So you want to be the boss?

At some point or another, everyone dreams of leaving his or her job and becoming the person in charge. Maybe you are tired of doing seemingly ridiculous tasks, or you want the freedom to dictate the hours you work. If you were Queen for a day, your workplace would be more organized, there would be no conflict, the creepy guy in accounting would no longer work there, you would have more job security, et cetera.

I fantasized about having my own business from the time I was in college. I wanted to have my own company, except that I was too afraid…for decades. While going through some career challenges, I thought maybe the time might be right to go out on my own. Because of my fear, I researched it to death! I write this today in hopes that all my findings may be useful to someone else before they tell their boss “Adios!”

In my research, I discovered that starting a business is mostly about knowing yourself. According to a national business journal, eight out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. How do you know you will be one of the twenty percent that can thrive?

First, get a realistic 360 degree view of yourself. Do you have a realistic view of your skills, gifts, and abilities? At what are you best? What are your unique gifts? How do you work best: in a team or alone?

Each of us gravitates to roles we play. What is the role you usually choose at work or home? Leader? Helper? Counselor? Teacher? What are your blind spots? Inability to delegate? Visionary but not able to implement? Hate numbers and accounting? What gives you energy? What things do you abhor doing?

Running a business requires that the owner play many roles and have the ability to lead. In the beginning particularly, you will have to do EVERYTHING yourself or have the financial ability to hire someone else to do it. If you don’t know this depth of knowledge about yourself, there are some great resources to help you, such as the books Strengthfinders or Life Keys. Also, career coaches can provide you with testing such as the Myers-Briggs inventory, KOLBE, and many others.

Second, you need to connect with what you are passionate about. What do you value? What types of issues, concerns, and people types do you care about deeply? Would working in a particular field have you working with people who share your values? What did you play when you were a child? Party planner? Teacher? Librarian? Scientist? Is this passion represented in the business you are starting?

Finally, what are your motivations for starting a business? Trust me, if the only reason for starting a business is to work less hours, that will not happen! At least, not at first. Being in business for yourself just allows you to pick which 80 hours you want to work in a given week. Make sure you have an understanding of why you want to do lead a firm, so that when things get hard, you can look back at why you started. Your goal will need to be about more than time and money to keep going.

Finally, when you gather all this information about yourself, does it all translate into a meaningful business for you, or is there another path?

Kristi L. Andersen is the principal of Kristi L. Financial Partners, LLC. ( Securities offered through and Registered Representative of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Some Advisory services offered through AdvisorNet Financial. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.