I’ve been out on my own for 5 whole months, and I think that gives me the right to tell everyone to start their own business? Well, yes, actually I do, but probably not for the reason you think. I’m also not suggesting it be your sole source of income, though that does lend a certain urgency to it.
To massively oversimplify it; there’s no way you can lose.
Not everyone will be a Steve Jobs (well, eventually …death and taxes and all that), or a Richard Branson, but in the end there are only two outcomes:
- Your business is successful enough that you can continue to pursue that course and support your family, or;
- Your business fails and you go back to a regular job.
Wait – I assume you’re saying – the second option sounds like the very definition of loss! However, I have had a lot of time over the last few months to consider what would happen if my own business failed and I had to start looking for a day job. Clearly I would be unhappy, and I don’t know of any entrepreneur who doesn’t hope that their start-up becomes the next Google, but seeing as my aspirations are more mundane, I can actually see the many benefits:
First – You sacked-up and did it – For years I have thought I wanted to be out on my own, but didn’t have the nads to make it happen. I am out on my own now because a) I was made ‘redundant’, b) the 9 – 5 options at my level were very sparse, c) I had enough saved that I could give it a go, and, most importantly, d) a wife who does nothing but support my every move. Even the bad ones. You start your own business and your confidence levels shoot through the roof;
Second – You get to find out if being an entrepreneur is actually right for you – It’s VERY easy – for example – to criticise your bosses all the way up to the board of directors about what you see clearly as mistakes they’re making. Now it’s your problem, your mistakes, and potentially YOU who is now the one screwing up your employees’ lives. That’s OK though – not screwing up peoples’ lives of course – because if you do end up going back to a 9 – 5, you’ll have a better understanding of the pressures, and may be able to communicate your solutions in a language they’ll understand;
Third – It’s easy – Of course, I know that NOW, but before I knew how it was done it looks very intimidating. You have to have an idea in the first place, hopefully an existing pipeline, then you fill out forms for Companies House, HMRC, bank accounts, web designs, marketing and the whole gamut. But, and here’s the kicker, there are literally hundreds of people you can ask, and who love to help. My own journey has been ugly, but fascinating, and now that I know what to do, any idea can become a new business, whether I’m running it, or helping someone else;
Fourth – You become far more aware of other business ideas – Whether or not your current venture succeeds, by going through the process you adopt the entrepreneurial mind-set whether you mean to or not. Ever notice how, when you’re considering buying a certain type of car, that you suddenly see them everywhere? Business ideas are the same when you’ve had one of your own (business, not car);
Fifth – You’ll be more content. If your business succeeds, you’ll never be happier, but if it fails, you’ll at least know that when you’re back in your 9 – 5 that starting your own business is not for you, and be more content where you are. Maybe you’ll work for a few years to save the capital for your next business, or maybe you’ll succeed beyond all previous expectations in your 9 -5, either way, you’ll have what too few people out there attain in the Information Age; Self awareness.
Try being content or successful at anything without it.
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