10 Red Flags That Signal You Aren’t Cut Out for Self-Employment

This post originally appeared on BlogHer


People often ask me – how did you know you were cut out to be your own boss? How do you deal with the anxiety? The risk? The learning curve? There are many ways to be successful… I coach my clients how to navigate the inner and outer obstacles all the time. Yet, I will be the first to say that self-employment is not for the faint of heart, it’s not for everyone. So, how do you know if it’s right for you?

First off, there is no hard and fast rule. There is no one size fits all. Some people look like they would thrive as their own boss and then find they hate it. Others seem at home in corporate and yet break free and thrive as a business owner. You can’t tell just by looking at or talking to someone. After all, there are so many different types of businesses you could own…from being a solopreneur in a traditional field (lawyer, accountant, etc.) to being a high risk-taker in a cutting edge startup to becoming a franchise owner… and each has its own culture if you will.

Yet, there are some definite red flags you can be on the lookout for that would scream – stick to a steady paycheck.

1) Control Freak Syndrome – if you are a control freak and need everything “just so” and highly predictable, you likely won’t be able to stomach the ride of being self-employed.

2) Lacking Discipline – if you absolutely cannot follow through to things you commit to without having someone wielding a stick, you better stick to a job where you have a boss calling the shots.

3) Low Self-Worth – if you are looking to someone or something else to give you a solid sense of self-worth, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You are enough just as you are…much like when looking for a relationship, don’t look for your business to make you whole.

4) Unwilling to Take and Accept Risks – being your own boss is all about taking risks, calculated risks. If the idea of sound, calculated risks freaks you out to the point of paralysis, you need to do some deep personal growth work first before you take the leap.

5) Passion for What You Do — do not start a business because it seems like the next big thing or someone else tells you to. You need to be truly passionate about the product or service you offer if you want to succeed.

6) Give Up Easily — perseverance is one of the most important traits you can have as a business owner. One of the reasons so many small businesses fail is because the owners weren’t willing to stay at it or go the distance (or ran out of money before they could).

7) Dislike People — you do not have to be an extrovert or a raving people person to succeed, but you do have to be effective at dealing with others. Business is about relationships – period.

8 ) Unwilling to Delegate – while you may need to do all tasks when you get started, if you are not willing to delegate, you will burn out guaranteed.

9) Inflexible – if it is always your way or the highway, stick to the cubicle. While you don’t want to be a wallflower without boundaries and you never want to let others take advantage of you, you need to be able to bob and weave to adjust to business relationships and an ever-changing business climate.

10) Seeking Guarantees – there are none. I might point out that there are no guarantees when you work for someone else either, but there certainly is more predictability. If you want absolutes, focus on death and taxes, they are the only two you can count on.

Do you own your own business? If so – what other red flags would you add to this list? Would love to hear them…

Are You Cut Out for Self-Employment

Credit Image: rvw on Flickr

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