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Have you ever dreamed of making your own hours? Fantasized about creating your own product line? Had an idea for a business and been too scared to start?
The question of whether or not to start a business has been on many people’s minds as the pandemic has had us all thinking about job security, work-life balance and our purpose and goals in life.
Personally, I have always been fascinated by entrepreneurship. In fact, I have started more than 10 businesses in my life, from my baking business (attempted before I started college) to my failed printer business back when I lived in Nigeria (don’t buy an expensive printer you can’t afford to fix when it breaks) to my most current children’s coding-education franchise.
I taught myself to code and was looking to get a master’s degree in the STEM fields. I emigrated from Nigeria to the United States in 2010 to attend Tufts University and then started a job as a software engineer at Microsoft. By 2018, I was working as a software engineer while balancing life as a mom to two young kids. Balancing family and work became too much, and I quit my job to start my own business. That is how Code Wiz was born.
For me, the appeal of starting and owning my own business came from a desire to take charge of my life, be my own boss and have the flexibility that my family needed at that time in our lives. I learned a lot about owning a business and leading a team from my experiences starting and owning businesses — even the ones that didn’t pan out.
What was one of the biggest lessons I learned about business ownership? I heard people complain many times that they couldn’t start a business because business owners are “special” or “superhuman.” After starting many companies, I know that there is no superpower that makes a successful business owner. However, there are definitely some key traits and skills that will help you in your role.
Related: 6 Tips to Start Your Million-Dollar Business From Scratch
Here are four key questions to consider before you decide whether business ownership is the right step for you.
1. Are you a good problem solver?
Business owners should be described as full-time problem solvers. There will always be problems that arise as you own and grow a business — the key is to see all of the problems as opportunities instead of setbacks. If you are easily discouraged by setbacks or bad news, you likely won’t feel motivated to push through and find joy in the process of business ownership.
Experiencing self-doubt, negative feedback from those around you and imposter syndrome are all common — especially in your first year or two in business. The most successful business owners are those who can take negative feedback or real-time challenges and turn them into motivation. If you love solving problems and are not easily discouraged, business ownership could be a great option for you.
2. Do you have creative ideas?
Do your friends and family often say, “You have the best ideas” or, “You are always full of ideas,” because if they do, you could make an excellent business owner. When you own a business, you are constantly coming up with new ideas — for products, marketing strategies, boosting revenue, lead generation or how to improve company culture.
If you are a creative person, you may have thought that a business ownership role is not a fit for you, but creativity is actually a key aspect of owning a business. Yes, you likely won’t be painting or drawing (although you never know), but you will be challenged to come up with creative ideas every week.
If you love to be creative and are always bursting with new ideas, owning a business is a great way to share your ideas with the world.
3. Do you have lots of energy?
If you are someone that has after-work hobbies or if you are constantly seeking out new activities and weekend projects, you will likely have the energy required for owning your own business. Running a business is a lot of work, so you need to have a fired-up attitude and the energy to grow your brand every day.
Another way to look at this is that starting a new project that excites you is a great way to create more energy. Often we can feel depleted or constantly tired when we are working in a job that we find uninspiring or unstimulating. If starting a business fills you with that excited-nervous kind of energy, it could be a great career shift to consider.
4. Do you suffer from analysis paralysis?
Business is all about being quick and decisive. Problems arise all the time, and it is important to be able to make a swift decision, see how your solution works and then handle any consequences that may occur.
If you struggle to make quick, effective decisions and like to have more time to analyze problems before making a decision, you may have a difficult time owning a business. It is a fast-paced career and requires confidence under pressure.
Although confidence is a great skill to build and grow as a business owner, confidence is different from arrogance. Arrogance will not serve you well. Part of leading a team and a successful business is the willingness to accept your (and often others’) mistakes and learn from them to do better the next time.
Related: 5 Honest Truths About Starting a Business
What are the results after you asked yourself these four key questions? Is business ownership a good fit for you?
However you answered, the number-one thing I hope you take away is this: You do not need a special degree or superpower to own your own business. If you are a creative, energetic problem solver and you have an idea for a company or product, then go for it!