Almost every article out there tells you to go for it. Start your own business! Live the American Dream! The truth is not everyone should start their own business. If you are thinking about starting your own business, slow down and think of the reasons why you want to do that.
Terrible Reason #6: You Want to Be The Boss
Do you want control of your future? Are you a control freak? Guess what; running your own business means you are not in control. You can’t control much when you start your own business. You can’t control when an employee quits, a customer chooses not to pay their bill, your website crashes or you lose that lucrative contract. The idea that you are the boss and you call the shots does not mean you’re in control. Wanting to be the boss and being able to handle the uncertainty of being the boss are two opposing ideas.
Terrible Reason #5: You Want to Spend More Time With Family
Starting your own business means working 7am to 11pm. It means going in on a Saturday because your website crashed or your employee quit. The adage of time equals money applies to every business owner. The more time you spend with family means less money you make in your business. Working from home is no better. This means your office is steps away from your kitchen table. How focused will you be on family when you forgot to send that invoice out and that’s all you’re thinking about while you’re playing with your kids outside?
Terrible Reason #4: You’re Passionate About the Cause
You love working with kids so you decide to open a day care. You just adore kittens so you start a pet store. You are a fitness junky so you decide to open a Pilates studio. Have you ever run a business? Do you know the first thing about how to market your new pet store? Are you prepared? Sure, these are skills you can pick up on your own, but you need to ask yourself if there are other ways you can fulfill that passion other than disrupting your life, reducing your income, and increasing your stress.
Terrible Reason #3: You Have Money to Invest
You’ve got a 401k or you have equity in your house. You don’t think you’ll do well in the stock market or you don’t want to manage a rental property. Starting a business because you can is not smart. You need 1-2 years of personal expenses covered plus all your operating costs, employee wages, marketing costs and every other expense that crops up just to start your own business. Having the money doesn’t mean the business will be successful. Is there a real market for your product or service? Are your competitors going to crush you? Do you have any experience running a business? If you’re not sure about these questions, then don’t waste your savings.
Terrible Reason #2: You Have an Amazing Idea
You came up with this cool idea. Your family and friends think it’s amazing. You haven’t tested the market or researched competition. You don’t know if you can market the idea or know that people will buy into it. You don’t know how much it will cost to build your product or what price you need to sell your service at to be financially successful. An idea is just a dream. It’s not going to be your day to day reality. Your passion for your idea will not mean you’ll be successful. It only matters what others are willing to pay for your product or service. If you don’t know the answers, but you start a business based on your idea anyway, chances are you are going to fail.
Terrible Reason #1: You Expect to Make Millions
Starting your own business has this allure of success. You’ll be living on a yacht tomorrow sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere while the money just rolls in! The media always portrays these make it rich success stories about someone from middle America that made it big. Millionaire entrepreneurs exist, but they are the exception not the rule. How many plumbers, grocery store owners, consultants, accountants, shoe store owners and farmers, are millionaires? If this is the reason you want to start your own business, give your head a reality check and readjust your expectations.
Starting a business isn’t to be taken lightly.
Starting a business is a major life decision that will change the way you live. It will change your relationships, put additional physical and emotional stress on you and your family. It will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to succeed. You need the patience and stamina to grow your business.
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