Go Big or Go Home: The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Business
Working for a small business can provide its own unique perks that may—or may not—be right for you. But it’s a whole different ballgame when that “small business” is your small business. Do you have what it takes to strike out on your own? Do you really even want to? Here are some positives—and negatives—to keep in mind if you’re thinking of taking the plunge.
Pro: Create your own schedule
Who hasn’t dreamed of deciding when to show up to work and when to leave? If you own your own business, you can. Whether you plan meetings around important family events, decide to work from home, or establish regular office hours a little later in the day to accommodate school drop-off, you can (within reason) set the schedule.
Pro: Extra motivation
It can be difficult to scrape up the motivation for a project when you know you’re doing it for someone else (especially if it’s a Monday). But when those projects directly benefit you and your company? You’ll be amazed at the amount of enthusiasm you find for even the most day-to-day tasks.
Pro: Tax benefits
Starting your own business can be a serious financial strain (more about that later). But utilizing the various tax breaks provided by the government can help ease that burden. From home office expenses to healthcare and beyond, you might be surprised at the kinds of breaks you can get—especially if your business is woman- or minority-owned.
Pro: Leave a legacy
A successful business will endure long after the original founder has passed on. If the idea of leaving behind a venture for your children or grandchildren appeals to you, it may be the extra push you need to go out and try it.
Con: Menial tasks
While you get to do all the fun stuff as a business owner, like developing a logo and honing your craft, you also have to do all the not fun stuff too. And while you may think you can just foist those duties off on someone else, trust us: The truth is that you will find yourself having to oversee everything—including those tasks you find personally undesirable.
Con: Immense stress
Stress is a huge con when it comes to starting your own business. Spend time seriously considering your decision if you don’t do well under stress or already have health issues that can be complicated by stress. As the owner, you have to worry about everything: Employee management, paying bills, competition, advertising, troubleshooting, etc. You are the person people come to with problems because you are the one expected to solve it.
Con: Monetary risk
And here we come to the crux of the business owning problem, the main issue that holds most people back from taking the plunge: Money. Or more specifically, the risk of losing it. Separating your business assets from your personal ones as much as possible is an essential first step, but even that doesn’t completely protect you from possibly losing your personal investment or damaging your credit. And if you use credit cards or take out a loan against an existing mortgage, “the damage can be severe.”
Take the stress and financial risk mentioned above, and you have a perfect storm for burnout. It’s common for business owners to experience fatigue from being overworked, which is why it’s important to establish some sort of work/life balance even when you’re first building up your brand.
Adapting to the ins and outs of a new business you’ve created on your own can take some time. By laying a solid foundation (or as solid as you can) via a sensible business plan can limit the amount of headaches you encounter once you open. Just keep in mind it’s virtually impossible to avoid all the obstacles of owning your own business. But working through those pitfalls can be one of the most challenging—and rewarding—professional experiences of your life.