CPAs and Entrepreneurship: Do You Have What It Takes?

Back in July, we had a discussion about hanging out a shingle in public accounting. For many of you that are just starting out in your careers the idea of venturing out on your own seems as likely as the Jets pulling off a winning season. In fact, it’s hilariously unlikely. 
 
For some of you it is as simple as that; you’re not interested in hanging out a shingle as a CPA or any other business for that matter. You were serious about job security when you got that accounting degree and you remain serious about job security now that you’re an accountant. And that’s cool, that’s cool. No judgment here. 
 
But believe or not, there are plenty of accountants out there that have aspirations beyond finishing the CPA or getting promoted to Senior Associate, Manager, or yes even the lofty position of PAHTNAH. They want to start their own firm or small business, and with a little luck turn into something from mildly to wildly successful.
 
Now, there may be some of you out there saying, “Yeah, that sounds pretty good, but how do I do that?” Well, before you start listing your ideas or writing up a business plan, it might be helpful to do a little bit of self-examination to see if you are, in fact, the entrepreneurial type. 
 
When you read about entrepreneurs or entrepreneurship, there is an enormous amount of virtuous traits thrown around — leaders, can-do attitudes, confidence, dreamers, on and on and on. You know, all that Tony Robbins shit. You know what, though? Tony Robbins is a badass. Here’s the most comprehensive list of important characteristics of entrepreneurs that I found. It comes from a 1977 MIT study via Lifehacker
  • Drive and energy
  • Self-confidence
  • High initiative and personal responsibility
  • Internal locus of control
  • Tolerance of ambiguity
  • Low fear of failure
  • Moderate risk taking
  • Long-term involvement
  • Money as a measure not merely an end
  • Use of feedback
  • Continuous pragmatic problem solving
  • Use of resources
  • Self-imposed standards
  • Clear goal setting
Lots of these are interconnected and although you may not possess all these qualities, your overabundance in others and make up for it. 
 
This Forbes post takes a different angle on things, listing five ways to think like an entrepreneur: 
  • Get Passionate
  • Be Bothered By Efficiency 
  • Take on More Risk
  • Brainstorm More
  • Don’t Limit Your Dreams
Okay, you might be thinking, “No more rah-rah shit, please.” Fine. Let me outline these for you a little differently:
  • Instead of “Get Passionate” it’s “I love doing this so much I’d do it for free” or “Call me crazy, but I am really into [this].”
  • Instead of “Be Bothered By Efficiency” it’s “That sucks. I can do that better.”
  • Instead of “Take on More Risk” it’s “I ain’t skerd. I ain’t stupid neither, but I ain’t skerd!”
  • Instead of “Brainstorm More” it’s “I have ideas for DAYS.”
  • Instead of “Don’t Limit Your Dreams” it’s “Go big or go home.” 
In other words, it’s all about how you talk to yourself. Not like crazy person talking to yourself, but want your interior monologue is saying. If you start saying these things, you’ll starting those hokie things too. 
 
So who’s got entrepreneurship tales, fails and wails? Who has questions? Who has answers? Share personal experiences or any experience helping clients who are inspiring go-getters. 
 

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