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MSN Money By Rosie Beasley

April 07 2008

Claire* works from home but gets up at 7.30am every day, including weekends, to fit as much working time as possible into her day. Even if she has been out with friends until the early hours, she still wakes to call her clients first thing in the morning – be it a Saturday or Sunday – to make sure her staff have turned up to work.

Each month she takes on time-consuming and complicated tasks such as payroll and accounts without (much) complaint. She learned these skills on the job. On the phone to clients Claire sounds bright and care-free, no matter whether she is solving a difficult problem or has a bad cold. She drives miles to be there on the first day of a client job and tries to make herself available to her clients 24/7.

But despite the demanding nature of her chosen business, Claire persists because she believes in her company, and that she will eventually get more out of it than she puts in.

If you are prepared for this kind of commitment then you probably have what it takes to start your own business. If not, then perhaps you should think more carefully about what is driving you towards striking out on your own.

There is no single defining characteristic that encompasses an entrepreneur. Successful business people have a combination of personal qualities, motivations and outside influences that help them to focus and drive a business forward. This business personality is quite separate from any experience or qualifications that a person may have.

Personal Qualities

Passion – Your passion for the product or service you are creating is the one thing that will see you through any bad periods and motivate you when you feel like giving up.

Perseverance – You’ll doubtless encounter many road blocks and bumps along the way when starting your business. If you can persevere with your ideas when facing such adversity then you are giving yourself a fighting chance for success.

Determination – If your parents ever told you that by putting your mind to something anything is possible, they weren’t far wrong. If you are determined enough, you’ll find a way.

Realism – You might think you have the best business idea ever, but keeping your feet firmly on the ground will prevent you from being blind to any pitfalls. It’s also important to be able to see when something isn’t going to work and to quit while you still can.

Personal Motivation

Starting your own business is certainly rewarding but it is not an easy option, even compared with the most demanding of jobs.

Entrepreneurs need to have considerable personal motivation, as most don’t have colleagues and managers to push them along. Ask yourself: can you work alone (no drinks with colleagues after work, no Friday lunches, no office Christmas party)?

Can you get back on the horse by yourself after you’ve been thrown to the ground more than once?

Can you resist the lure of daytime television or the computer games which are in front of you all day?

Can you do the boring jobs day in, day out, as well as the more creative stuff?

Support Network

Having the support of family and friends is vital for your success. You will probably have to give up your full time job at some point to give the business a real chance, and your family may have to support you financially, whether this is by your partner going out to work or you going home to live with your parents. Starting a business is a leap of faith for everyone around you, so it is important to have their approval and support before you jump.

Work-life balance

Without a steady balance between your working life and your personal life you will soon burn out and your business will suffer. Naturally when you are setting your business up and in the early stages, the balance will be skewed towards working, but you should do everything you can not to let it remain this way.

Having the ability to close the office door behind you at the end of the day and relax is important. If you have a family, this ability could be crucial to keeping you together. And if you have any sanity left, you will want to hold on to that too.

There is no exact science as to why some people make excellent entrepreneurs and others don’t. If you really believe in your business idea then you should give it a try – real entrepreneurs don’t get anywhere without taking risks.

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