You are officially torn: should you start your own business and become your own boss, or stick with your 9 to 5 because it seems comfortable or less scary?
The global economy in the past decade reveals a substantial growth in employment, and job opportunities are on the rise. As the data shows a promising tomorrow in the job sector, and being an employee has worked for everyone you know, why fix something that is not broken? On the other hand, you can see the rising tide of entrepreneurs talk about the freedom and the satisfaction that comes with operating successful businesses — and if you have that spirit, it’s hard to completely set aside this attractive calling.
Being an employee or being an entrepreneur each have their own perks as well as hiccups. Before diving into the water, it’s good to know the depth of the pool. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of finding employment versus starting a business.
Having a 9 to 5
Pro #1: A Guaranteed Paycheck
The most obvious benefit of having a job is the paycheck that goes with it. Having your own dependable, steady stream of earnings can give you a sense of security. Knowing what goes in your paycheck enables you to plan and budget accordingly. From personal experience, it is much easier to plan for future expenses and leave less up to guesswork or time spent with painstaking budgets week after week. You know what will be covered by month’s end and what isn’t instead of having to wonder if you’ll be able to pay the rent or afford groceries.
Pro #2: Better Work-life Balance
People say that owning a business means you are free to do whatever you want, whenever you want — this is a myth. When you are a business owner, you oversee EVERYTHING, and because of this, there is more to do. Also, there is no buffer built between you and your clients unlike when you are a company employee and you often have an experienced team to make any day to day client related stressors less of a personal burden.
In short, there is more responsibility and the boundaries not often clearly set. A position of employment on the other hand can more likely allow you to turn off work as soon as you clock-out or head home for the day. This is something you may not want to take for granted.
Pro #3: Skills Enhancement
The corporate domain is well-stocked with diverse talents and skills. Different projects and initiatives offer opportunities for jobs as well as exposure to different roles. This open arena for workers offers enrichment of expertise. Moreover, being in a business or organization opens doors to creating and extending your network which is beneficial when climbing the corporate ladder, or even moving between companies.
As a business owner, this type of development falls more squarely on your shoulders and is often a source of stress further down the road.
Con #1: Dependency On Others
If you have a brilliant initiative for a project or have the fix for an increase in productivity, you can’t simply have these ideas implemented right away. You need to present and get permission before taking any steps. This process includes loads of presentations, several reviews by your peers, comments from your superiors, etc. Furthermore, office politics can play a huge role in how well your ideas are received, regardless of merit or ability.
While many organizations make it a point to cultivate personal creativity as a source of inspiration, this is far from the norm. This unfortunate reality can prove to be a huge motivator for budding entrepreneurs to take that next step.
Con #2: Pigeonholed into a Routine
Employment restrictions within a particular industry or position may effectively curtail the potential for your growth as an individual. Employees often have fewer career advancement opportunities and can only make progress in a very specific task or department. Often times, a healthy competitive spirit is no longer healthy; it is just competition in a silo.
Instead of an environment where competition can spark the next big improvement, you may find yourself shunned into “just do your job” mentality.
Cons #3: Job Security
Let’s face it, in the corporate world, people are driven by ambition and competition and could, therefore, be dispensable. Jobs are not always guaranteed for the rest of people’s tenure, and employers can often fire employees without providing a strong reason. This, of course, is dependent on the company’s culture, still, job security is never 100% assured.
For many, this is reason enough to break that 9 to 5 cycle. There is an attractive case for truly holding responsibility for one’s own successes or failures.
Owning A Business
Who hasn’t heard of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Ma? These astute business men made use of the internet infrastructure, WiFi capabilities, technology, and artificial intelligence, making the idea of putting up a free enterprise quicker and easier.
Business owners are often shown as innovative risk-takers who control their time and resources; with uncapped potential earnings and the ability to hop from industry to industry using and cultivating entrepreneurial skills that eventually contribute to their own personal sense of worth. This can be very appealing but does this mean that entrepreneurship is the future? The answers are not that clear cut. Let’s take a closer look.
Pro #1: Flexible Work Hours
The ability of an entrepreneur to choose when and where to work is very enticing. As long you are realistic and don’t give yourself too many downtimes, you’re more likely to be productive and experience an improved sense of well-being. You are less stressed knowing that no one is looking over your shoulder and breathing down your neck.
Deadlines can be the bane of truly exceptional work. Working on your own terms can, therefore, inspire a higher degree of creativity and quality that can often result in equitable compensation for that work.
Pro #2: Diverse Learning Experience
As a potential business owner, you will learn valuable lessons on finance, customer psychology, management, efficiency, strategic communications, and other lessons vital to the management of a business. Such experiences can prove to be valuable irrespective of whether you choose to start working again for another business or follow the more adventurous direction of setting up new companies.
By owning and running your own business you have seen more of the inner workings of a venture. This fast-tracks your ability to see the whole picture no matter what your next opportunity becomes. It can make you an indispensable employee or pave the way to a brighter venture for yourself.
Pro #3: Greater Sense Of Personal Satisfaction
When you experience consistency in profits and general growth in your role as a business owner, you become much more fulfilled and happier. It is true that the pressure and challenge that it takes to achieve success in entrepreneurship can provide an addictive sense of confidence. What’s more, depending on your how your derive self-worth, most successful small business owners will feel that they are admired and respected by their peers for having the confidence to go out on their own and succeeding at it.
Succeeding at your own venture, can arguably be the most satisfying feeling because you can truly take the credit for your successes.
Con #1: It is risky
Deciding to be an entrepreneur and doing it on your own carries a lot of vulnerabilities. What if your venture does not pan out? The risk of disappointment, the threat of your loss being observed by others, falling into debt, the risk of bankruptcy – it’s not for the weak-willed.
It’s important to be both optimistic and realistic, which is a difficult balancing act in the face of risk and failure.
Con #2: Not Enough Funding
It is seldom that you witness a start-up businesses taking off right away. As a society we tend to have unrealistic expectations for success due to the rise of sugarcoated stories on social media. Instead of taking unnecessary risk, you need to know if you have enough cash to sustain start-up costs for several months. Even if the company is successful on paper, you still need enough cash flow to pay your workers and pay your overhead. You will always need to be tweaking your strategy towards a more efficient, cheaper, faster approach; or you will be at risk of falling into heavy debt.
Con #3: It Can be Stressful
With no guaranteed income, no manager to provide direction, no colleagues for support, being a business owner can be a challenging and lonely environment. You also need to be calm, controlled and optimistic even in crisis mode. This, and being your own boss-legal adviser-marketing department-accountant rolled into one can take a mental toll.
So there – the choice is not as straight-and-simple as it seems; there is much to consider. The right choice between starting up a business or having a job is crucial at the start because it will be very hard to make the switch at a later point in time. For this reason, it is important to audit yourself. Get a handle on your personality, your values and your skills to really get an idea which route to take.
The Bauke Group can help you make the right choice. We want you to get excited about the potential opportunities you can transition to. Ideally, you do not want to be switching careers at a point in your life when you want to be enjoying retirement, one hand holding a strawberry daiquiri, basking on a white, sandy beach. That’s why we know these decisions are difficult and life altering. Our expertise is navigating you through career options, especially ones that will set the tone for a successful future and a more fulfilled life.