I was recently asked what I like & dislike about being a business owner, and thought this would make an interesting post for anyone considering starting their own business.
I guess you could say I come by the "entrepreneurial spirit" naturally. Both of my parents have their own companies, and have been self-employed in some capacity for most of my life. My mother told me from a young age that the only way you'd ever get to where you want to be in life is to work for yourself. I guess you could say I took this to heart ;)!
Of course, I (like pretty much everybody else) have had the day job, both full- and part-time. And I've often found working for other people to be really frustrating, to be honest. Now I'm not saying that owning your own business is a cake-walk -- far from it. But for me, the benefits outweigh everything else. So, how can you know if being an entrepreneur is for you? Read on to my list of likes and dislikes for being a business owner.
First, a dose of reality:
- Business owners work on average 5-10 hours more per week than their "employed" counterparts. (My average work day is 10-12 hours a day, at least 6 days a week.)
- It's all on you. It doesn't happen if you don't make it happen.
- There are no sick days.
- I have to work really hard to be able to finance my company. I have a commitment to only use my own capital to build my business; I don't intend to work with other investors. Even if you do, getting investing for a small start-up can be VERY difficult.
- Freedom -- you have complete freedom to succeed or really screw up.
- Personally, I don't have any employees, and at most will probably only ever have an assistant. But for many business owners with a "brick & mortar" locale, they have to hire employees. Turn over is usually high, there are tons of taxes that must be paid, and you have to carry insurance on every single employee, even if they just sit at a desk.
- On the subject of taxes, small business owners are taxed (and audited) more stringently than large corporations.
- As a business owner, particularly of a small start-up, you are: CEO, CFO, COO, Public Relations, Human Resources, Marketing, Research & Development, Sales, Customer Service, Manufacturer (in my case), Accountant, and so much more.
So, with all of this, why would anyone in their right mind do this?? For everything above, there are so many great things...
- I can set my own hours.
- I can roll out of bed, make coffee, and sit down to work in my PJs :)
- I have complete control over how the business is run.
- I get to spend my day being creative and innovative without only the limitations I give myself.
- I decide the impact my business will make on the world every day.
- It gives me an outlet to contribute to the charitable causes of my choice.
- No office politics. (This is BIG to me.)
- Freedom (let's be honest...)
- I have a much closer connection to my customers.
- I have the opportunity to network with many amazing entrepreneurs.
- I go to bed at the end of the day happy.
Basically, owning your own business can be really stressful, I won't lie. The secret to being successful and making all the stress, time drain, etc worth it is finding what you're passionate about. Because if you're not in a business you're passionate about and could talk about all day, you're going to be miserable. Also, the rate of businesses still in existence 10 years after start-up is 30%. Why? Because the business owner didn't take the time to explore enough to find something about which they are passionate.
I hope if any of you are considering starting your own business, this has given you something to think about. Also, if you are a business owner, please comment and let us know anything I may have forgotten.
Remember to enjoy the journey!