One of the by-products of a struggling economy and wide spread layoffs is the inevitable birth of many new consultants and budding entrepreneurs. For some, it's a natural evolution and wise choice. For others, it's the lesser of the evils and usually ends when the new full time job is secured.
I think the key question that is often skipped in this evolution is "do I WANT to be an entrepreneur?" And of course the follow up questions — do I have what it takes? Will I be good at it? Will I like it? Do I have the stomach and risk tolerance for it?
Here's the truth about being an entrepreneur:
There are two books that have recently been published that will help anyone of the edge of this important decision.
The first book, aptly titled "So you want to be an entrepreneur?" is by Jon Gillespie-Brown. Jon's book is part mentoring lessons and part workbook, with lots of great exercises that will really help you examine and plan your life based on your passions, ambitions and ultimate visions.
By actively taking part in each of the exercises, you give yourself the best chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur, or the sufficient clarity to decide what other career options are best suited to you.
The book is uplifting and celebrates the truth about being an entrepreneur — the good, bad and the ugly.
All the proceeds of this book are being donated to the Grameen Foundation, which does some amazing work.
The second book you should spend some time with is Sramana Mitra's Entrepreneur Journeys. Mitra interviews a dozen innovative entrepreneurs and focuses the conversations on five core topics:
- Taking on giants
- Disrupting business models
- Addressing unmet market needs
- Tackling planet scale problems
The interviews are very intimate and frank. There's no sugar-coating or sidestepping the tough issues in this book. I was surprised at how open the entrepreneurs were and how freely their exposed their pain and failures, along with their successes.
The interviewees weren't the standard company or people we hear about everywhere else. So the stories and examples were not only relevant but also fresh.
Both books were enjoyable and fast reads. You'll want to read through Gillespie-Brown's once and then go back and work your way through the exercises. And you'll probably want to re-visit Mitra's if you decide to bite off entrepreneurship and find yourself taking on a giant or doing a little bootstrapping.
Even if you have no intention of hanging out your own shingle…the lessons in the books are good for anyone engaged in leading a business.