How to Know If There Is an Entrepreneur Hidden in You

Ever since the renegade cowboys of Silicon Valley made entrepreneurship trendy, almost everyone harbors the secret desire to become an entrepreneur. There’s no denying the fact that entrepreneurship is trendy. We bow in reverence to the entrepreneurs who went from having nothing to super-stardom (think Instagram, Snapchat, Airbnb, etc.) overnight.

While I do not want to take away the credit from the successful entrepreneurs, we need to be careful while treading the path to entrepreneurship…because it is easy to get carried away in its excitement and enthusiasm. There’s also the point that entrepreneurship is hard. It might look like a great deal of fun. It is hard to ignore the rewards. For those who have spent a reasonable time working for companies, entrepreneurship looks like a reasonable next step for growth. But how do you know if you are an entrepreneur? How can you be certain that there is an entrepreneur hidden inside you?

1.     Do you see problems, or do you see opportunities?

Some people will see a problem. And then some will see the same problem as an opportunity. No prizes for guessing which thought process the entrepreneurs follow.

Entrepreneurs are opportunity hunters. They view problems from this lens alone. No problem is unsolvable. Every problem fuels their need to innovate and look for solutions in unique ways. Today we have Uber as a service because an entrepreneur identified a problem that people face while traveling and came up with a unique solution to solve it. Do you have this attitude?

2.     Is your self-starter button on an ‘always -on’ mode?

Much like everything else in life, in entrepreneurship, attitude is everything. Entrepreneurs are a highly motivated bunch. The entrepreneurship mindset makes them self-starters. They won’t wait for someone to identify a problem and assign it to them to solve. These people will take initiatives and get things done.

Unlike an office job where you are paid for coming to work, entrepreneurship ensures that you get paid only when you put in the work. So, if setbacks don’t bother you, if you see them as an opportunity to do something better, if you are determined to overcome the odds, and can bounce back in the face of adversity, and if you are a highly motivated individual, you have an entrepreneur hiding inside you.

3.     How do you fall – Backward or forward?

Falling and failing is an innate part of life as they are of entrepreneurship. But how can this decide if you have a hibernating inner entrepreneur?

Let’s say you are the kind of person who is facing a crisis at your workplace. We all have experienced that at some point in our lives and careers. Do you respond to the situation at hand, or do you react?

Entrepreneurs are people who respondto difficult situations and setbacks. You will hardly ever find them being reactive. In that sense, when a situation looks like it’s going to bring them down, they fall forward, not backward.

They will take stock of the situation, they will assess what went wrong, why it went wrong and how can the situation be resolved in the shortest possible timeframe, with the least amount of disruption. They will take the learning from every difficult situation, embrace the criticism, never take it personally, add it to their experience reservoir for future problem solving and turn their setback into progress.

Gary Vaynerchuck, serial entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia confesses, “I love losing, because I know what you’re thinking about my loss, and I can’t wait to stick it in your face when I come back.

If setbacks rattle you, then this is a game better not played. But if you’re one who finds yourself even mildly excited when you hit rock bottom, then congratulations, you fit the entrepreneur bill.

4.     Satisfaction – what’s that?

Satisfaction, unfortunately, does not fit into the entrepreneur mindset.

Are you one of those few people who are not satisfied even when you’ve completed a task? Do you feel like you could have done it better? Or there could be a better way to do it?

Are one of those people in constant competition with oneself? Are you one of the few who want to smash their own personal best record always? Are your victories fleeting for yourself and you find yourself wanting new challenges to solve, and new setbacks to overcome?

If you say yes, to these questions and you know you are tenacious, then you should try and give that sleeping entrepreneur inside you the nudge it needs.

5.     You are creative

Yes. You read that right. Creativity is essential for entrepreneurship.

If you thought that creative thinking was only for writers or designers, you’ve got another thought coming your way. Entrepreneurs are highly creative people. They know that unless innovation is backed by creative thinking, you cannot build your own company.

Entrepreneurs don’t have to just be creative towards their idea. They have to be creative about everything. How will you manage to stretch the buck? How will you get the work done in a resource-constrained environment? What happens when your employees or partners get stuck at the work they are doing? How will you balance the expectation v/s reality from the client-side and the employee side? The list is quite endless, and this is beside the everyday problem-solving capabilities.

Research shows that while only 47% of people are creative thinkers, this number increases to more than three quarters when it comes to entrepreneurs. Look inwards and assess how creative you really are. If you are a creative thinker and a creative problem solver, then entrepreneurship is right for you.

6.     Incredible decisiveness

This is one trait that is the hallmark of every successful entrepreneur. A prized quality, it is also hard to master and tough to find. An effective entrepreneur takes decisions quickly. They need to think on their feet. And while they might feel ambivalent when making some decisions (such as hiring and firing, for example), they will push these feelings aside, make the decision and move on confidently. This is so because they have evaluated the thousands of permutations and combinations of the consequence of their decisions and know that things will work out…It might take time and some tweaking, but things will work out, nonetheless.  Are you such a person?

To say that entrepreneurs have to have risk-taking capabilities is akin to saying that the world is round. Unless you can take risks, you cannot be an entrepreneur. Look at Elon Musk and his risk-taking capabilities. He’s burned millions to the ground but still rises like a phoenix from the ashes, every single time. And then he goes on to take more risks.  So no, I’m not going to harp on ‘taking risks’.

But I will say this – with entrepreneurship comes great freedom and flexibility, but it comes with a prodigious amount of responsibility and even greater discipline. So, look beneath the surface. Dig deep. And then evaluate if you are wired for entrepreneurship.