In my previous column, “Thinking About Starting Your Own Business,” I discussed a few of the issues a person would be wise to consider. Many of the unemployed are considering entrepreneurship as an option rather than seeking another job. However, the risks are great and the odds against success are significant.
Avoid becoming a statistic!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics proclaims that, “of the 137,000 businesses born every day, 123,000 or 90% of them, fail.“ Pretty daunting, no? However, if you have asked and successfully answered the eight questions in my very first “Ask Alan” column, “Will My New Business Succeed,” you may be able to beat those odds.
What works best for you?
Is being self-employed easier than working for someone else? As someone who has done both, I can wholeheartedly say that self-employment is just as challenging, if not more so. Most of the time, though, they are just too different to compare. Every job comes with its own challenges. It’s not about who has it worse, it’s about finding what works best for you.
What is your business?
My friend and colleague, Steve Chapman, loves to catch people who answer this question wrong. He says, “people who have their own business almost never answer this question correctly. Self-employed people almost always try to suggest that what they do every day is their business.”
However, Steve goes on to say, “what self-employed people do to make money is NOT their business, it is just the operational part of their business.” There are four parts to every business, operations, marketing, finance, and people. The primary reason so many businesses fail, Chapman believes, “is they neglect to understand how a business is structured and they ignore three of the four parts that make up a business.”
Having your own business is more stressful than being an employee, working for someone else!
“This can certainly be true for some people, but it does not necessarily apply to everyone.” According to research from AXA business Insurance. “78% of self-employed people describe themselves as stressed to some extent.“ While this may seem like a high percentage, it’s not compared to the 90% of people who say the same while working for someone else instead. “The best thing about being in charge is that if a problem is stressing you out, you can do more about it.” Gareth Howell, managing director of AXA Direct says. Howell also says that, “when asking people about their motivations for starting a business, ‘control’ was the word that came up time and again.”
It is great to have choices – the choice to work for an established business, the choice to work for yourself or the choice to do something different entirely. Whatever the myths surrounding self-employment, you can feel empowered to do things your own way. There will always be someone who will misunderstand. But, if you keep your head screwed on, you will be fine!
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You can find his books, Getting the Fish to Swim to YOU & Keeping Them in YOUR Boat, and UpStream. Alan lives in Huntersville, NC with his wife Mindy. They have two grown children, two grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Bentley.
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