We love to talk about the American Dream, and when we do, we are often referring to work and our freedom to be and do what we want to do. You have probably even considered doing your own thing, which is where entrepreneurship come into the equation. You may be already asking yourself: “Is Entrepreneurship for me?”

Consistently, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report finds that up to “70% of those surveyed … either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged,”. All righty then. So, as Americans, we have the freedoms to do and be what we want, assuming we put in the work. Do 70% of us want to be miserable and disengaged at our jobs? I think not.

Any sort of discussion around careers really must start with what your definition of your ideal job or career looks like. If you don’t know, how do you ever hope to have it? In honor of our Founding Fathers, who would probably roll over in their graves upon reading the Gallup report, I’m going to challenge you to think about entrepreneurship. Hang tight, chances are, it might fit your definition of the ideal career.

Is Entrepreneurship your Ideal Career?

For years, I told myself that entrepreneurship was not an option for me, and that I just wasn’t wired that way and, at that, having no interest in any sort of re-wiring. Then came the day I changed my mind. I was working relatively happily for a global company, although I knew that things were changing and that my days of unhappiness were looming. That morning, we heard that our beloved leader had been laid off. I knew right then and there it was time to go. But to where? As I laid out what I loved to do, was good at and how I needed to work to be happy and successful (flexibly!), I realized that it probably didn’t exist, and that if I really wanted it, I was going to have to create it. Like it or not, comfortable or not, I was an entrepreneur. Yikes.

What it really means to be a “self-starter’.

The beauty of entrepreneurship is that, to a large extent, you get to create your own way of being one. In many cases, you are a pioneering for, and monetizing, the very thing you do best. I knew that my skills were not in the area of the accounting, IT or any other “left brain” part of running a business. Time to outsource, or barter. In my case, I provided free career consulting to people who needed it, and who had skills I needed. Beautiful. And because I know I am easily distracted; I knew that working from home would be a challenge. I’d love to tell you that I have mastered it and am the Queen of Self Discipline, but I really don’t want the extra few inches of nose that would grow as a result. Because flexibility and some control over my time was most important to me, that was a “non-negotiable” as I built my business. The thought of having to be someplace every day at the same time gives me the heebie- jeebies.

Leave your 9-5 (The Smart Way)

What is it for you? What are the elements that, if you had your own business, would be your “must- haves”, your “nice-to-haves” and your “don’t-wants”? What is most important to you right now in your career and your life? What do you know, or what can you do that others need done and would pay for? If nothing comes to mind, ask those who know you best professionally. Once you identify it, think: How can I take all of that and make a business out of it? And even if you can’t afford to jump in with both feet, think about how you might begin to build it so that when you have your “gotta get outta here” moment, you have a running start. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes in the water with entrepreneurship while you still have your full-time gig. It’s always best to have back-up plan.

Dream big. Then dream bigger. But be smart about it. Seldom do entrepreneurs actually jump into their new business venture all at once, it takes incredible time and energy to build something sustainable and profitable to replace your 9-5.. but working at it will eventually allow you to do just that. 

Is it scary? Yep. But so is being one of the 70% who is dissatisfied, disengaged and demeaned by the wrong career. Maybe it’s time to step back and consider becoming an entrepreneur.