Is the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in You?

You’re smart, you work hard and you have a strong desire to be successful. Yet, like many others, you may be wondering why you don’t feel fulfilled with your career. Growth, achievement and success all start with exploration. How happy are you personally and professionally?

Is work a chore or an enjoyable activity? Imagine doing something you really enjoy. How would it feel to take control of your life, connect your inner purpose and passion to your outer goals and achieve extraordinary results?

What’s holding you back from living your dream and doing what you’ve always wanted to do? Perhaps running your own business might be the solution.

Entrepreneurship can be a scary thought to many individuals. People talk about the importance of job security and expect that a career is to be tolerated rather than enjoyed; after all, you don’t get paid to have fun. So the price they pay for this security can be a lifetime of professional drudgery. On the other hand, starting up your own enterprise can be filled with demanding and disappointing moments, but there will also be the sense of personal achievement, gaining independence, developing new skills and creating your own rewards, all of which fuel a greater sense of purpose. The bottom line is that there can be an entrepreneurial opportunity out there that is just right for you. Ask yourself what it is you are looking for and then explore the steps that will allow you to bring this into your life.

The questions and exercises in this article can help to coach you through a personal and professional evaluation of whether the entrepreneurial spirit is alive in you. This process of self exploration can hopefully provide you with some clarity about pursuing your chosen path.

Step 1 — Make the Decision

For most people the idea of running their own business represents a monumental step to be taken — something very risky and only for certain individuals. While you may initially lose job security — for whatever that’s worth in today’s market — and many of your friends and family will surely tell you that you are mad, for the majority of people who have made this move, there’s never any going back. What have these people discovered?

The following exercise is designed to help you create positive emotions and intentionally move away from the fears that inevitably hold you back. When you put your fears center stage, you only confirm the same beliefs that have kept you stuck in unsatisfying circumstances for so long. Adopting a “why not” attitude allows you to think big and dream, and begin to contemplate whether you might be ready to make this type of change in your life.

On a scale from 1 to 10, rate each of the following statements. (1 = Don’t Agree; 10 = Totally Agree. (If not applicable, score the item a 5.)

  • I am ready to find and live my life's purpose. _____
  • I am ready to achieve a sense of fulfillment at work and in my life. _____
  • I am ready to make real and positive changes in my life. _____
  • I am ready and willing to overcome self-limiting beliefs and behavior. _____
  • I am ready to improve my personal or business relationships. _____
  • I am ready to create plans and take action to achieve my goals. _____
  • I am ready for more fun and enjoyment in my life. _____
  • I am ready to create more balance in my life. _____
  • TOTAL ____

Under 25
Perhaps now is not the right time to consider change.

25 to 50
You may need to think a little further about why you want to make some change and recognize that it will involve sacrifice and commitment.

Over 50
Congratulations, you are willing to do whatever it takes to create the life and business you deserve and desire.

Step 2 — Understanding the Bigger Picture

A career is a very important component in one’s life but is only one aspect of a bigger picture. What sacrifices are you prepared to make in manifesting your chosen enterprise? How will it impact your finances, your health, your relationships, etc? The following exercise will help you take inventory of the many facets of your life which are inextricably linked together. A major change in one can have a considerable impact upon another.

Rate each of the following from 1-10 to determine your satisfaction level with this aspect of your life. A one (1) would indicate totally unhappy while a ten (10) would be extremely happy.

  • Personal Development ____
  • Understanding Life Purpose ____
  • Career/Profession ____
  • Fun & Enjoyment ____
  • Intimate Relationships ____
  • Social Relationships ____
  • Family/Parenting ____
  • Health/Aging ____
  • Personal Finance ____

What do you see from your inventory? How would a change to following your entrepreneurial career path impact both your low level and high level scores? For example, if you scored low on personal finance, would embarking on your own business be more likely to place additional stress on your finances, or could it be the opportunity that opens the door to increased prosperity? Would this prosperity be immediately available or would it take some time to develop? Can your current financial circumstances support any investments you will need to make in order to start up your business?

How might your family be impacted by such a decision? If your family or intimate relationships are strained or you feel unsupported emotionally, these relationships may not be able to withstand the personal commitment required of you to get your business started. Are you willing to further strain these relationships or might this information provide the clarity you need to decide that it’s time to reconsider the role of these people in your life? On the other hand, your personal inventory might suggest that you and your partner may enjoy working in this business together.

