When people ask me what I do, they get stars in their eyes. They'll lean in and say in the strictest of confidence, "I've always dreamed about owning my own business," They're not alone. According to the Gallup Group, Inc., over 57% of Americans want to be their own boss.
"What's stopping you?" As a business coach, I'm always curious to hear the answer. What usually happens is that I'll get some mumbled excuse, whether it's that something went wrong or things just didn't go their way.
After interacting with countless people, I've realized there are five types of people who should never open their own business.
1. Dora the Dreamer
Dora dreams about opening her own business someday. She's read books, made exciting plans with her friends about what she's going to do and when she makes it come true. But when it's time to get the ball rolling and put those plans in motion, her fire seems to vanish. Dora is all talk and no walk.
Dora satisfies herself with dreaming about running a business rather than the hard work involved with owning one. If she is truly determined to own her own business, I would ask Dora what's really holding her back from her dreams.
2. Fearing Failure Phyllis
Phyllis has got the entrepreneurial spirit. She's designed her office, has a business plan in place, and she's even got people wanting to buy her product or service. But just when she's about to take the leap, she's paralyzed by fear.
Unlike Dora the Dreamer, Phyllis is afraid of the criticism and what people might say about her product, not realizing that these people are most likely outliers. Phyllis and Paul the Perfectionist are often friends because they share many of the same underlying fears.
Success guru Jack Canfield says that the most important thing is to face the fear and build the business anyway.
3. Scared of Success Sam
Sam is also an entrepreneur at heart, but success terrifies him. He's been successful at his job and has gathered everything he needs to push himself to the next level, but the moment he's about to take his carefully-crafted resignation letter to his employer, he chickens out.
Sam begins to question himself. 'What if,' he wonders, 'the money changes me so much that I lose my family and friends?'
Many who are afraid of success are anxious to please others. For them, pleasing others can be more important than pleasing themselves. That's what's holding Sam back.
Sometimes loved ones say things to make us doubt our dreams. According to a recent article in the HuffingtonPost by executive and leadership coach, Judith Sherven, PhD., "As difficult as it may seem right now, you need to distance yourself from those hold-you-back-relationships and make room for new, more expanded and more alive people who can appreciate who you truly are."
While it probably isn't possible to ditch all of the naysayers in your life, decide to ignore their objections if you want to be an entrepreneur.
4. Paul the Perfectionist
Paul's got a top notch business plan. Everyone who hears about Paul's plan gives him an enthusiastic thumbs up. Paul insists it isn't ready and needs a few more tweaks before it's perfect.
Paul's been saying that for years. Paul's family and friends have stopped listening, because as good as the idea is, he has never followed through. Now someone else picked up on Paul's idea and ran with it.
Paul missed out because he wanted everything to be 'perfect.'
Perfection doesn't exist. And, like the fear of success or failure, that perfectionism can destroy those dreams of owning a business. Paul needs to take that step and realize that there comes a time when the project has to fly and be free. No business owner that I've ever met got everything absolutely right the first time.
5. Earl the Excuse Maker
In Earl's case, he wanted to start his own business, but every time that everyone else thought he was ready, there was always an excuse. "I can't leave my job, there's a big project," or "I can't get funding."
For someone who is truly determined to 'make it' and become a successful business owner, very few excuses can be made. Funding can be crowdsourced. Backers can be found. Doors can be knocked on for the persistent and passionate. There is no right time to start a business.
All business owners have had moments where they are dreamers, scared, perfectionists, or make excuses. That's simply human nature. The ones who make it don't let the negative thoughts and barriers get in the way of making a solid business. Instead, they're willing to summon the courage to overcome those fears and stand up for themselves.