There are 27 million entrepreneurs in the United States and I’m one of them. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 3 years now, but my desire to work for myself started long before that. I often get asked, “what’s it like to work for yourself” or “how did I start working for myself”?
The answer? My answer; working for myself is the most difficult and simultaneously rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s truthful, it’s diplomatic, it’s passionate. If done correctly, it can make your wildest dreams come true. If done incorrectly it can and will break you-mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. But how does someone actually do it? Read on to find out.
Is it Better To Work For Yourself Or Someone Else?
There is no right or wrong answer here and it largely depends on you and your background and your resources. I’m a fashion designer. I have a ton of knowledge and experience, that I got from school and corporate America. For me, it was very important to work in the industry to meet people, network, learn what they didn’t teach me in school, and really absorb all that fashion is, so that when I started my own business I could hit the ground running, and didn’t waste my money on costly mistakes. I highly recommend working in the field of your business venture, if that is a possibility.
I think the better question is, “do you know enough of what your business will be doing, to go it alone?” If you can honestly answer yes to this question then maybe you don’t need to work for someone. If your answer is no, perhaps you should consider taking a step back, learn the trade/craft/etc and start once you have a mastery of your chosen entrepreneurial field.
Thinking Of Leaving Corporate America? Read this first before you do.
What are the Disadvantages Of Working For Yourself?
So much of being an entrepreneur is subjective to the individual and their resources. So my disadvantages may be someone else’s strengths. In general when speaking to friends that also have their own business, the commonalities seem to be time management, management of funds, personnel, and work life balance.
You may start out as a team of one. You may have help. Regardless of which is your scenario, there will never be enough time. As you get busier, you’ll have to learn how to say “no” when it comes to your time. You’ll also have to learn to stick to your schedule. Prioritizing will be your friend here. But also, figure out what you HAVE to do, and what someone else on your team can do. Do you have to be at every meeting? Perhaps someone else can go in your stead, and save you time. Apply this logic to everything else.
If you don’t have a team where you can split the responsibilities, then you’ll have to be honest with if the demands placed on your time, are necessary to accomplish what your goals are.
Management Of Funds
Money will come in fluxes for your business-especially in the beginning. There will be great times where money is coming in with no problem, and then there will be slow times. You’ll have to get great at being resourceful in order to survive the slow times. Consider how you can maximize your product or service to generate revenue in different ways.
I have a part-time job and it’s perfect for when I need extra capital to purchase supplies, pay vendors, or develop new product. It’s extremely flexible, they know about my business and are happy to work around it, within reason. As a writer, I also do writing for companies on their blogs, papers, or copy for websites. These all help my business to survive in the slow times. many other entrepreneurs I know, have an additional source of income outside of their business to help. The key is to not let that additional source of income monopolize your time, focus or energy.
I even started a second business to help with generating income for the primary business. Besides being a huge cost of time, it was harder than I thought it would be to manage both. Ultimately we had to pause the second business for a while while we work on some major growth opportunities for the first one.
I even started a second business to help with income for the primary business!
Your team can make you soar or sink. I don’t have any employees except for myself. But I do have a team of people that I work with on a regular, contracted basis. I pay them for a one time, two time service and continue to utilize their help as I need it.
I would recommend waiting to hire employees until you absolutely have to. They will be your companies biggest, continual expense. If your company is working on making income steady, payroll will be the one thing that will very quickly, deplete your income.
If you have to hire payroll, consider temporary employees or part-time employees. You’ll pay less in insurance, and in overall benefits because neither is a full time permanent employee.
Work Life Balance
This partly goes back to time management; you’ll have to determine what is important to you sometimes-and EVERYTHING will be or feel important. If you have a support system the best advice I could give is to be transparent on what your needs are, what you need help with and your struggles. The more you share with your friends and family, the more likely they are to not only be understanding of any short comings on your part, but they may even be able to help….assuming you’re surrounded by the right people 😉
When Is It Time To Quit Your Job?
For me, it was made painfully clear that I wasn’t wanted any longer at my previous job. So in a sense, it was easy for me to make the decision because I was being treated so badly. If that is not your reality, I would say it’s time to quit when your part-time entrepreneurial efforts are taking over all of your time and you can’t balance your part-time side hustle with your full time job anymore.
You’ll want to make sure that you are financially prepared for this and have an answer for health insurance, but ideally if you can’t juggle both any longer, it’s definitely the first sign that it may be time to leave your full time job.
The journey to being self-employed is not an easy road. It will test everything you know and believe in for reasons you didn’t think. But it’s the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done and it has given me a sense of purpose and pride in my work that I wasn’t able to achieve in corporate America.
Are you thinking of leaving your job to start your own company? Comment below how you did or what your struggles are and continue the conversation on the gram @tiesidesandscoops
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