February 27, 2019
February 27, 2019

By Farrah Gray

A question I am often asked by my friends and associates generally concerns whether they or a friend should consider striking out on their own in business.

I do not believe that there is one person who can honestly say that they have not thought about what it would be like to be in business for themselves. Many people dream about being masters of their own destinies and captains of their own ship. However, far fewer of us take this Sunday afternoon wishful thinking beyond just that; wishful thinking. This is probably a good thing given the high failure rate of start-up businesses. Not everyone was meant to be President of the United States or president of their own company. Is there a way to test yourself to see if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur before you totally commit to a specific venture? How do you know that you have what it takes? Just as important as your personal qualifications, do you have the right form of organization, operations, product or service that will work and the financial capital to get you there? Finally, is this the right time, location and economy to launch your new enterprise?

Do you have what it takes to succeed at owning your own business? This is where your entrepreneurship evaluation must begin.

Or, beginning a business with partners may allow you to complement you own talents and skills. However, you need to recognize that making a collection of personalities able to work together smoothly requires the evaluation of additional sets of personalities, skills and legal agreements that you must evaluate in the same manner that you are evaluation yourself. Truly passive owners or limited partners, however, require far less scrutiny.

I am not discouraging you from going into business with others. I am urging you not to skip the step of evaluating whether you and your partners to be have what it takes.

If it turns out that you discover later that you or any of your partners’ falls short of expectations that are not reflected in the legal agreements prepared at the time you start-up, and then you may find that you traded a few complementary skills for much aggravation and lost income.

How do you evaluate if you have what it takes to succeed?  I would like to share with you certain personal characteristics I suggest you look for in becoming an entrepreneur.

These characteristics include:

Discipline – You have to have the ability to manage yourself before you can lead others. You should not ask anyone working with you to do anything that you would not do yourself.

High Energy Level – Success requires drive and the capability to concentrate for periods of time.

Humor – I have noticed that successful people are able to make fun of themselves to maintain their mental equilibrium when under stress from long hours and business challenges.

Integrity – A person who does not treat his customers, employees and partners fairly and honestly will not stay in business very long. It comes down to understanding right from wrong. In short, you are as good as your last transaction.

Persistence – You must possess the tenacity to overcome defeat and temporary failure. In short, you have to be able to accept rejection, regroup and continue.

Realistic – You should set goals that are achievable based upon the current circumstances. This does not mean you set your sights too low and rest on laurels. Your laurels may not be as deep as you think. Today’s business environment is too competitive not to be continually revising your goals upward and revisiting your strategies.

Vision – You do not need to be George Washington Carver, but it would be nice to be smart enough to know what you do not know. You also need to possess the strategic vision to know where you are going and how to get there.

You have to question yourself. Are you willing to become the person that would likely have what it takes? Certain of the above characteristics can be learned, but it depends entirely on you. It comes down to how important is it to you that you succeed?

Once you are satisfied that you have what it takes, the planning process leading to your personal and financial success and becoming the president of your own company.


Entrepreneur, philanthropist and bestselling author and award-winning fashion designer Farrah Gray has inspired millions around the world through motivational speaking, economic evangelism and the strength of his example. Gray is also an agent of social change. His partnerships include the Kauffman Foundation, the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation, National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Marrow Donor Program, among others.