Should you be an Entrepreneur?
There’s a lot of pressure out there for people to set up and run their own business. The government encourages entrepreneurship, almost every second article on business-related social media promotes the benefits, and the whole concept of running your own show is made to be enticingly attractive. But there’s downsides too, many of which are swept under the carpet away from view.
So is it the right choice for you? To a large extent this depends on what sort of person you are and what you expect and want to achieve in life.
It would be easy to say that the go-getting, confident Alpha male or female is cut out to be an entrepreneur and that the quiet introverts in the corner office haven’t got what it takes to go it alone. But it takes all sorts to make the business world turn…
Think of supersonic, extrovert PR-driven Richard Branson versus the measured demeanour of Bill Gates. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg of ‘Lean In’ fame is an employee, yet she is reportedly worth over $1 billion. Whether you’re an employee or entrepreneur, passion and pride in what you do at work should be the motivating factor which gets you out of bed in the morning and driven to succeed at work.
There’s no denying that being an entrepreneur involves plenty of risk-taking but the rewards can be fulfilling, and not just the financial ones. I can’t deny that the sheer satisfaction of running your own business, being your own boss and the freedom of making your own decisions isn’t enormously gratifying – but is it worth facing and overcoming the equally enormous challenges and risk?
So before you make that jump into the entrepreneurial whirlpool here are a few pointers, the good, the bad and the downright ugly:
FREEDOM & INDEPENDENCE. Freedom to work whenever, wherever and however you want, is both a great advantage and luxury in running your own business. Most entrepreneurs don’t consider their ‘work’ actual work because they are doing something they are passionate about and enjoy.
CONTROL. You choose the work you like to do which makes the most of your strengths and skills, as well as making all the major decisions.
EXCITEMENT & ORIGINALITY. Entrepreneurship can be exciting with great job satisfaction added to the possibilities of new opportunities to challenge your abilities, skills and determination. That buzz you get introducing a new or better service/product that no one else has offered or done before.
FLEXIBILITY. You may be able to schedule your work hours around other commitments, including spending quality time with your family or hobbies. This is great for a work/life balance and is underlined by the rise of the ‘mumtrepreneur’ – women with young children who have started their own businesses.
RATIONAL SALARY. Your income is directly related to your efforts and the success of your business – you can be paid what you’re worth, which is proportional to what you’ve achieved.
RESPONSIBILTY. While making decisions can be a benefit and cuts through the chase, it can also be a burden – the buck stops with you.
ADMINISTRATION & PROCEDURES: Being an entrepreneur does mean getting involved in a lot of bureaucracy, tedious administration and paperwork. You have to do your homework and be up-to-date with all the procedures to do with your business in every field; this can take up time, energy, and cost. And certainly isn’t what most people would consider to be exciting. Ignorance is no excuse.
COMPETITION. Staying competitive is critical. You will need to give your business the ‘go-to’ or unique factor to make it different from all the others in your sector in order to build a solid customer base. And you’ll be constantly under attack, having to improve and re-invent yourself in order to survive.
LONELINESS. It can be lonely and scary to be completely responsible for the success or failure of your business and the ‘fate’ of your employees. There is always a distance between you and your staff – you might miss the banter of your former employment.
NO REGULAR SALARY. Being an entrepreneur often means giving up the security of a regular salary. If business slows down, your personal income is at risk. One of the advantages of being an employee is regular pay. Other benefits such as holidays and cover for illness are likely to be thin on the ground too.
WORK SCHEDULE. The work schedule of an entrepreneur is unpredictable, especially when first starting a business; it nearly always requires more work and much longer, irregular hours.
It comes back to the question about who you are and what you want. If running your own business will bring you closer to how you see yourself in the future then you owe yourself the chance to achieve it. However there are risks involved and that is probably why entrepreneurs are seen so consistently as risk takers.
So if you are risk-phobic just realise that whilst the grass may seem greener as an entrepreneur, you should probably stay employed. However, if the thought of risks and an unpredictable journey excites you, then go for it and don’t hold back.
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Leadership by example
Leadership by example