QUIZ: Are You a Journalist-Entrepreneur?

by Amy Webb
Oct 30, 2018 in Digital Journalism

It seems like everyone around you is starting her own business, while universities all over the world are now offering entrepreneurship bootcamps. Sure, you may have a good idea, but do you have the right temperament, drive and social skills to succeed?

Whether you're thinking about starting your own freelancing service, launching a mobile application or creating a digital tool to help journalists worldwide, you should take a few moments to think about how you might function as a journalist-entrepreneur.

Below is a short test to help you determine if you should hang up a shingle and start your own journalistic enterprise...or if you should instead take that great idea to a newsroom that can be an incubator and help you get started. Answer each question honestly and thoroughly. Below the questions is information on how to score yourself.

Quiz: Answer yes or no to each question below. Keep track of your answers.

1. I like a challenge, even if it's one I may not be able to win.
2. People tell me that I'd be better off if I was my own boss.
3. I'm a natural salesperson -- I can convince anyone that my ideas are golden.
4. I have a difficult time being told what to do by others who are less knowledgeable or less capable than me.
5. I'm at my best when I'm not being micro-managed or not working under direct supervision.
6. People often tell me that I have incredible drive.
7. I may not be the most talented person in the room, but I can guarantee you that I'll work longer and harder than anyone to get the job done right.
8. If I have to choose between getting an important project done and a relaxing day at the beach, I'll power through at my desk.
9. I'm rarely satisfied.
10. I'm a natural evangelist -- people get excited by my ideas and want to join me to act on them.
11. I have a knack for figuring out better ways of doing things, even if those things are outside of my core competency.
12. I'm 100% results-driven.
13. I have a list of personal and professional goals, and I strive most days to achieve them.
14. My motto is "fail fast." If my first idea doesn't work, I'm quick to acknowledge and adapt. I always have other new ideas in the pipeline.
15. I live to work rather than work to live.
16. I feel comfortable not always counting on a monthly paycheck.
17. I can organize my finances so that I have multiple streams of income and so that I'm not reliant on just one source.
18. I'm a great administrator: I like to complete tasks on time, I follow up and follow through.
19. I feel comfortable keeping detailed records on my own expenses.
20. I'm willing and able to reconcile credit card and bank statements daily/ weekly.
21. Some of my friends run their own businesses.
22. Some of my family members run their own businesses.
23. My spouse/ significant other would give me space and time to work on my own, either in our house or at an office.
24. For those with children: I have a plan in place that will enable me to work and parent at the same time.
25. I have a thick skin and take criticism well.

Scoring: If you answered "yes" to at least 21 questions, you likely have the right personality, skills and life circumstances to start your own business. If you answered "yes" to fewer than 21 questions, this isn't necessarily an indication that you would fail at starting a business. What I'm asking you to do is to honestly evaluate yourself and your situation before taking the next step.

In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to be a great administrator, which means being your own taskmaster. At the beginning, you'll need to chase after your clients to get your invoices paid -- which also means that you'll need to build a system for tracking your cashflow. You'll have to be a great salesperson, negotiating prices and deals as well as convincing folks that they should work with you. Your first project may not succeed. If you're someone who becomes emotionally tied to a passion project and won't be able to let go easily, you may lose your shirt (and whatever else you've invested in your startup) because you can't pull the plug.

Take some time to think about what it would meant to give up a regular paycheck (or a future regular paycheck) to pursue your idea. I also recommend talking your idea through with trusted friends and relatives who can give you an objective, candid opinion.

Amy Webb is a digital media consultant and the CEO of Webbmedia Group, LLC. She has also launched Knowledgewebb, a new website for multimedia training. You can follow Amy on Twitter. Webbmedia Group is a vendor-neutral company. Any opinions expressed about products or services are formed after testing, research and interviews. Neither Amy Webb nor Webbmedia Group or its employees receives any financial or other benefits from vendors.