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More and more individuals are looking for creative ways to start their own business. With recent layoffs, challenges finding new employment, the loss of retirement as an option for most, and growing frustration for many who work in large corporations, it is a growing trend.
Having and running your own business is very rewarding- for the right person in the right business. It can bring feelings of independence, achievement, and pride. You usually work more hours, however you have flexibility in terms of “which hours” you work. You are your own boss and you can shape the direction, decisions, and culture of your company. You can express your creativity. If you are 100% owner, you can go out of business, but you cannot be fired. You can set the standards for quality without compromise, and you can build a company that brings positive benefits to mankind.
If the idea of having your own business appeals to you, start by interviewing yourself. Think about the kind of life you want for yourself in the coming years. Where would you want to live? What would you like to learn? How do you want to spend your time? What do you value- i.e. time alone, time with family and friends, travel, creative expression, financial security, making a difference in the world etc.? Do you like influencing people and selling? Do you like working in teams? Do you mind being on-call 7 days/week? What are your skills and gifts? The answers to these questions and others will help you begin a conversation with yourself about what kind of business or indeed “if” a business would be a good fit with who you are and who you want to become.
Some individuals have grown up in a family owned business and have a good feeling for what it takes and whether they thrive in a business setting. Others have had a dream for many years of translating their ideas or creative gifts into a thriving business. Some folks have a side hobby or interest that gradually evolves into a business. The siren song of “getting rich” entices some to start a company. And for some unfortunate folks, it is an “exit strategy” from a work environment they dislike intensely.
Some cautions are in order here. If money is your main driver, it won’t sustain you through the early years of a start-up where you will likely run” in the red “while working 24/7. Be sure you have funding to support the business and “you” for 2-3 years as you get going. And if you are seeking escape from your current job, running a business is totally different from being a “skilled employee”. (Read the “E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber if you haven’t already.)
Think about what motivates you to have your own business. If you are trying to “solve a problem” re to displeasure with your current job, it may just give you more headaches. On the other hand, If you love business, have the skills and the passion, the right personality, and a viable business idea, it may be your ticket to a rewarding future. In part 2, I will talk about the qualities that make for a successful entrepreneur.