So you’re sick of working for The Man, and you want to start your own business. Good for you. That’s one rung on the ladder of the American Dream. Be your own boss, do your own thing. Build your own future. It’s a great dream to have and an even better dream to realize. But there’s a catch. Just because you want to, doesn’t mean you should. There are a lot of reasons to start a business, but there are just as many – maybe more – reasons to wait or not to start one at all.
Ready to Jump Ship?
You hate your job, and you feel stuck. Hate is a STRONG motivator. So is feeling trapped. But these are not reasons to start your own thing. These are reasons to find something else, sure, but it may not be your own business. If you’re not passionate about going on to your own thing, you will find yourself feeling just as trapped in the new opportunity as you felt working for someone else. Except now you will only have yourself to blame. Starting your own business should be about positive momentum, not escape.
Realities of Running Your Own Business
You want to work your own schedule. You’re sick of that 9 to 5 which is really 8 to 6 or 7 most days. You hate the daily grind, and you hate missing family events and other important life moments because of your unbending work schedule. Guess what, when you start your own thing, especially in the early going, it will be much, much worse. You will find yourself working or thinking about work 24-7. You will begin a span of years in which vacations are something that happens to someone else. And weekends? Fuggetaboutit! Your favorite sports? Nah, by the time you come up for air all the players will be different. So, while it’s true, your schedule will change when you start your own business, don’t expect it to free up your time.
You love thinking about new opportunities. This alone is a terrible reason to start a business. Want to know why? Because that won’t change. If you start something new just because you want to start something new, you will just find yourself wanting to start something else new before your current project gets off the ground.
Do You Want to be Your Own Boss?
You want to be your own boss. Ha! You know what, it sounds good on paper, but the reality is much different. As a business owner, you may make the decisions and have the responsibility, but you’re not the boss. Your earnings report and sales sheets determine your actions. Your clients and market and employees set your context. Sure, you have the final say, but it’s not the kind of control you daydream about sitting in your cubicle. Is it rewarding? Absolutely. But it’s a different sort of freedom you have to live to understand.
So, what about you? Are you ready to launch or would you be better off working with someone else, building their business while you get your ducks in a row?
David Milberg is a financial expert in New York City.