Being a business owner may sound glamorous and exciting, but owning a business has its pitfalls. My recommendation is don’t get caught up in the excitement of working for yourself unless you truly understand that there are negatives to being the “boss.”
1. There is no steady paycheck.
Can you handle the stress of not having a steady paycheck? As a business owner you can potentially go weeks between paychecks. Before you open the door to your new business, make sure your “financial house” is in order. Be prepared emotionally and financially to handle the “payday droughts” that can happen when you’re the business owner.
2. There are no set hours.
As the owner, you are in charge of overseeing all aspects of the business. Until your business is large and profitable enough, you will be doing just about everything yourself. If you’re used to working a set schedule, you’ll have to learn to be flexible and work when the business needs you. Flexibility is a skill business owners have to learn quickly.
3. Vacations are few and far between.
Especially as a new owner, most of your time will be devoted to running and growing the business. Forget about paid vacations. If you can take one or two days off in a row, you’ve taken a vacation.
4. You have to come out of your comfort zone.
Learning new skills is a huge part of being a successful entrepreneur. Learning often means growing and stretching out of your comfort zone and attempting new skills that may feel uncomfortable at first. A shy business owner for example, may have a difficult time going to networking events and meeting new people.
5. You have to “sell” your product or service.
Here’s the business bottom line: If you want to stay in business, you have to make money. If you want to make money, you have to consistently sell your product or service. Many business owners, especially new owners, are reluctant to “sell.” They don’t want to appear too pushy and often sit around waiting for customers to come to them. A successful entrepreneur knows how to market, promote and successfully sell their products.
6. The buck stops with you.
As the owner, you are fully responsible for making day-to-day choices and long-term decisions. Quite frankly, you are responsible for the success or failure for the business. Your decisions and choices can make the difference between succeeding or having to close up shop.
7. You are the leader.
If you have employees, if you outsource, if you have team members – you are the leader. Your responsibility is to become a leader that others will choose to follow. If you have a difficult time being decisive, you’re not going to be a strong leader. Please remember, you are not the parent, the savior or the nursemaid – you are the leader. Not everyone may like your decisions, but a self-confident and decisive leader is an effective leader.
8. You’re responsible for the “financials” of the business.
If you’re not a numbers person, hire someone who is. As the owner, you are responsible for the financial solvency of your company. You are responsible for the taxes and fees associated with owning a business. If you do not want to or cannot handle this responsibility, hire a qualified professional who will handle it for you.
9. Frustration and disappointment are common emotions.
There will be many days when you’ll shake your head and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing. Let’s face real-world facts here – there will be many days living through the emotional peaks and valleys of business ownership. A successful business owner knows how to be their best cheerleader – they know how to motivate themselves to keep going when the going gets rough. The key to staying the course and not giving up before payday, is figuring out how to level out those peaks and valleys of business ownership.
10. Being an owner can get lonely.
There will be times when the weight of responsibility becomes a heavy burden to carry alone. That’s when you call upon your support network to provide advice and support. As a business owner, you will want to surround yourself with like-minded success-oriented business owners. Choose your support network carefully. Join organizations and groups that will encourage your business growth and success.
I’ve owned my own business for twenty-five years and I wouldn’t do anything else. My advice is to be realistic and realize that there are challenges to owning a business. I also believe that with adequate preparation, realistic expectations and unstoppable determination you can successfully work for yourself.
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