Do You Have What It Takes To Make It as an Entrepreneur?

Do You Have What It TakesFirst off, there’ll be no cheesy quizzes. Those things are worthless, and are mostly there to help fluff up a book that should have been an article.

No, there’s no 10-question form that will tell you if you have what it takes. I’ve been doing this long enough, and talked to enough people to know within 10 minutes (most times, even less) if they have what it takes to make it on their own.

There’s one sure-fire why to tell if you have what it takes...

The One Question Quiz

Okay, I fibbed a little. There is a quiz.

It only has one question, and the answer will show pretty accurately, if you have what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur. It’s usually the first thing I ask, after the pleasantries, when I’m talking with someone about their home-based business ideas and plans.

Here’s the question…

What are you doing to move your plans forward?

That’s it. The answer to that one question will tell you more about your future as a home-based entrepreneur than anything else.

There’s a saying that goes “you’re a human being, not human doing.” It’s a nice little platitude that says, slow down and just be. It’s good advice.

But as an entrepreneur you have to be both – a human being, and a human doing. One thing you can’t be is a human planning.

See, the answer to the one question quiz, and the sure-fire way to tell if you can make it, comes down to action. What you are doing.

Planning is important. But over planning is not. There comes a time when you have to do it. Stop talking about it, thinking about it, day-dreaming about it, and do it.

You can’t make it as a firefighter by dreaming about it and planning to be one. You can’t make it as a doctor by watching Scrubs and imagining it. And you can’t make it as an entrepreneur by planning to be one.

The way to tell if you can make it as an entrepreneur is to start. The guaranteed way to be a successful entrepreneur is to be an entrepreneur. Not plan to be one.

There’s one sure-fire way to tell if you have what it takes…

Take action.


  1. I find it difficult to keep my feet AND head in the sandbox at the same time. There’s something to be said about finding balance between the two.

    Removing the “planning” aspect from the equation really helps define that line.

    This is a very motivational article! Definitely worth bookmarking!


  2. Hi Tony,
    You nailed it. I see similar situations when people tell me they aren’t losing weight. You’ve got to add action to see results.

    Take care,

  3. Alex – Great point – that balance is key. I’m not discounting planning, but a plan is not much use if you don’t set it in motion.

    Coop – Excellent analogy. You’re absolutely right. Any kind of results requires planning AND action. Getting caught up in the planning and expecting results just returns frustration.

  4. Thanks Tony, and you have hit the nail right on the head again. Once, I was taught that we need to “ready, fire, aim”, not “ready, aim, fire”

    Action first. 🙂

  5. I agree with the point. Everyone loves to think about starting a business and doing other wonderful things. We imagine how great it will turn out. But when it comes to buckling down and actually DOING something, most people never follow through.

    Taking action just isn’t very pleasant.

  6. Kian Ann – Good thinking :). In the software world, we have agile development. Solo startups can really benefit from a similar, agile approach.

    John – That’s so true. As long as you’re planning and dreaming, things go according to plan. The minute you take action, reality sets in. That scares the hell out of some people.

  7. Good article Tony – and thought provoking as usual.

    I’m very good at the dreaming part. I’m even quite good at the planning bit. It’s the doing that often comes unstuck – sometimes because I’ve spent far too much energy and effort on the first two, necessary as they are. But I’m learning – and I’m getting better.

    Just do it. So simple. So effective.

  8. My problem is that I’m more of a planner, where my wife is the opposite. She doesn’t take the time to plan, she just dives in to things head first and works it. I think both are important, but taking action is the only thing that will bring any results.

  9. Amen!
    I spent the first year and a half “planning” in my cave. Wrote a great book..167pgs….although it never became a best selling business plan. I doubt anyone besides me truly read it fully. It’s a good thing because it has all changed!!!

    Don’t think you can borrow or attract investors to fund your development…if that is what you think you need.

    Find a customer, learn, listen, react…MOVE!


    The only one that can or will do it…. is YOU!

  10. Trevor – You’re right. Sometimes the planning can be so draining that it’s even harder to take action.

    Anthony – Sounds like me and my wife. I’m the one in the relationship that actually reads the instructions and inventories the parts before starting. She jumps right in.

    Jennifer – Thanks!

    Matt – You got it! Planning is actually easy, because rarely does it take putting yourself out there. Getting off your duff, and getting out into the market requires guts, because your “baby” is no longer your own. But if you “Find a customer, learn, listen, react…MOVE,” as you said, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

  11. You are correct that to much planning can kill a project. I did this myself many times and planned things so much that I wound up killing the venture. I’ve tried several things, a writer for a GarageChoppers for one, but the one that scared me the most was concert promotion. The time finally came to act and quit dreaming about it. Even though the first concert was a monetary flop for me, I pulled it all off. My moto that began that night “Go ahead and jump…and hope the chute opens.” I’ll never forget that night. Now I’m going ahead with a new Motorcycle magazine and just about to go to print. Will it to flop? I don’t know but at least I won’t have to lay on my death bed wondering what would have been if only I had.

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