This discussion is on the Pros and Cons of working for myself that I have discovered over a number of years. First as a consultant in oil and gas, secondly as a small business owner in a food/wine business, finally as a representative of Prüvit. Well, probably not finally, but now. After all, I do have 40 more working/fun making years ahead of me! The active mind is the ageless mind 🙂 And, spoiler alert…. The Pros win for me, big time.
Let’s start with the Cons. It always amazes me that people, myself included on occasion, go immediately to the roadblocks! So, let’s start there.
- As a favorite (and very successful) consultant friend of mine says: “You eat what you kill.” Brings to mind lions on the Serengeti, but what he is saying is true. You must be generating a pipeline of business all the time, even while you’re working for clients, because if you don’t, you will not have an income at some point. Starting over all the time is exhausting. Ask the lions.
- Everything is your problem, particularly in the beginning. Printer doesn’t work? Your problem. Need a website set up? Paper for the printer? New phone plan? Vehicle? Business cards? Income tax? Billing? Staffing? Your Problem to solve. Not insurmountable, just expect it. The good thing is that you get to shape your business, the challenge is that you must take time away from sales and meeting potential clients.
- You are alone. Not always true, but often true. No one to bounce ideas off, no one to tell you it’s a bad plan…. This can also be a positive thing, depending on how you look at it. And, you don’t have to be alone. Make sure you develop a community that you can tap into, meet with, go for coffee with, bounce ideas off and grow together.
- You will be without income for a while. Sometimes a long while. Be realistic in your planning for lack of income and then double it. Same goes for free time. Master of the Universe does not have weekends off in the early stages. Get your family on board, your friends, your peeps!
And, now, just as you are thoroughly convinced it doesn’t make sense, the Pros!
- You are the boss. Success or Failure – you own it. There is nothing more exhilarating than being in charge of your own destiny, managing the course of your own ship and bringing others aboard who are excited and thrilled to be part of the growth. Alert: If you read that statement and immediately disagree or want to run and hide under the bed…revisit being an entrepreneur. It’s not for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart!
- You can determine your work hours/timing. I know it sounds indulgent but one of my favorite things about my most recent venture is that I can get up in the morning, read my newspaper, go for a workout and be at my desk/dining room table/most comfortable chair in my bedroom for work by 10…11:30 at the latest. For me, after years of having to be in the office at 6 or 7am, this indulgence is part of why I’m prepared to take on the Cons. But don’t fool yourself…I am often working until 10pm. Albeit sometimes in my pajamas.
- You can keep your integrity. I am not assuming your integrity is at question in your current job. But wouldn’t you like to ability to turn down business when it is not in your best interests to take that client on? If they seem as if they will ultimately suck the life right out of you? What about when a client has a problem? Instead of multiple people and paperwork that runs you both down, you can just simply make a decision to solve it. Nice.
- Lack of bureaucracy is beautiful. Run an ad and it doesn’t seem to be working? Change it. On a dime. You don’t like when you interact with other companies and their processes make you crazy? Make yours more client friendly. Whatever is not working, you can change. Multiple times. Until you find the right one for you.
- Finally, profits are yours. No longer are you working to create wealth for some nameless faceless guy (or girl) in some other city who exists so many levels above you that you will never meet them. The wealth you create is for you and the growth of your business. And, generally speaking, less tax dollars going out. Enjoy it.
If you are interested in how to work for yourself, let’s talk. I am currently building my best team yet (firstname.lastname@example.org), sharing wealth while helping people get their healthiest ever. And, as always, any questions or comments are much appreciated!