So you’ve succumbed to an entrepreneurial seizure and think that you want to start your own business.
Before you chuck in your job and sell your first born to fund the new idea that’s going to make you richer than Mark Zuckerberg, here’s my guide to the underbelly of entrepreneurship.
1. You’ll work harder than you ever did in your “regular” job
If you think that being your own boss means you can swan around having long lunches and leading the good life, think again. You’ll probably work longer hours than ever before. But the long hours aren’t even the tough part. The most challenging thing you need to deal with is the stress. Your livelihood is on the line. So is your reputation. And that kind of pressure can cause more than a few sleepless nights.
When you work for someone else, you can be assured that you’re getting that paycheque every single week. You don’t have to worry that a team of employees, suppliers and customers are all relying on you. But when you run your own business, the buck stops with you. If business isn’t going well, it’s YOUR mortgage that’s at stake.
On the plus side, while you may work darn hard, this also means that you’re creating your own destiny. The stress might be palpable at times but the sky is also the limit. Focus on moving forward and growing your business.
2. You’ll meet people who will try to take advantage of you
It sometimes amazes me when people want my products – but simply don’t want to pay for them. Some have actually said: “Well, I don’t expect to pay for it.” I kid you not.
And I’m not referring to some tiny little promotional product that costs next to nothing to produce. I mean real products where each unit can only be created with considerable time, effort and significant costs involved.
I have no explanation for the logic behind this kind of thinking and I find it utterly confounding. But it happens. More often than you think.
Fortunately, you also come across wonderful people in business who are a pleasure to deal with. When I started my business seven years ago I didn’t expect to become such good friends with so many of my customers and suppliers. I feel truly blessed that my business brought them into my life.
3. You will be overwhelmed by administration
I’m referring to red tape, bureaucracy, ridiculous amounts of accounting and a tax system that simply defies logic.
While you might want to focus on the activity you’re passionate about (which is why you went into business in the first place), you will also spend an inordinate amount of time on administration. Furthermore, if you are successful and manage to grow your business to a stage where you are employing several staff members, you also have the pleasure of paying payroll tax (in addition to all the other tax you already pay). I still shake my head at how this ludicrous tax came into existence.
If you can push through this administration – and get your business to the point where you can pay someone to look after the red tape – you may emerge with a chance to really grow.
Despite all the challenges, running your own business means that you have the opportunity to create something very special. Even as a child, I was mesmerised by the stories of small business owners. I loved the idea they were busy turning their ideas into reality.
If you’re thinking of starting your own business, it’s not for the faint-hearted. But if you can deal with the challenges, and if you are doing something you are passionate about, it can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences life can offer. I hope you enjoy creating your business as much as I have.