Is the pressure of working in your current environment adversely affecting your health? If so, can you see the possibilities that following your own chosen career path might improve your health overall? Taking some time to reflect on your scores may provide insights as to whether you have the personal commitment, passion and support to venture out on your own.

Step 3 — Overcoming the Doubt

Are you satisfied that you are ready to make a change? If the answer to the above question is yes, you may skip this next section. If it is no, let’s consider it for a moment. What do you think might be holding you back? Is somebody telling you that you’re not good enough, you’ll get hurt or somebody else will get hurt? Are you making assumptions without possessing all of the facts? These questions address the common issues of negative self talk, limiting beliefs, assumptions and interpretations — call them “gremlins” — that inhibit so many people from taking control of their lives. Quite often, the simple acknowledgement that these may exist can help you deal with them.

Let’s illustrate this by focusing on the negative self talk that tells you that you’re not good enough. Where does this come from? Most likely from a parent, teacher or sibling who told you, perhaps 20 years or more ago, that you were not good enough. When somebody we love or respect says that to us, we do not forget easily. However when you fast forward to the present, does this really mean that you are not good enough today? Of course not!

With regards to becoming an entrepreneur and what might be holding you back, consider the following questions:

  • Who is your gremlin?
  • What is your gremlin saying?
  • What do you wish to say back?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • Who will get hurt?
  • What are you assuming will go wrong?
  • What’s your interpretation of what might happen?

It’s very understandable that people are burdened by many of these issues. They impact everybody in one form or another at various junctures of their lives, particularly when faced with a major decision such as becoming your own boss.

Step 4 — Can I do it?

If you have come this far and still remain enthusiastic about the possibility of doing something for yourself, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive in you! Entrepreneurs are the heart and soul of this country. 90% of people are employed by companies employing less than 10 people, and working for yourself can allow you to take control and chart your own destiny.

So what do you want to do? What taps into your skills and offers you the fulfillment you deserve? As a means of exploring this further, rate each of these statements from 1 (strongly disagree) to 10 (strongly agree) and see if an entrepreneurial move is right for you.

  • I have the confidence to succeed because I believe in my abilities. ____
  • I enjoy the idea of creating new opportunities. ____
  • I have the skills and resources to find creative solutions to practical problems. ____
  • I have the discipline to manage my own time . ____
  • I have the flexibility to deal with unforeseen circumstances. ____
  • A challenging new career is what I have always wanted. ____
  • Owning and running my own business excites me. ____
  • Providing my own products and services to others is energizing. ____
  • Total Score: ____

Under 25
Perhaps now is not the right time.

25 to 50
You are clearly on the track but may need to work on some of the above that scored low before making such a change.

Over 50
Congratulations, it sounds like you have the ability and desire to go it alone!

Step 5 — Making The Move

You have made it to this point and can seriously consider the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur. So what are some of the things you must do? The three most significant questions you must ask yourself are as follows:

  1. What is the product or service you will provide?Think about what you are passionate about. Could you make a business out of it? You must have absolute clarity around the product or service you wish to offer and be able to articulate this clearly and concisely. Often referred to as the “Elevator Speech,” if you had 20 seconds to explain what you do, what would you say? Your passion and enthusiasm developed from honing and repeating this speech to others is often your greatest form of advertising when you are starting off.
  2. Who needs this product or service?You must have the ability to identify the groups of people who need your product or service. You cannot be all things to all people; being clear about what your niche market is will allow you to focus on providing the best possible product or service to meet their specific needs. Is it for male or female, young or old, business or personal, high income or low income, etc? Who is your niche market?
  3. How will people know about this product or service?Once you are clear on your product/service and market, you can then decide the most appropriate means of communicating to these potential clients and customers. It could be through word of mouth, TV, radio or print advertising, flyers, etc but you must also balance this against the financial resources at your disposal. What will be the most effective and efficient means for you to reach your chosen market?

Running your own business is an evolutionary process. Circumstances will continuously change and you will learn through experience that some things work better than others. Be prepared to adapt. Expect some disappointments as well as reaping the results from bad decisions. These are not failures, just opportunities to learn. Your most basic requirement for success, however, is an absolute belief in your ability to succeed. If you have clearly identified and aligned with your inner purpose at the start, this spark will get you through the tough times.

Bill Sex is principal of New England Coaching where he coaches business owners and leaders to move to the next level, personally and professionally. New England Coaching also offers full certification training to aspiring professional coaches and leadership development through their Leadership Transformation Program. For further information visit us online at or call 508-842-5656.