Starting and running a business: Is it the right decision for you? Many entrepreneurs are initially motivated by money, yet frequently they come to find their incomes do not increase. Still they remain business owners. Their decision can best be described as one of lifestyle, that is the benefits of being business owners allow them to live their lives on their terms.
Noteworthy advantages of entrepreneurship that I have enjoyed or learned about from others are:
Greater control of the work-reward equation
As a business owner how hard and smart you work will directly impact your income. If you toil longer hours and are more innovative, inevitably your business will thrive. And you get to decide whether to increase your salary.
You have an idea you are sure will work
Do you have concept for a business you know will be successful? Entrepreneurship will give you the opportunity to test your idea in the real world. If you have read the marketplace correctly, you will be a success. But here is where flexibility is the key. You may need to develop your concept to triumph. Still beware. Your idea may flop. Can you take the hit to your ego, pick yourself up, and have faith in your next great idea?
Greater flexibility in your schedule
Is family your first priority? Do you have a hobby that is extremely important to you? Being a business owner will allow you to set your priorities. Of course sometimes there will be conflicts. But you will get to manage them.
A less bureaucratic workplace
Small businesses cannot afford red tape. They have to make up in agility what they lack in marketing might and substantial financial resources. If you find bureaucracy stifling, as an entrepreneur you can almost always cut to the chase.
Greater choice of co-workers, location, etc.
Tired of being a geo-bachelor? Like to have a ten-foot commute to your home office rather than spend and hour or more a day on the freeway? Prefer colleagues who want to work rather than play politics? As a business owner you will make the decisions about where you will be located, the character of the people with whom you work, and everything else. While compliance with the law and regulations is still mandatory, you will have greater flexibility than at a large company or than with the government.
There are several common misconceptions about the rewards of being in one’s own business. While these may happen, you are unlikely to benefit from them, especially in the short term.
More free time
You will work long hours, particularly during the start-up phase. Remember, the buck will stop with you.
If you put in the same time and effort at a large company you will probably make more money there. But you will also miss out on all of the advantages discussed above.
Life is stressful, but being a business owner can be especially so. Particularly if you have difficulty making decisions and letting go, entrepreneurship may not be for you.
While you can give yourself a fancy title, unless you are successful there is little status in being a business owner. The flip side is if you prosper, your stature in the community and business world may advance on its own.
Less administrative duties
Every business requires administration. There is no escaping it. And as an entrepreneur it will be your responsibility to see it gets done. See “More Free Time” above. Of course as your business flourishes this may be something you can hand off to an employee.
The benefits and drawbacks to entrepreneurship need to be carefully assessed before taking the plunge. I recommend you talk to your spouse if you are married and at least two other people who know you well and will give you candid input. In the final analysis, if you think starting and running a business fits your lifestyle you will never regret the decision to joins the ranks of entrepreneurs.