Much of the payback people get from their entrepreneurial ventures is personal. Having the independence and flexibility to make time for family, hobbies or other activities is a huge draw to the entrepreneurial life. It also provides an opportunity to do something you have a passion for rather than spend the majority of your waking hours performing tasks you have little real interest in. And, increasingly, location independence is a huge benefit: many people want to live in a particular geographic area—say, close to the mountains or by the ocean—or perhaps in a place where there aren’t an abundance of jobs. Avoiding long commutes is a growing priority, as is the ability to work virtually from anyplace to enable a more footloose lifestyle
You will also reap extensive professional benefits from your entrepreneurial endeavors. For starters, you can advance more rapidly than you would in a traditional office setting. You won’t be limited by what your boss thinks. You won’t be held back because you lack experience or seniority. You will succeed or fail on your own merits.
You’ll also be able to fully leverage your creativity and ingenuity. Rather than simply carrying out other people’s ideas or implementing their visions, you reap the professional benefits of any exciting insights or “ahas” you get. You can be aggressively proactive at pursuing exciting new ideas for products and/or services, and you can pave a path or create a legacy for those who come after you.
Finally, you will thrive due to the sheer adrenaline factor. Entrepreneurs are challenged and surprised every day, and because of this they grow at a much faster rate professionally than their counterparts in traditional employment situations. And because you’re the boss, you can invest in further education and training as you want or need it.
The financial benefits or running your own firm can be substantial. Research performed by Thomas Stanley and William Danko for their best-selling book The Millionaire Next Door found that self-employed businesspersons were four times more likely to be millionaires than those in traditional employer-employee roles. Your earning potential is theoretically unlimited—you can go as far as your business idea will take you. You also benefit directly from your success. The fruits of your labors belong to you. You can take as much or as little out of your business as you choose. And you are untethered from the economic ups and downs—and whims—of a traditional employer. You make, and reap, the financial rewards of your own hard work.
Your income my fluctuate considerably
You won’t have the comfort of that steady paycheck. What you sell to customers or bill to clients is what you get. You will inevitably experience dry spells or have times when your resources are stretched. And you may need to look beyond your own means for the cash to grow your business or even to keep your doors open if times get tough.
You’ll need to be self-sufficient
You must be a disciplined self-started. And depending on the type of business you start, your goals, or the speed at which you grow, you may be working on your own most of the time. You won’t have the traditional “network” of coworkers to turn to for support or assistance. If your computer breaks down, you’ll have to figure out how to get it up and running again. You’ll either do your own books or find a good accountant. And you won’t have the built-in social structure of the traditional workplace.
You’ll work hard
This is a given of the entrepreneurial life: self-employed individuals tend to work longer hours than the typical employee. You don’t get paid for the time you’re not working. This means that you will lose revenue for each day you are sick and for vacation days. Moreover, it may take time to get adequately paid for work you actually do; many entrepreneurs have to continue doing their “day” jobs until their entrepreneurial ventures are established.
You must be a fast learner
You will be largely jumping into the great unknown when you start your business. You may have a deep understanding of your professional field—nursing or engineering or culinary arts—yet it’s a given that you will be confronted hourly with unanticipated challenges. Your ability to learn the ropes and pick up on things quickly will be one of the prime determinants of your success.
You’ll need benefits
Even employees of the largest companies aren’t being provided the same level of insurance and retirement benefits as in the past. When you’re starting your own business, you have the same kind of decisions to make as the largest Fortune 100 companies: What kind of health benefits will you be able to afford—for yourself and for any employees Which insurance company (or companies) will provide them How will you find these benefits Likewise for retirement savings—both your own and for any employee. Will you contribute to a 401K what you decide will depend upon your personal and business priorities and resources.
You must cope with constant change
Just when you think you have everything under control, something new will come along—count on it. You will need to develop your capacity for dealing with the unexpected