I believe I was born to be an entrepreneur. I grew up in Oakland, Calif., to a legal secretary and an Alameda County sheriff who later turned in his gun, saved up his money, and bought a small convenience store. As a kid, I was proud of my dad being a boss. I loved his freedom—freedom to come on school field trips with me or to take me on errands after school, to pick up supplies or go to the bank. When I was in first grade, I even wrote a little story about what I wanted to be when I grew up—a storekeeper … and a mom.
While I initially pursued a “safe” career, I ultimately listened to something within me an eventually started my own businesses. After nearly 10 years, however, the economy strangled the life out of my little stores. At first, the pain and humiliation of closing my businesses crippled my spirit. But sure enough, a few years later, I’m back in deep entrepreneurial waters again. Why? Because I believe this is what I was born to do. What about you?
Signs You Have the Entrepreneurial Spirit:
1. You Use Words Like Zeal, Passion, and Light to Describe Your Vision. When I was creating my day spa, every aspect of it (from my business plan to the spa’s design to the development of the employment manual) lit me up from the inside. Do you have passion for the process of creating your business?
2. You Are on a Vision Quest. Entrepreneurs are the artists of the business world. Like a painter sees a painting, or a musician hears a melody, I see business concepts. And I can’t rest until that concept, or quest, is complete. You hear entrepreneurs say often that the thrill is not the money, but the thrill is bringing the vision to life. I agree.
3. You Are Resilient. When problems arise, do you quit and say things like “Oh! This is a sign it’s not meant to be!” If so, chances are you are not an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur’s job is to find solutions so the business will thrive. And when (temporary) defeats happen, we learn, we strategize, and most importantly, We. Keep. It. Movin’.
4. You Engage in “Soul-Centered” Decision-Making. Most entrepreneurs are highly intuitive, knowledgeable folks. Entrepreneurs trust their own judgment. They research. They seek counsel. But ultimately, they make their own decisions. Great leaders are led by their spirits and rarely second-guess their gut.
5. You Are a Hustler. Some don’t care for the term, but frankly, I love it. An entrepreneur will do whatever needs to be done for the good of the business. As a result, entrepreneurs—often to the dismay of their loved ones—are workaholics. It may be a cliche, but when you love what you are doing and are in aligment with your purpose, it rarely feels like work.
6. You Are a Calculated Risk Taker. This is probably the single most important characteristic entrepreneurs possess. Some people like the idea of owning a business, but their need for security and their fear of failing hold them back. To an entrepreneur, the desire to realize the vision is immensely greater than the fear of failure. And honestly, most of these folks don’t fear failure—they fear someone bringing their idea to the table before they get a chance to!
Many people have management skills and can operate a business, but the criteria above are not learned skills. They are literally the DNA of entrepreneurs. When you understand what you are made of, you have the clarity and focus it takes to bring your vision to life.
Nicole Cober Esq. is a partner at Cober Johnson, a law firm focusing on trademarks, brand licensing, and small biz consulting. She is a former small biz owner of the award-winning chain, Soul…Day Spa and Salon. She is also a legal consultant for News Channel 8 in Washington, D.C., and the author of the soon-to-be-released book CEO of My Soul: The Do’s and Don’ts of Small Biz. Follow her on Twitter @CoberJohnson and like her on FB @CoberJohnson. Visit her website at www.coberjohnson.com.