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  • Writer's pictureKarleen L.

Test the Waters Before Making the Leap into Entrepreneurship

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

I always get asked, “how do you know if you should be an entrepreneur?” Well, there isn’t a definitive answer. It can be a variety of factors that include time, money, passion, tolerance for risk, industry, the economy, and more. However, if you are mulling the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and want to test the waters, here are a few things you can do that may offer you some insight into pursuing it.

Work pro bono – aka FOR FREE

Working pro bono will help you determine how passionate you are about what you want to do as well as your work style as an entrepreneur. Pro bono work also gives you a chance to do the work without the pressure of an actual engagement because you are not being paid. It doesn’t mean work less, but if you find that you are not passionate about what you are doing because there is no compensation, then it is clear that entrepreneurship is not for you yet. If you do find that you are motivated despite no compensation and are passionate about helping an organization thrive, then you are likely ready to start acquiring clients on the side. Also, pro bono work gives you a chance to build clientele, experience, and habits around your entrepreneurship work ethic ‒ which is useful to building your portfolio in the long run.

Start in One Market

If you have the time and are confident about what services or products you want to offer, then start small in one market. A market can be a local town, city, state, consumer group, demographic group, gender, or race. Selecting a market means that you are going to focus on one type of customer group versus several initially. This market will serve as a testing ground for you to refine what you are offering so that when you decide to expand or launch fully, you can with precision. Focusing on one market also helps you build potential loyalists who can become evangelists of your services. If you find that during this period you are significantly holding a steady revenue stream and customer base, then make the leap. However, if you find that you are coming across several stumbling blocks that are preventing you from growing your business or even building a basic consumer base, it may be that you need to refine what you are offering or that you may not be ready to go into business yet. However, do not be discouraged; this is a good time to develop your skills and strengths as a business leader.

Bottom line ‒ no matter what, you can be an entrepreneur. It just takes planning and time. You can become great. Jack Ma of Alibaba failed like 800 hundred times, now he is a billion-dollar entrepreneur. So, start small and take steps. I know you can do it.

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