internally and externally.

Should I go to college?

What Do You Need to Become an Entrepreneur?

A Passion for a product or service:

Many people become entrepreneurs because they have a passion for a particular product or service. Perhaps you love cutting edge electronics and you get a thrill out of sharing the newest innovations with people. Or maybe you have a hobby that you believe other people share.

Many entrepreneurs find pleasure in discovering and sharing solutions that will solve a problem that other people face. It could be a new medicine, a business innovation, or something as simple as a new soap that doesn’t leave a mess on the bathroom counter.

Often, the most successful businesses come from simply discovering what customers want. It requires listening to people and solving their daily problems. It could be a spray that keeps reading glasses from fogging, or a new type of packaging that keeps cheeseburgers from dripping on your pants while eating in the car.

Find a problem and solve it in an efficient and economical way and you probably have a business.

Expertise, Experience and Knowledge:

Put simply—Do What You Know. Many entrepreneurs start businesses based on what they already do in their day job. Maybe you’re a cook working for a franchise restaurant and you decide to open your own place. Maybe you have ten years of experience doing autobody work and decide to go out on your own. You might be the top salesperson working for a large company and realize you can make more working for yourself.

If you have a unique skill, a deep knowledge, or years of experience in a particular field, you might have the basis for your own business.

What Does It Take to Start Your Own Business?

In short, it takes a lot! For the best chance of success, you’ll need money, relationships, skills, expertise and the ability to plan, organize and execute.

Financial Resources:

You must have the financial resources to support yourself while you are getting started. This means having money to pay your bills while you spend additional money to start your business. Source one: Money from saving you put away while working a previous job. Source two: Money from a current job that continues while you build your business on the side. Source three: Other people’s money. This means borrowing money from family, friends or commercial lenders.

A word of caution: people who borrow money to start a small business are at a substantial disadvantage. It’s hard enough to turn a reasonable profit in a start-up without the added burden of making payments (plus interest) on an outstanding loan.

You are far more likely to succeed if have the discipline to save your own money or the stamina to continue working in a day job while starting your business on the side.

Personal Relationships:

They say that success is based on who you know more than what you know. Very true.

If you’re going to run a business, you better be ready to deal with people. For many businesses, your first customers will be people you already know. These might be friends, business associates, former customers, suppliers, vendors, and people you know through involvement in your community.

Building a strong network of personal relationships will allow you to reach the widest possible audience of potential customers. In addition, these customers may inherently trust you because they know you through personal experience, a common friend or a business associate.

These relationships will depend greatly on your ability to communicate on the phone, by email, in meetings, and possibly even speaking to large groups. Remember that regardless of what you sell, its people you are selling to.

Sales Skills:

There is an old quote, “Nothing happens until something is sold.” People who start their own business are often shocked to find that the world does not beat a path to their door.

Entrepreneurs believe that their product or service is so good that people will find them. Tragically, that’s not the reality. Think about the person who has created the greatest cookie recipe of all time. They get up early, start baking and make hundreds of cookies. By the next day, unless they have a powerful sales strategy, they will have nothing but boxes of stale, useless cookies. Nothing was sold; no money was made. The business is already in trouble.

One of the saddest moments in an entrepreneur’s life comes on the day they launch their website. If they are like most people, they spend months agonizing over every image, word and link to make their product or service sound its absolute best. Finally, the big day comes, and they launch the site. They sit back and wait for the traffic to hit and… nothing happens. At the end of 24 hours, they’ve had one click, from their mom, assuming she wasn’t too busy to take a look.

Business success takes a strong focus of sales and marketing. That means advertising, promoting, sending out emails, making telephone calls, knocking on people’s doors, and focusing every day on the benefits that you can bring to your potential customers.

The Entrepreneurial Checklist: Do You Have What It Takes?

Which of the following describes you on a daily basis?
Accomplishment: strong motivation for tangible achievements
Attention to Detail: the ability to concentrate on small elements
Business development: Marketing, growing, gaining customers
Communication skills: presenting ideas powerfully and logically
Competition: driven to win
Complying with regulations: adherence to laws and accounting principles
Desire for Wealth: strong motivation to earn a high income
Expertise: demonstrating a vast knowledge of specific field
Financial aptitude: knowledge and skill with money
Financial resources: access to capital
Freedom: the desire for independence and self-determination
Innovation: ability to find a better way
Marketing: communicating through advertising and promotion
Planning and Organizing: creating a system to maintain order
Problem-Solving: identify the cause of a problem and find a solution
Sales ability: the skill to influence and persuade people to buy
Self-management: self-control and self-discipline
Technical expertise: technical and product knowledge
Time Management: planning, organizing and controlling use of time

The “Career Decision-Making” Series:

This blog entry is one in a series of Career Guidance articles that we hope will assist you in finding your perfect career. The articles will be released in the following sequence. We hope you find them valuable.

  • Your natural intelligence: Ability to learn and comprehend
  • Educational achievement: Ability to apply intelligence
  • Entrepreneurial assessment: Desire and aptitude for self-employment
  • College majors: What you prefer to study and learn
  • Practical career matters: Career path, benefits, travel and stress.
  • Work ethic: Financial motivation, effort and personal drive
  • Market conditions: Job Growth, job availability and level of competition
  • Career options: Inside/Outside, Mental/Physical, etc.
  • Work environments: Where, specifically, do you prefer to work?
  • Career personality: Careers that match your core personality.
  • Career values: How do your personal values impact your career choices?
  • Career aptitude and talent: What can you do or learn to do?
  • Career interests and desires: What do you enjoy?
  • People preferences: Who would you most like to work with?
  • Job activities: Specific job activities you'd like to avoid.
  • Natural and learned skills: Skills that you enjoy and do well.
  • Elements of career satisfaction: Your specific career satisfaction elements.

Next Up:

Part Four: College majors

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