Entrepreneurship demands a level of fearlessness, grit, passion, and confidence that not many people possess. Before you start your own business, you need to consider whether or not you have the stomach for it — not many people do. It’s one thing when you’re reaping the rewards and benefits of a good year, but it’s another to wade through the lows and challenges that make those good years possible. These stressors typically catch aspiring entrepreneurs off guard. If you can’t handle the pressure, you’re not going to make it out the other side. 

To be a leader, you must also be a risk-taker. In today’s competitive landscape, carving out a space for a new business demands someone who is willing to risk it all knowing that they could also lose it all. Taking risks is what inspires innovation and yields advancements; it challenges traditional processes and models while ushering in necessary change. But, for some, high levels of risk-taking, uncertainty, and demands (among other things) without guaranteed success and prosperity is a nerve-racking way to live. 

If you want to be an entrepreneur, this will be your reality so you must either get accustomed to it or consider another path. If you’re unsure whether or not this could be a lifestyle worth living, consider these questions first:

Does financial instability worry you?

Every new business needs one thing: money. This is one of the most alarming areas for the majority of entrepreneurs just starting out. Sure, every now and then you come across an entrepreneur with a seemingly endless safety net of savings, but that’s more uncommon than many people think. Starting your own company is a financial commitment — one that you’re going to have to be okay with making if you ever hope to make a profit in the future.

Can you take a (metaphorical) punch?

You will be knocked off your feet again and again (and again and again). Sometimes you will see the problem coming, but other times they will come from out of the blue. These moments happen to every entrepreneur, not just the ones who are ill-prepared or destined for doom. Success isn’t a result of avoiding issues, conflicts, and difficulties, it’s about how quick and calculated you are about getting back on your feet again.

Are you a people pleaser?

In leadership, you will never be able to please everyone. You may upset your customers, you may upset your investors, and you may upset your employees, but a good leader understands that necessary decisions often harbor consequences. If a problem arises, you must be willing to handle it, even if it means that someone will be unhappy with the decision you make. We all know this: if you don’t handle a situation right away, it only becomes a bigger issue in the future.

Entrepreneurship is a long journey. It can be rewarding, but it can also be very arduous. It’s one thing to be intimidated by the venture ahead (who isn’t?), but it’s another thing to not know if you can handle the stress and pressure of its constant ups and downs. Before you take a leap of faith, consider whether or not entrepreneurship is something you can stomach.