If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “It must be great to be your own boss. You get to do what you love and have the freedom to come and go as you please,” I wouldn’t be self-employed, I’d be rich and retired!

Yes, there are clearly some advantages to going out on my own, but the flipside to all the good is that in my world my work is all consuming. I live it and breathe it 24/7. Can that be a problem? Absolutely. But it’s a great problem to have when you love what you do.

If you are self-employed you know the roller-coaster ride that is entrepreneurship. You know what it’s like to be IT, marketing, sales and operations all rolled into one. But if you are considering a life in the entrepreneurial fast lane, this article is for you.

There were 2.67 million self-employed workers in Canada in 2010, according to Industry Canada, representing around 15.7% of all employed workers in the Canadian economy. But it’s tough to find data on how many Canadians have dreamed of being their own boss and making it on their own.

My guess would be there are a lot of dreamers out there. Are you one of them? And if so, are you ready to make that dream a reality?

There are three questions you should ask yourself before you take that leap of faith:

1. Why?

Why do you want to become your own boss? Is it the freedom? Is it out of necessity? Is it a bucket-list item? If you get a better handle on the motivations behind why you want to become a small business owner that will dramatically affect your mindset moving forward.

2. When?

When is the right time to make the transition? Do you have a solid business plan? Are you making this move in small steps or are you all in? Do you have the financial and operational resources in place or, if not, when do you expect you will?

3. What?

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Not everyone is cut out to make it on their own and although there are plenty of successful people from all walks of life who do make it, do you have what it takes to be one of them?

Start by putting a bit more focus on question number three. There are inherent character traits that successful entrepreneurs possess such as willingness to take on risk, personal drive, confidence, resourcefulness and good time management, planning and networking skills. Some of these traits we’re born with, others can be learned, but it’s important to take stock of what you bring to the table as an entrepreneur.

Here are two suggestions that can help:

  • Do as much research as you can on what these traits are. Searching this topic will present you with countless articles and advice on the key success factors.
  • Take the free entrepreneurial test offered by Psychology Today Magazine. It will give you a little insight on how you measure up.

Making the transition to self-employment can be incredibly challenging but you can mitigate the risks and get off on the right foot if you do the proper planning ahead of time.

Realizing a dream and achieving your goals is an amazing feeling. Make today the day you put your plans into actions. Remember, success doesn’t come to you – you go to it.