Your Personality at Work

The Self Employment Test

Do you have what it takes to be self-employed? Take this short test to find out!

Note that there is a difference between being self-employed, the owner of a business, a wise investor, and otherwise financially self-directed. For the purposes of this test, all fit in the same category of “not collecting a regular paycheck.”

1 – When life isn’t working out the way I want, or people get on my nerves, I like to complain about it to my co-workers and friends.

A. Yes
B. No

2 – Which of the following scenarios is preferable to you?

A. Spending my days at work around a group of people with great personalities and hobbies
B. Spending my days at work around people who have great business ideas and goals

3 – What is a better way to make a living?

A. Look for a good job that pays well, find a good deal on a mortgage and live within your means
B. Start a business, buy real estate, and/or invest in assets with the goal of achieving financial independence

4 – Jack works at a software company and makes a salary of $50,000 per year. Who is responsible for Jack’s income?

A. His software company
B. Jack

5 – Are you capable of working late into the evenings and weekends while your friends and family are out having fun?

A. Yes
B. No

6 – Which is more important?

A. To create opportunities
B. To earn money

7 – The idea of having my own clients…

A. Excites me
B. Scares me

8 – Consider this extremely simplified scenario: Malcom, a retired millionaire, finds a way to purchase hordes of diapers wholesale and sell them online for an amazing, unbeatable price. He markets himself very well, because he has the money. As a result, many online baby supply retailers go out of business. Malcom is thrilled. What does this make Malcom?

A. An intelligent business owner
B. An unethical rich “scrooge” who took advantage of other businesses to make more money for himself

9 – Be honest – do you have a spending problem?

A. Yes
B. No

Tally up the total “B” answers in questions 1-4 and the total number of “A” answers in questions 5-8. Add them together. This is your score. Ignore question number 9 for now.

Interpreting Your Score

6 and above – You definitely have what it takes to be self-employed. In fact, you probably should be, since you’ll do well, and likely enjoy yourself!

3-5 – You might want to consider reading more about what goes into running a business before you actually go out and do it yourself. You are close, though!

2 and below – For now, you should keep your day job. This doesn’t mean that you can never run a business, but you have some learning to do about what it takes. But hey, life is all about learning!

Explanation of scores

If you answered “yes” to question number 9, you can pretty much reset your score on this test to zero. The problem with “having a spending problem” and running your own business is that they are completely at odds with one another. The lifeblood of your business is your financial bottom line. Without enough revenue, your business will not survive. Spending problems can precipitate a lack of emotional control when it comes to making financial decisions, something that is essential to running a business. If you are constantly depleting your revenue and resources, you will not have a business.

The first question is also important. Successful business owners (and happier people in general) have what is called an internal locus of control. That is, when things are not going well, they take responsibility rather than blame life. They are not complainers. The sooner you learn to take responsibility for your failings (and successes) and don’t attribute these to luck, the better off you will be.

Finally, in question 8: Malcom may have driven a lot of his competition into the ground to make more money. But he still is a good businessman. You don’t have to be “likable” to be a good entrepreneur. Still, I would hope that as you go into the world of small business operations that you do so with a longing to do good in the world and not take advantage of other people.

How did you score? Share your thoughts below!



  • Victoria April 3, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I am by no means an expert in this domain, but I think you may be missing one important element to be successfully self-employed – creativity.

    Inherent in being self-employed is the ability to see things outside the box. Like that diaper example you gave – a successful entrepreneur would need to see that opportunity. I can think of many people who would score high on your test, but out in the real world may lack that essential ingredient. Food for thought…


  • Mike April 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Very true, and actually an interesting point. The one area where creativity is not a requisite for entrepreneurship, however is franchising. In fact, when you buy a “share” of the company through this method you actually have to run the branch exactly how they tell you… if you get too creative with their business model you could find yourself in some hot water!

    I prefer “creative entrepreneurship” myself!


  • Victoria April 8, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I can understand that mentality. I sometimes find myself on the fringe of the group mentality – being an ideas person, being “creative”, seeing possibilities in nearly anything I experience; sometimes it’s a lonely road.

    I do pose a question to you:

    If you own a franchise are you really an entrepreneur?

    If yes – then perhaps anyone can be an entrepreneur… which might make the purpose of your test obsolete! ;-P

    If no – perhaps having too much creativity can be a detriment.

    I await your reply.


  • Mike April 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Owning a franchise can entrepreneurial, because when you do so, you take on a certain degree of risk. Then again, I have a different definition for “entrepreneur” and “self-employed”

    Entrepreneurs are ground-breakers in some way. They start businesses. They come up with amazing ideas and profit from them, creating something that (hopefully) gives benefit to others as well.

    Self-Employed people, in contrast, create their own income. They might do it any number of ways, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be “blazing a new trail.”

    So to answer your question – franchising is really neither of these things – it’s a separate entity, because a franchiser will take something that already exists and simply run it. In this way, it’s almost more like being an employee!


  • Kelly P April 8, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Scored a 6 and excited about the future. 🙂

    Also, I wouldn’t necessarily include creativity as an important element – or perhaps, I’d redefine it.

    I am *not* creative, and I don’t think outside the box well at all. If I am given any task or assignment that does not have clear guidelines and expectations, I’m at a loss. In 5th grade, I was required to take art and “make” things – and cried.

    What I *am* good at is RESEARCHING outside the box. I understand that if you do what the masses do, you’ll be like the masses. So rather than come up with business ideas, I research business ideas. Rather than come up with creative solutions, I mimic other successful solutions, tailoring them to my own situation. I seek out those who can think outside the box, and learn from them.

    This might be considered creativity, but I don’t think so. And it has effectively substituted it for me.


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