I LIKE TO THINK that somewhere deep inside of everyone, there is an entrepreneur. Humans have survived millions of years when so many other species haven’t. We are an intelligent and adaptable group of fighters and survivors. While I believe that anyone can be a successful entrepreneur if they truly want to, it’s the “want” that people so often confuse with “can’t.” The truth is that you really can, but not without sacrifices. At the end of the day, most people aren’t willing to dig in and fight the long hard battle to realize success. 

Some say that starting a business in today’s economy is harder than it’s ever been. Some say otherwise; I, however, tend to agree. The facts are clear that the resources are plentiful to help a hopeful entrepreneur become successful. The market, however, is so saturated that getting a piece of those resources only comes to those that are willing to fight for it. 

The first step is looking inside yourself and deciding if you are the type of person that exudes the most common traits of successful entrepreneurs. There are millions of books in existence written by the brightest minds in business. Do you understand them? Can you relate to them? Have you even heard of them? Any bookstore or library has a vast business section; I recommend that you check it out and pay close attention to the ones who made it big in the area or field that you’re considering launching a new business into.

Are you motivated to get things done? Do you act before someone has to tell you to get going? These are very important traits of an entrepreneur because you’re the one at the helm. Not only do you have to be comfortable motivating yourself, but also motivating others. You’re the boss now, so get used to it.

Are you easily intimidated? Do you tend to avoid competition? If so, you may want to reconsider starting a business. Intimidation and competition will fly at you from all directions and in all different forms. Other businesses, time, paperwork, changing conditions, money--they are all adversaries in your new endeavor and will all play a role in trying to make you fail.

As from the books and other business leaders, part of being a good leader is being a good listener. We weren’t born knowing everything so part of being a successful entrepreneur is being able to listen and take advice from others. Quite frankly, you’d be foolish not to.

Finally, take an honest look at yourself. Having a solid understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses is probably the most important part of your pre-execution self-evaluation. When things get tough (believe me that they will, at some point), you have to have the will-power and self-discipline to overcome, as well as the ability to assess risk and make decisions quickly in order to mitigate that risk.

The bottom line here is that not everyone can start and run a business. Not because they literally can’t, per se, but because they won’t. They’re not willing to give it their all. The scariest part of it is that people who tell themselves that they will not give up, no matter what, sometimes end up giving up anyway because the struggles they face down the line are greater than they ever imagined. 

Keep these final thoughts in mind: starting a business is harder than you think it will be, but it’s not impossible. Your mistakes are not failures--they’re lessons; learn from them and move on. People all over the world start successful businesses every single day. Are they better than you? Absolutely not. You have what it takes to be successful somewhere inside you; now reach down deep and don’t let go until you’ve arrived where you want to be.