Please enjoy this short article by guest author, Kristen Gramigna!
The decision to become your own boss involves overcoming a profound sense (and possible fear) of professional, emotional and financial risk. Given the statistics that only half of small businesses survive for five years, being hesitant about opening a business may be justified. Despite its challenges, however, entrepreneurship offers plenty of tangible and intangible benefits that can negate the uncertainty. In fact, if you’ve been debating whether to open your own business for some time, the most important question you haven’t considered may be, “Why not?” Here’s a look at some common fears would-be entrepreneurs tend to have — and why your excuses for not being your own boss may not be as valid as they appear.
Job security is a facade
When you work in a full-time job for an employer, there’s an inherent sense of security: Your employer promises to regularly compensate you with an agreed-upon amount of money, and may provide paid time off, health and life insurance benefits, and additional compensation for a job well done. Additionally, you’re given the technology tools needed to do your job, and likely, a place to do it. If you lose the job for reasons outside of your control, you may be entitled to severance pay, and/or the option to apply for unemployment payments while you look for a new job.
Though all of these factors can make it feel like working for someone else offers more security and safety nets than owning your own business, Labor Department data indicates that full-time employment isn’t as secure as it seems. For example, Business Insider reports that of Americans who were laid off from 2009 to 2011, more than half of those who found new employment by 2012 took a job with lower pay. Though there’s no guarantee of what you’ll make when you’re an entrepreneur or how you’ll recover financially should you fail, there’s no limitation on what is financially and professionally possible.
Creative freedom is invaluable
A job description outlines what you’re paid to do and how your performance in completing those tasks is measured, but such limitations can also lead to a loss of career passion. Ultimately that disinterest hinders your on-the-job performance, limits your earning potential and long-term career growth — and potentially introduces a sense of negativity into a significant portion of your waking hours. In fact, a 2013 Gallup Poll revealed that nearly 70 percent of American workers surveyed reported feeling either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work, for reasons including dissatisfaction with leadership, lack of challenge, and a sense that their work is not meaningful, valued or important. Though being your own boss often means you’re required to wear many “hats” that fall outside of your formal training, you are empowered to determine how you spend your time at work and when you’ll pursue new professional endeavors and innovations, ensuring that you remain challenged, passionate and satisfied with your work life.
Work-life balance is within your control
Though your working hours may be more clearly defined by the “open” and “closed” hours of your employer when you work for someone else, work-life balance is becoming increasingly challenging for most Americans, particularly in an age where mobile devices keep a constant connection between employers and employees. Though you may choose to turn off your mobile device after hours, your employer sets the expectation for what is acceptable in the workplace culture.
Studies conducted by the Center for American Progress indicate that most full-time jobs involve at least 50 hours a week, and that salary reductions and similar career “penalties” for a part-time or flexible career are more severe in the United States than any other developed nation. If your employer embraces an always-on culture and you opt to disconnect, you risk not living up to performance expectations. Though owning your own business requires plenty of work hours in its own right, you’re not constrained by the norms of a traditional workplace. Entrepreneurs choose when, where and how to work — and when to disconnect.
About the Author
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm, and also serves on its Board of Directors. She has more than 15 years experience in the bankcard industry, dealing directly with entrepreneurs and small business owners, assisting them in opening their own businesses.