x

Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Are you cut out to become an entrepreneur?

Indicators include passion and accepting risks

Is entrepreneurship for you? Here are some factors that will help you decide.

When I am in a conversation with someone who is talking passionately about their hobby, I have a habit of encouraging them to start a business based on it.

I realised it first when I was speaking to a talented artist friend of mine who illustrated children stories in her spare time. She was so gifted that I could not help myself from encouraging her to start a design studio, telling her how so many Arabic publishing houses would benefit from her talent.

She looked at me and said that she would never want to turn that interest into a business; that she saw herself working in a completely different field, and illustrating whenever her artistic mood kicked in.

This brings us to the question: Is entrepreneurship for everyone? It is tempting to be your own boss, to set your own hours and live through the thrill of not knowing where the road takes you. But will everyone enjoy that?

A relative was very honest when he said that silent investing was as far as he would go. “I will put my money into a promising business venture, and I am willing to take the risk associated with that. But I am not an entrepreneur, and would rather have an established job and a guaranteed pay cheque,” he said.

__________

Read more

A ‘don’t do’ list keeps you on track

Playtime brings creative success

Take the rough with the smooth

Don't procrastinate over perfection, just launch your business

__________

So how do you know if you are cut out for it? I have found that there are few indicators.

Passion

I cannot talk about this enough. If you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing and the blinding faith in your concept, then you’ll never succeed. For me this is the one thing that will keep entrepreneurs going when weeks and months go by without pay. Most successful entrepreneurs are so passionate about what they are doing that they do not mind working on their concept all day, and giving up sleep is no problem.

Do not take no for an answer

Entrepreneurs may be rejected, and fail so many times before they even start, but one thing for sure is that they do not take no for an answer. If a door closes, they will look for a window. They are hopeful and determined.

They always find a different angle and do not necessarily re-invent the wheel. A while back I was speaking to a friend who wanted to start a media-related company. A couple of months in, she asked me this question: “But why would I even start this? There are tons of similar companies out there. What difference will I make?”

I looked at her and said: “Well, that’s true. But they’re not you, and they don’t offer your perspective and your ideas in the field.”

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google, many search engines already existed, but the duo offered a different option: ranking different pages through their search engine. Rarely will businesses re-invent the wheel. What they is a different perspective to a problem, or an alternative solution. Think about it, there are countless abaya designers out there, and if you did not think outside the box you would not really stand out.

But say that you decide to make abayas out of recycled fabrics, and thus doing your bit to save the environment along the way, then bam!, you have set yourself apart.

You accept risks

As an entrepreneur you will have to take risks all the time. Perhaps every day. The whole journey is risky. You never know when the market will collapse, or when a regional conflict might affect your business.

If you are willing to accept that and have the tenacity to go through the unknown with all the risks it entails, then entrepreneurship is for you.

You take action

Last but not least, you have to take action and not be “all talk”. If you have an idea, act on it. Research it, talk to people and see how you can bring it to life. How many people do you know who have been talking about starting that business for as long as you remember? Many are good at talking, but few do something about it. Managing a business requires taking immediate decisions; often money is on the line, and waiting is not an option.

I like to think about the entrepreneurship journey as a lifestyle instead of a job.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer who manages her branding and marketing consultancy in Abu Dhabi. Twitter:

@manar_alhinai