“So lucky!” people tell me. “You get to work for yourself.” It’s true that owning your own business has its upside, but according to the Small Business Administration, 650,000 ventures close their doors each year, while a hefty 550,000 get started.
Many people have an unrealistic view of spearheading their own company. If you’re considering such a move, take a look at your reasoning. You don’t want to act on the following misconceptions.
I won’t have to please anyone except myselfWhile this is technically true, you won’t stay in business very long if you aren’t putting others first. A highly successful home goods associate was excited about starting her own design boutique. After the first three months, however, she remarked, “When you work for a company, you have to please one boss. When you’re in business for yourself, everyone is your boss.”
You will, of course, have the freedom to put your own ideas into practice, but the acid test will be whether or not your customers like what you are doing. Whether you are offering goods or services, you can’t compete in the marketplace without putting forth tremendous effort to make other people happy.
I’ll have more time
Being in charge means calling the shots about how you spend your work hours. Unfortunately, in order to make your company a producer, you will probably find yourself putting in long hours. Especially in the beginning, business owners may work six or seven days a week and around the clock. They know that everything that happens is directly related to their own efforts.
Indeed, you might take full advantage of your new flexibility, but every hour you spend away from your company will need to be reckoned with. You may end up doing paperwork on Sunday afternoons or working late into weeknights. Vacations will be challenging, as you track what is happening within the company. It will be crucial that you put some boundaries around personal and family time, or it might be stolen from you.
I’ll focus on doing what I loveWhen people go into business for themselves, they naturally look forward to using their best talents, gifts and abilities. Even so, as a business owner, you will be wearing so many hats that your favorite hat often gets hung on the bottom peg.
It’s sobering for many to find out how much time they will spend doing things they don’t like: billing, bookkeeping, payroll, purchasing, customer service, marketing, sales. Sure, you can hire these things to be done in-house or by contractors, but that will mean more overhead, and even then you will spend a lot of time reviewing the results.
I’ll make money
At first, you may not. Businesses fail without a solid, long-term plan allowing for months and years of building a customer base. Additionally, once your company starts to earn, you will have the responsibility of paying SE tax—your self-employment tax—in addition to income tax. This tax covers your Social Security and Medicare, which would normally be deducted from your employer’s paycheck. Many factors go into profitability—and if it were that easy, half a million businesses wouldn’t crash and burn every year.
Don’t get me wrong. Owning your own business is a worthwhile challenge that cultivates a true sense of accomplishment. It can also be a burden. Go ahead and take the plunge if you’re ready for it. Just make sure your reasoning is realistic, so you don’t wind up shaking your head and saying, “Nobody told me…”
Although this article is highlighting some negative aspects about starting your own business, I always like to be positive. In the spirit of being positive, I would like to give you one bonus tip: I highly recommend that if you start your own business, you should get involved with local organizations. These are long-term commitments, but they can make a huge impact in helping you get recognized as a leader in your industry.
One of many examples is attorney Ian Maguire of the Maguire Law Firm. Just a few of the organizations he is a part of include being the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Myrtle Beach Rape Crisis Center, past area director for Horry County Special Olympics, past president of the North Myrtle Beach Civitan, and a member of both Mensa and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Being a part of organizations like these not only helps increase your personal brand awareness, but also helps to make a positive social contribution to your community.
Are you ready to start your own business? What steps are you taking to be prepared for this endeavor?
About the Author:
Andrew Miller is an experienced business owner, social media expert, and author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. You can follow him on Twitter at @Amillerblog or read more of his writing on his blog.