I often see advertisements with posts after posts of people marketing and claiming they can offer the best advice on “How to Become Your Own Boss“. Sure, on the surface, it sounds great; you can work for yourself with no boss to report to, you come and go as you please and make your own rules, but the truth is; starting out as an entrepreneur requires much more from you than you may think! In fact, you may end up working harder than you have in your life and to top it off, you will still work for someone else; your customers.
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. There are many workers that find it much more rewarding to be part of something great without having to actually be the creator or the one entirely responsible for its existence. Entrepreneurship requires a significant amount of your time and it demands you make yourself available at all times (especially in the beginning) since you may be the only point of contact. You must be readily available to handle all matters regarding your business and always, always, always with a smile! Now I am in no way attempting to dissuade you from taking such a leap, I am merely painting a clear picture for you before you make such a life-changing commitment.
If you are undecided about becoming an entrepreneur and need some guidance, here are a few things to take into consideration:
- Do you have the time? As I mentioned, entrepreneurship is time-consuming. It requires access to your life during all times of the day and week. One of the most important factors to consider is sacrificing family time. Many entrepreneurs have the benefit of being single, but others have families that require their undivided attention. It can be a challenging adjustment to balance family life and work life when you are an entrepreneur. You see, it is hard to just stop working at any given moment because you are the business. It is your problem and it is your job. If you don’t take the time to handle any pending issues or answer any pending questions at any given moment, then you are directly affecting your bottom line. It is all in your hands and the risk of shutting off work for life and tending to family is significantly greater.
- Do you have the resources? Entrepreneurship is all about having connections. Who do you know and how can you utilize that relationship to build your empire. Vendors that will work with you to deliver contracts, blueprints, presentations and the like are important to have an established relationship with. Especially just starting out, you may need to pull some favors that require people to work late to execute your request. This is only happening when you have built a firm relationship with those you need to help run your business.
- Have you any experience in marketing and networking? If you want to start your own business but don’t know how to get the word out or where you need to start to gain exposure, I suggest taking a course or two on marketing and sales. Marketing is an essential part of growth and sustainability. You don’t want to become the best kept secret; it’ll be difficult to make money when no one knows who you are and what you can offer. Beef up these skills before you buy the office space!
- Can you afford it? Calculate your minimum desired annual salary necessary to support your lifestyle. If you start your own business, how soon can you bring in that profit? Not just your bills and savings, but to really live the life you live now. Can you afford to stop working your full/part-time employment and go in one-hundred percent?
- Are you disciplined enough to work for yourself? Keep a one-week journal of your daily activities. It may surprise you seeing how much time you spend doing leisurely activities. Being your own boss must replace those activities if you want to start your own business. Are you willing to give that up?
Ask yourself these questions and do a serious analysis of your lifetime goals to see if entrepreneurship is the right avenue for you. If you are truly willing to give up the leisure things you do and replace them with value adders then you may be ready to start your own business.
A memorable statement that has always stuck with me: “If every morning you get up and you can’t think about anything else but writing, then you’re a writer.” No one is in more control of your life than you so make a conscious and informed decision to do what is best for you and everything else will fall into place.
All the best,
Mary V. Davids
Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at email@example.com