Friday, May 20, 2011

Are You Cut Out To Start Your Own Business? Take this Self-Test Now!

Susan T Spencer is a successful entrepreneur, award winning author of Briefcase Essentials, business lawyer, and former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles Football team. Learn more at

Do you have what it takes to start your own business today? Find out by answering Yes or No to the 10 questions below:

1. Passion and Drive
Can you keep your nose to the grindstone for 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first two years?

2. Diligence
Do you have the ability to research a business opportunity or idea thoroughly and objectively determine which businesses suit your skills?

3. Persistence
Can you take “No” for an answer and keep moving forward without taking that “No” personally?

4. Flexibility
Are you eager to take on new projects that might not be in an area where you excel?

5. Adaptability
Can you change course in mid-stream when someone else shows you a better option?

6. Reaching out For Help
Are you comfortable asking others for help and then accepting it?

7. Discipline
Can you live on a tight budget?

8. Cash Flow Savvy
Do you have the ability to handle your finances by “robbing Peter to pay Paul?”

9. Sense of Humor
Can you laugh at yourself when you make a dumb mistake?

10. Doing Your Homework
Are you one of those students who always made sure they handed in homework assignments on time and complete?

See Success Key Below:
9-10 yes answers: You have passed the first threshold, the heavy lifting lies ahead
7-8 yes answers: Your chances are 20-1 unless you are able to work on the “No’s” by hiring a coach, or other professional advisor to help you improve your apparent weak spots.
1-6 yes answers: Stop dreaming and get a job!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Self-Employment - Alone at Last

Entrepreneurs are a diverse set of individuals, each with a unique story as to why they’ve become self-employed. We’ve had the opportunity to hear some of these stories through our pilot of the Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies course. Some found the flexibility of self-employment ideal for balancing life commitments or were simply just tired of working for others and wanted to be their own “boss.” Others were unable to find suitable employment or just simply fell into it during career exploration.

Whatever the reason, these individuals now work, for the most part, alone. Although some people develop their business and hire support staff, most are truly going it alone. This presents challenges in regards to skill sets (i.e., you’ve got to be able to do everything from balancing the books to marketing yourself and your product/service), but also to loneliness of working in relative isolation. There isn’t anyone to bounce ideas off of, problem solve with, or to count on during challenging times. Be sure to access the supports you need to be successful – lean on your friends/family, a business partner/associate, an entrepreneurial support group, and/or a career coach/counsellor.

As difficult as it can be working for someone (i.e., a boss) or with someone (i.e., a partner or co-worker), it truly does have advantages not only to product/service quality but also to your morale and productivity. At the end of the day, the advantages and benefits of self-employment (e.g., the freedom to operate your business as you like) may certainly outweigh the drawbacks; however, it’s important to carefully consider: Can you truly work alone?