Are YOU An Entrepreneur? Exactly HOW Do You Know?

I feel like an entrepreneur trapped in a 9-to-5er’s body.  I read Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines, have read Richard Branson’s biography, and am familiar with Tony Robbins’ mantra.  I know that I have what it takes to be as daring and flexible as a successful entrepreneur needs to be to succeed just by virtue of my personality and drive to break the norm and be bold.  I am confident that I could run my own business, once I can find my Emergency Exit Slide out of the Rat Race.  I know that I am amassing the tools to run a business of my own (after all, the business I want to  be in cannot be run without intimate knowledge of its workings).  But. I have found that I lack a clear vision of my endgame goal.  Let me explain.

Right now, I have a set of practical skills.  I am an aircraft mechanic.  A blue-collar, 8-4:30 kind of guy.  I’m also training to get more advanced pilot licenses–mainly because I love to fly, but also because it pays better over time than “being a wrench” does.  I have a passion for aviation, and I like helping people.  I also have the itch to start a company of my own someday.

The obvious answer for me is to start an emergency Medical Evacuation (or MedEvac) company, but holy CRAP that’s a huge undertaking.  Best as I can tell, all it would take is money and time (I know–that’s “all” it ever takes).  A quick, MINIMUM list of the inventory I’d need:

1.  I’d need an aircraft, obviously.  Most MedEvac companies use helicopters (like for landing on the highway to airlift someone out–they like the maneuverability in tight spaces), but I want to stick to fixed-wing airplanes, because it’s what I know.  They come in all shapes and sizes, but not a one of them is cheap.  They range from $25,000 for a 40-year-old, single engine piston plane , to $70- or $80 million dollars for the biggest, baddest bizjet there is (The Gulfstream G650 will enter service in 2013, I think–here’s the link:

2.  Insurance out the wazoo if I’m transporting people.

3.  Something they call a “Commercial Pilot’s License” in order to be able to carry people for money (per the FAA’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs)  ).

4.  A hangar/maintenance base for said airplane.  Luckily, I can do the maintenance myself, and soon enough I’ll be able to fly it as well.  Costs would be modestly kept down that way.

5.  Compliance with the CFRs regarding hazardous materials–normally, human remains or organs are considered to be in one area of HazMat regulations.  At the very least, if I am transporting a live accident victim, I’ll still have to have a pressurized oxygen bottle onboard–considered a HazMat in the “Flammable” category, and requiring plenty of paperwork.

*Le Sigh*

But that’s it.  That’s my “Big, hairy, audacious goal.”  But it goes so far beyond simply marketing out my skills and building a customer base at my leisure.  It goes so far beyond the “commonsense” approach of starting a business of your own–start out with as little overhead as possible, do it part time until it takes off, and leave yourself exit strategies “just in case.

To start this business, I would literally have to get my wife and me into so much debt that it will probably cost more than our first house will.  I am forced to hold off because I need to earn my own Commercial rating first.  I realize I can start this business sooner than later if I could just be the guy who “pulls the strings” and find a plane, hire a pilot and maintain the plane myself along with running it…but I must admit, I have a general vision of the company’s goal, but no clear vision of it, nor how to achieve it.

No clear vision of it.

How many of you suffer from this?  Having a pipe-dream to run your own business but getting stopped in your tracks by the details?  I am guilty of it:  I am completely overwhelmed by the idea of it.  Honestly, there’s a small, irrational part of me that wants to walk into a bank with a business plan and sign up for the things I’d need (if I could even qualify)–JUST to get the crap-your-pants part of the deal over with.

Am I alone with this one?  Tell me about how you made a calculated risk and succeeded.  Tell me about how you made a calculated risk and failed.  I feel like I have plenty of knowledge of the industry and of general business principles…but no way to know that I’m going into it well-prepared.  A business plan will only take you so far–it’s only a plan, after all.  How can I prepare to enter this field as a business entity with a reasonable notion that the idea will succeed?  Because I am questioning the success of the idea, does that mean I am not, actually, as ambitious an entrepreneur as I think I am?

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