Why did you set off on your own business?
photo by today is a good day
Are you sick of the word ‘bail out’ yet?
How about all the negative ads on the election?
Has the media convinced you yet that the world has ended? Now all we’re waiting for is the coup de grace, pigs to fly, hell to freeze over, etc.
With all of the doom and gloom talk going on everywhere you look, I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit why business owners strike out on their own. I brought this up in one of my advisory board groups last week and asked the question to the group.
“What was the driver for you to strike out on your own?” (start your own business).
I don’t know that the answers were surprising, but revisiting the topic helps put things in perspective (at least for me) and it might be helpful for you. See if these resonate for you.
Freedom – escaping the cubicle!
This comes out in a lot of different ways, but clearly a huge driver for heading out on your own is the opportunity to chart your own course. No longer are you answering to a pointy haired boss that doesn’t get it. You are the one person that determines your own success.
You get to call the shots, make the important decisions (and all of the other decisions as well).
This is probably the single biggest reason for most people that I know that have gone out on their own. Yeah a steady paycheck is nice, but the opportunity to achieve a high level of success on your own merits (based on the free market) is really compelling.
Ownership has it’s advantages
As Robert Kiyosaki will tell you over and over again in Rich Dad, Poor Dad the best way to really get ahead in the long run is to build up equity along with your revenue streams. As a business owner you can build an asset that generates income and is worth something at the end of the day – there’s really no other model that allows that.
It depends on what kind of business you build and how you set it up and run it, but most businesses have the potential to be worth some multiplier of revenue or cash flow (cash flow being the profits the business generates). For a typical service based business, that multiplier may only be 2X revenues (for a well run business), but that’s still a a great upside compared to nothing that you would get if you are just an employee at a business that’s sold.
Reaching that goal of Financial Independence isn’t easy – but it’s a lot more likely as a business owner than as a typical employee.
I just gotta be me!
This mostly applies to those that previously worked in the corporate world…a world of politics, rigid expectations, an overwhelming pressure to fit in, a running wheel that only went one direction.
You want freedom to make decisions, but just as importantly you want to be yourself – creating a corporate culture that’s important to you, makes sense to you and maybe allows you to have some fun.
You want to set your own hours, you want to establish the priorities of family or health or fun or whatever it might be as more important than money or your business – that’s tough to do as an employee. If you want to coach your son’s soccer team on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:00…well it’s your business, you can make that happen!
Better than the alternative – for a lot of people
Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner – or wants to be a business owner. It’s a lot of responsibility, it’s not easy and unfortunately there’s a huge learning curve that may take several years to really get over.
However, the alternatives are inheriting a lot of money, winning the lottery or working for someone else. Most people can’t really count on inheriting (and shouldn’t be counting on the lottery) so that really leaves working for someone else.
Although working for someone has traditionally been thought of as a ‘steady’ paycheck, layoffs and the general economy make any kind of job just as risky as owning a business these days – with a lot less control.
Along the same lines, whether you like it or not, as you get older and demand more money, it will be harder and harder to find worthwhile jobs. By the way, I’m defining older here as about 35…it definitely becomes a serious problem in your 40s, but anything over 35 these days starts getting serious scrutiny as compared to that relatively cheap 20 something that has tons of energy and great ideas.
“Let me explain…no, there is too much, let me sum up”
Although things look grim and dark, now is actually a great time to have your own small business – I don’t mean that it’s easy and the money is flowing like wine (I’m actually not sure what that means…), but your business has a lot of potential.
There’s a great post from Naomi Dunford (IttyBiz) on Blood In the Streets that does a way better job than I can on covering why this a good time to be making things happen, but to sum up if you really want the upside of having your own business, start looking for ways to rev up what you’re doing.
Find what works and do more of it, identify what’s not working and start changing it. Start challenging yourself and your team to take advantages of the resources that are out there.
Use the internet and market online effectively.
Why did you decide to start your own business (or are you thinking about getting out on your own?). Share your thoughts in the comments below – I’m sure I missed some important ideas.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach