Do you have a mind for business? To tell you the truth, I never thought of myself as entrepreneurial. Having nurtured a long enough career in the tech industry, I imagined myself as becoming a “lifer” who would be working the 9 to 5 for some time. So imagine my surprise when I ended up changing course quite unexpectedly to try the entrepreneurial route.
There were many reasons for this but my main motivation to strike it out on my own was to try to achieve a better work/life balance and gain a more flexible schedule; all this to help support the daily needs of a growing family. I had documented my plans, feelings and concerns about transitioning from employee to entrepreneur in these posts (what I refer to as “retirement” here actually means “retiring from being an employee”):
- What Price Are You Paying To Have It All? The Supermom Myth
- My Ideal Work Life: Achieving A Balance Between Family & Work
- Quitting My Job, Retiring Early: 5 Steps To Lifestyle Change
- Ready To Retire Right Now? Find Out If It’s Time To Quit The Rat Race
- Basic Business Advice from an Accidental Entrepreneur
As far as motivations, there’s nothing unique here — many people have the same goals in life and work as I do. But I feel that necessity and serendipity also played a part in steering me in this new direction as an “internet entrepreneur”: it was also because of worrisome health conditions that I decided to quit my job and veer away from my usual routine — all of which turned out to be caused by stress issues that I could no longer manage. Well, miraculously, the health issues cleared once I started doing my own thing! My medical bills have dropped from several hundred bucks a month down to zero. As you can see, becoming an entrepreneur has some great perks and benefits that go beyond the financial.
Image from UC Santa Cruz
But as mentioned, I’ve always doubted that I was cut out for entrepreneurship. I play too conservatively and have a great desire for stability and security. As they say, we all have a certain relationship with money; while many of us wish we had more of it, we are all motivated to want it for various and differing reasons. In my case, I look upon money as a means to feel more secure and stable — I do have a bag lady mentality after all .
More thoughts on this by our guest writer, Jacques Sprenger:
Image from Getty Images
Do You Have A Mind For Business? How Entrepreneurs Think
A neuroscientist informed his online readers that businesspersons’ and entrepreneurs’ brains perform differently when they have to make a money decision, that is, different from managers who do not own a business. He says: the entrepreneurs displayed much riskier behavior by consistently betting larger amounts when gambling. Even though their logical processes were very similar, the main difference was in the amount they risked. Now I know why I am not a professional poker player!
Taking A Calculated Risk
The author adds, not surprisingly, that gambling addicts are quite different from business risk takers. Entrepreneurs are much more creative and will not gamble their money, they will risk it only after analyzing the odds of success very carefully, unlike the compulsive gambler. So we can realistically ask: “Can one learn to become an entrepreneur or successful businessperson?”
The author is hesitant to say yes because our individual neurochemistry is so different from one individual to another. He even suggests, very timidly, that using drugs like Ritalin can facilitate our transformation. Well Ghosts of Bill Gates! Don’t even consider this; the best advice I can give you is to act within your limits and you’ll prosper — modestly or amazingly according to your levels of dopamine (produced naturally by the brain, not by your local drug pusher).
The Entrepreneurial Quiz
Another scientist, Thomas Harrison, accepts the role of innate factors: while Harrison concurs that there are indeed born entrepreneurs, he concedes that others may have latent traits, which can be teased out and developed by using the eight techniques that he describes (in his book called Instinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA). So do you have a chance in business? His intriguing book attempts to make that determination.
Now this site offers you a businessperson test. It suggests that the first question you should answer when you are thinking of going into business is “Am I the type?” You are going to have at least one very important employee — yourself, of course — so it would be interesting to see where you stand (and if you have the disposition) before launching a venture.
Were You Born an Entrepreneur?
You can also try another test that will help you determine whether you have the right stuff to open your own business: think back to your childhood. Take for instance the case of two sisters, who are now over 30, who couldn’t have been more different. The older one was more introverted, more intellectual, and more careful in every aspect of her life. The younger one was totally extroverted and very early in life decided to open her own business. She bought a bunch of candy with her allowance and took it to the elementary school where she proceeded to sell it at a handsome profit. She was only 6 years old. Needless to say, she is now the proud owner of three houses where she collects the rent every month. Her sister decided it was easier to marry a rich guy.
Of course you can open your own business without being Bill Gates; there are now many options (remember that crisis means opportunity) out there that only require a small investment and a little training, such as franchises. If you are a good administrator — something that can be learned — it may be enough to be successful. Think of all these “kids” who write applications for the iPhone and make a fortune. They risk absolutely nothing. So talk to your entrepreneurial friends: learn from them or ride on their coattails. And take a chance, if you dare!
Thanks to Jacques Sprenger for his contributions to this article.
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