In this entry we will discuss the choice to get a job or start a business.
One of the biggest life-changing decisions you will ever make is to start your own business. There are so many pros and cons to doing so that I thought I would focus this edition of “When the Dust Settles” on it. Next to giving your life to Jesus, getting married or having children, starting your own business will have the biggest and most profound impact on every aspect of your life. Let’s talk about a few.
You may think that you are ready for a change. That’s what happened to me a decade and a half ago when I started my first business. I was ready for the kind of self-satisfying type of change that gives real meaning to the word freedom. Freedom to love my work. Freedom from the financial burdens of debt. Freedom to take a vacation day when I felt like it. Freedom to make decisions. Well, needless to say I was a bit naive. Entrepreneurship is tough. I wish I could say that there is a simple formula that if you follow it precisely you will find success. Unfortunately, two people can have similar businesses, similar markets, the same work ethic and the one makes it and the other fails. The decision to start your own business is not for the faint of heart. You’ve been warned.
Now that we got all the doom and gloom out of the way let’s take a look at some of the advantages of being your own boss. You can set your own hours…sort of. If you think that you will be working fewer hours than if you were working for someone else you are mistaken. Starting my business was like getting married again. There wasn’t such a thing as working 9 – 5 and then coming home and leaving work at work. Work followed you every waking moment, and many times would rob you of your resting moments as well. I should put in a disclaimer here. I am not comparing business to marriage in a negative way. I am only implying the tremendous amount of commitment required to make it work. If your business goes global, it may mean staying up in the wee hours of the morning to make a phone call halfway around the world.
Being able to set the course for your business is very rewarding. There are a few exceptions to this. One exception would be entering into a partnership. Now, a partnership does not mean that you are unable to decide the direction of your business, it just means that you must be a good team player. Depending on how the partnership is split up, you may find your decision power is in the minority, the majority or split equally. A word of caution before entering into any partnership is to make sure you’ve done your homework on your potential business partner, even if they are a friend or family member. If there is one thing that can muck up a relationship, it’s having differing opinions on how to run said business. Another exception may be the market or outside forces. For example, let’s say your business was based off of hardware or software from a larger business. Your business is somewhat at the mercy of the decisions and direction of the larger business. Especially if your value-add does not add much to their bottomline.
When you own your own business you will love your work. Not always. If you are just starting out and have little to no capital investment you may find yourself wearing many different hats. For example, let’s say you are a software developer. You chose this profession based on the fact that you were somewhat of an introvert. You don’t like talking to people. Well, you will have to overcome that quality very quickly. If you enjoy eating and having a roof over your head, you’d better have really nice parents or else you will be forced to market your product. This means phone calls, face to face meetings, social networking, interviews…you get the idea.
When it is all said and done, the choice to start a business will be dependent on how well you can manage stress. My first business earned me a whopping $9,000 over the course of the first two years. That was pretty stressful. Now, in the end it paid off, but those few painful years was a test of perseverance. Being an entrepreneur will change you. It is up to you whether that change is for the better or worse…just like a marriage. Thanks for stopping by and please share with whomever you feel may benefit from this series.