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Anyone can start their own company. But not everyone will succeed. The people that are cut out to be leaders are the ones that can handle pressure, are comfortable working alone, and have a healthy dose of discipline. Starting a company is not a hobby; it is a serious undertaking that you need to be immersed in. Anything less than obsession means death. Brad Feld, an early stage investor and entrepreneur, says true entrepreneurs have “a complete and total obsession with the product”, which is always not the case in business.

Just because anyone can start a company doesn’t mean that they should.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to fail. Succeeding in business requires a lot of effort. Whether you are just starting out or have been in your industry for years, doing the actual work will get you to where you want to be. As a potential entrepreneur, you have to be willing to do a lot of work, and be prepared to fail smart. "I think failure is inevitable, and those who believe it isn't are fooling themselves. But, it's probably the best learning tool there is – I rarely see people change their nature and behavior unless they personally encounter or are exposed to failure", says Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz. Read more of the interview with Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz, where he discusses the subject of failure in business.

There have been countless articles about entrepreneurship and traits that leaders possess. There is no simple answer to the question of “can I start my own company?” You don’t need permission, or someone to tell you if you should or shouldn’t take the leap. That being said, some traits come more naturally to others, and some skills have to be learned. In the case of successful creatives, they must be able to inspire innovation while staying productive. Those are two important traits that are often times on the opposite side of the spectrum…but are vital to each other.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you only work 9-5? When you leave the office, is your workday done?
  • Do you need job security?
  • Is it difficult to work alone? 
  • If you are honest with yourself, how disciplined do you consider yourself?
  • Do you get easily frustrated when a project doesn't succeed?
  • Are deadlines your sworn enemy?

By thinking about your answers to each of these questions, you will begin to figure out if being an entrepreneur is right for you. Maybe you realize that you need more time in a lower position to gain more experience before you start managing and running your own business. And that's perfectly okay.

There are 5 basic characteristics of entrepreneurs (and they can surely be expanded upon). The best advice for someone that is curious about becoming an entrepreneur: Read every book you can, listen to the experts, find a mentor…If you still wake up excited every day to work on your venture, you made the right choice.

What do you think it takes to be an entrepreneur? Is there a “special sauce” that certain people have? Please discuss with us!

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