Starting your own business can be massively rewarding, but that doesn't mean that being an entrepreneur is right for everyone.
The legend of the self-made business person looms large across American history. But starting a business isn’t for everyone; it comes with its own challenges and advantages.
So is it the right choice for you? We spoke to the experts to find out what factors you should consider if you think you might want to become an entrepreneur.
While owning your own business may not be an ideal goal for everyone, or even most people, it does come with certain advantages. That’s why some people choose to go into entrepreneurship in the first place, after all.
“Being an entrepreneur is challenging but also very rewarding,” explained Leslie H. Tayne Esq., founder and head attorney at Tayne Law Group. “When you’re first starting out, there’s a lot of sacrifices involved and a lot of difficult decisions to make. You’re going to face a lot of obstacles and have to figure out the best answers.
“But getting your business up and running and achieving all of the milestones, both big and small, along the way feels incredible and makes all of the work worth it. In addition, you’re in control of your own destiny and your own livelihood. That can be a scary thought, especially when success isn’t guaranteed, but that makes the success even sweeter.”
Dave Munson, founder and CEO of Saddleback Leather, listed what he sees as the rewards of entrepreneurship:
- “Knowing that you tried something bold and courageous. Not many people do that.
- “You taught your kids to step out and to take risks and not be afraid of failing.
- “You grow in your understanding and wisdom and so become a better person.
- “It will bolster your resume because of what you learned that you didn’t know about before. You’ll be able to talk shop with any other business owner because you’ll see the business as a whole rather than just a department of a business.”
If starting a business was a magic ticket to as much money as you wanted, everyone would be doing it. But there are many drawbacks. What are they?
“There is no easy path to success in entrepreneurship,” warned George Kuhn, president of Drive Research. “It takes work and a lot of it.”
“In order to be successful, it takes a lot of sacrifices. Sacrificing a steady paycheck. Sacrificing time with friends. Sacrificing time with family. Sacrificing your nights and weekends. It boils down to commitment and the willingness to put in the time and effort.”
You’ll also have to have things to sacrifice if you’re looking to make sacrifices. If you don’t have the resources to start a business or the credit necessary to get the resources to start a business, you won’t be able to start a business.
So is it right for you?
Aside from whether you actually have the means to start a business, there are other factors about yourself to consider.
“When deciding if entrepreneurship is right for you, a lot of things should be taken into consideration,” advised Anja Smith, educator and writer with TradebizToolbox.com. “For instance, are you comfortable making decisions without all of the information? Entrepreneurs make judgment calls all day long.
“Are you good at asking for help and delegating? A lot of people think they want to own their own business because they like being in charge. But you can’t do it all—a good entrepreneur is resourceful but also knows how to ask for help and hand off tasks that they can.
“Of course, risk is a part of entrepreneurship. In that vein, one must consider personal discipline and motivation. The risk of opening a business is much less if you are capable of staying organized and self-motivated. No one is going to tell you to get out of bed but you!”
How to prepare.
Have you gotten this far and decided you’re still onboard? Then we’ll leave you with some more advice to help you get started.
“The number one thing I’d recommend for potential entrepreneurs is to take the time to understand the business you’re considering, especially if it’s a new business model,” James McGrath, co-founder of the NYC real estate brokerage Yoreevo, told us.
“If you’re opening a bakery, that’s pretty straightforward – you can tally up rent, equipment costs, ingredients, etc and estimate how much you can sell your product for to understand how much business you’ll need to do in order to make money. Of course you want to make sure you have the best information possible when making those estimates but the information is generally available.
“If you’re thinking about doing something new, you should think about how it will work but more importantly, also what could go wrong. That was most of our homework before we started Yoreevo. We needed to understand how property listings are distributed, how to participate in that system, what the requirements are, how we could be excluded, etc because if anything went awry there, nothing else matters.
“You should spend a significant amount of time understanding both your business and the industry before starting a company. If anyone decided to become an entrepreneur overnight, they have not done enough homework.”
Beyond research, there are other reasons not to immediately jump into the entrepreneurship pool headfirst.
“One of the most effective ways to lower the risk of beginning an entrepreneurial venture is to ensure that you continue in your present working capacity to continue to earn a steady income until your entrepreneurial venture is sustainable,” recommended Nick H. Kamboj, CEO of Aston & James, LLC .
“Furthermore, you can further minimize entrepreneurial risks by initially budgeting for approximately no sales for a period of 6 months and to have enough funds to cover the operating costs. Hence through financial prudence, an entrepreneur can have a considerable amount of confidence knowing that they have a solid financial foundation and thus can focus on the creative aspect of their endeavor.”
And be certain to have all of your bases covered.
“Get insurance,” urged Tayne. “Make sure your business is insured. If it’s not, you could be in a major financial disaster if a crisis occurs. You don’t want to be at risk of losing everything for both your business and yourself.”
Now if you do decide to go into business, you’ll be a bit more prepared. Perhaps we’ll be reading your content blog one day!
Nick H. Kamboj (@nkamboj) is the CEO of Aston & James, LLC an academically focused consultancy and is also the CEO of Aston & James Publishing. He is the author of 6 books and has also previously held leadership and executive positions at Microsoft, Xerox, and Accenture respectively. Nick is the recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Player Award, Microsoft CPE Award, Microsoft Pinnacle Award, Employee of the Year Award (LANAC), Chandler Case Award (Booth), Bright Idea Award (LANAC), Implementation Award (LANAC), Global Awareness Award (Booth), and two Illinois Governor commendations.
Dave Munson is the founder and CEO of Saddleback Leather (@saddlebackbags) and their factory in Mexico, Old Mexico Manufacturing. He is passionate about using his business to impact lives and is also passionate about spreading the quality message. He lives in the country outside of Fort Worth, Texas in African Safari tents with his wife, Suzette and two kids and three Labradors.
Andrew Tavin is a writer, comedian, and a full-time content manager for OppLoans. He graduated with a BFA in TV Writing from Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, worked as a writer for BrainPOP, and created a branded comedy video series for the National Retail Federation called “Interview Day.” He performs around the country and his writing has also appeared on Collegehumor, Funny or Die, and Sparklife.
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