Are you thinking about taking the leap of faith into being part of the self-employed -- into business ownership?

If you are one of those people who have long yearned to be self-employed, to call your own shots and design your own destiny, you must break through all those yeah-buts that have been stopping you. Business ownership may not be for everyone, but it is definitely the only way to go for those who have realized the American Dream by having achieved a satisfying lifestyle through business ownership. Successful business owners share certain character traits that helped them get there. They have what it takes to overcome obstacles -- to assess situations -- a can-do attitude.

First, let's discuss three types of attitudes.

1) The Self-Protective Type -- This person mostly wants to be comfortable. They work hard to avoid risk, play it safe, fly under the radar, avoid pain and seek a routine comfort level. This probably describes most people to some degree. We all feel certain levels of comfort in maintaining the status quo, not making waves or shaking things up. But if this state of being is overly cautious and cannot be overcome, business ownership might not be in the cards. Being self-employed equates to being self-sufficient. It required that you get out of your comfort zone and be confident in your ability. While most people might think it’s more risky to work for profit versus a paycheck, as the millions of people who are fired and laid off every year in the corporate world are painfully aware, being an employee is hardly low risk.

2) The Self-Involved Type -- This person believes that they are the smartest, the best, biggest, fastest, and strongest. Their ego can become their downfall. These individuals are focused, systematic, and successful goal setters -- but they can have trouble as enterprise builders. They may not be willing to listen to others that would be in the position to advise them, such as accountants, attorneys, financial advisors, or other business experts. Due to their inability to empathize with others they are unable to inspire and lead. Therefore, they cannot piece together the building blocks that make up the foundation of a successful business operation -- a group of individuals working together as a team. Management and interpersonal skills and the ability to delegate must be written somewhere in the DNA of an owner of a thriving business.

3) The Self-Esteemed Type -- These people have a creative spirit and inner motivation that drives them to achieve the thing that inspires them. They accept personal responsibility and believe where there is a problem, they can find the solution, yet they know what they don't know and the skills they don't possess and fully intend to employ others to fill the gaps. They have an understanding of what makes them tick and a natural inclination to be accountable for doing the right thing with honesty and judgement. And they have faith that others will do the same.

None of these types is the stand-alone secret of business ownership. It is the right combination, or genetic make up, of these attitudes that is the stuff that successful business owners are made of. For instance, self-protectiveness is a natural instinct for a reason. We would not survive without it. But this "attitudinal" gene must be tempered and cannot be so dominant that it cannot be overcome. A measure of risk must be allowed for if one is to take the "leap of faith." By performing a self-assessment prior to embarking on the pursuit of a business acquisition and performing proper due diligence on any given business of interest, one can achieve an acceptable level of risk for their individual situation when going into a new business venture.

Similarly, an overly self-involved attitude can be a road block in the path to success. Like a horse with blinders on, this type cannot see what is around them and they trudge forward with no awareness of, care for, or connection to how others are affected by their actions. Yes, it takes intellect, inner strength, and an appropriate level of pride in oneself to own and run a business. However, an exaggerated sense of self-importance and conceit detracts from the ability to make sound decisions on business operations and effectively hire and manage employees and instill confidence. If one doesn't have respect towards others and their abilities, those in this attitudinal group are destined to be a one-person show with limited growth potential. Running a business is a team sport with a leader at the helm that can blaze a trail that others are willing to follow.

As for the self-esteemed, they already possess, to a large degree, many natural character traits of an entrepreneur. One of the dangers for this creative attitudinal type, however, is financially overextending themselves in pursuit of their goal. They must borrow from the self-involved type -- practice restraint and focus on growing the business using a systematic methodology -- instead of branching out in too many directions at once. Another fault, if you can call it a fault, is a tendency to believe that everyone in their employ will perform with their own same gung-ho attitude and entrust too much to others. This is where a measure of self-protectiveness would come in handy. This attitudinal type might do well to err on the side of caution more frequently in the areas of finance and trust.

So, the point to be made here is to avoid extremes. Basically, think long-term, have realistic goals, and focus on the big picture. A healthy level of confidence in yourself instills confidence in the people you serve, customers, employees, and partners alike. The demeanor you carry within yourself will be the driver that can raise that proverbial bar of those around you, getting everyone to join with you in reaching higher. It is very much about our work ethic and the self-awareness and integrity we bring to what we do. It’s a matter of deliberate choice. It’s a matter of attitude.

Read these two previous posts on this subject:
Find Out if You Got What it Takes to Own a Business
Key Characteristics of Successful Business Owners