For some reason, it’s often unsurprising for someone to reveal they’re an entrepreneur. Maybe it’s the confidence or charisma or the silverton ...
Job vs. Business – Which Is Right for You?
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on July 13, 2021
Updated on March 16, 2023
When you get up to go to work every day, you might wonder if there’s a better way. You may have a business idea, and dreams of being a successful entrepreneur, but you’re reluctant to take the leap because of all the risk.
It is a big jump, and there are many factors to consider before you take such a monumental step. Let’s look at these factors so that you can decide whether a job or a business is right for you.
Starting a business is risky in many ways. First of all, you’ll have to invest time and money, no matter how simple your business idea. Most business startups require a lot of capital to get off the ground, so you’ll likely need your own money, a business loan, or an investor.
It will also take time to begin to see a profit, so you may not be able to pay yourself for a while. Ultimately, you risk the possibility of business failure and ending up deep in debt.
When you have a job, on the other hand, you have a certain amount of security: you’ll always get a paycheck. But at the same time you always face the risk of getting fired or laid off. When you own your own business, you’re in charge, so you can never get fired!
When you own your own business, even if you’re a small business owner, your potential profit is unlimited. Entrepreneurship is a financial ship that you steer, and if you’re successful, you can work your way to financial freedom.
You could potentially get to the point where someone else runs the business for you and you can just sit back and count the passive income. Down the road, you could sell your business for a large amount of money, or grow your company and income over time.
When you have a job, whether a government job or a corporate job or any kind of job, there will always be limits on how much money you can make. Even if your salary is raised or you get promoted, there is a ceiling. However, again, you have the security of a regular paycheck. There is an advantage to having a steady, reliable income.
When you have your own business, you’re free to work when you want to, right? Not if you want to make money! The freedom that you have as a business owner is more about control. You control your own destiny and how much money you make by working hard and making good decisions.
You are free to delegate work – sometimes – but you are the business. You are free to make choices. You can decide who you want to work with, who your customers are, and how your business operates. But the reality is that when you run your own business you will likely need to work hard and work often.
When you have a job, you do what you’re told and you get paid what your company is willing to pay you. The freedom that you have with a job is that when you leave work for the day, you can let it go. When you are an entrepreneur, you eat, breathe, and sleep your work.
Running a business is hard work. Of course, you work hard at your job now, but being an entrepreneur takes work to another level. You’ll have to learn to do all sorts of things – from office tasks to finance to managing operations.
It’s not all about managing the product and sales. When you’re a startup, you probably won’t be able to afford to hire people to manage other functions for you, so you will wear many hats. When something needs to be done, it will likely be you that has to step up and do it.
Forget the 40-hour work week! That will be a thing of the past. In order to be a successful business owner, you will have to put your heart and soul into it, and work hard whenever it’s necessary. Forget 9-5 Monday through Friday.
Again, when you work at a job, you work hard and then go home. As a business owner, you lose that luxury.
As a business owner, you’re responsible for more than just the money you make. You’re responsible for making your customers happy so that they keep coming back because you are providing them value.
You are also, more importantly, responsible for your employees. They rely on your business to succeed, for their own livelihood, and that of their family, not just yours. That responsibility is something you need to take seriously, and always keep at the top of your mind, as a business owner. These are people with lives, families, and responsibilities of their own.
This means that it’s crucial to develop a positive company culture, so your employees want to come to work every day. Retention is key to any successful business, and a positive company culture starts at the top – with you.
Being an entrepreneur is a constant learning experience. You’ll learn more from running a business than you’ve ever learned before. You’ll learn how to do things you never thought you would. You’ll learn about people, how they think and what they need. You’ll begin to understand your customers’ needs and the needs of your employees.
You will grow, both personally and professionally with these insights. Even if the worst case scenario happens and your business fails, you will have gained invaluable knowledge and experience.
More importantly, keep in mind that many entrepreneurs who initially fail get right back on the horse again with another business, because they’ve learned from their mistakes and know how rewarding entrepreneurship can be.
When you work at a job, you are learning as well, but you’re limited to what you can learn in your specific role. As a business owner, you’ll play just about every role within your company.
The Big Picture
Working at a job is secure and gives you a routine you can count on. You work a certain number of hours and get paid for your time.
Entrepreneurship is a way of life. Its rewards are many, as are its demands. As you watch your business grow, you will feel great pride and a sense of accomplishment. The financial rewards might even be secondary.
As a successful entrepreneur, you will be creating jobs and giving your customers value. You’ll be able to look around your office and think to yourself, “I built this.” It is not, however, an easy path, and you will need to be prepared for the trials you’ll face. You’ll be constantly solving problems and fighting your way uphill, but the higher you climb, the more you will appreciate the lifestyle – if it’s the right choice for you.
Making Your Decision
Now that you have considered many of the lifestyle factors involved in choosing a job vs. a business, you may think entrepreneurship is the path you want to take. The next step is to get down to brass tacks: if you have a business idea, start researching it and doing your homework.
Examine the market from every angle and develop ideas about your business model and overall objectives. If you don’t have an idea yet, follow your passion first. Look for a problem in the market that you think you can solve.
Once you have an idea and business model, create a business plan. This will compel you to think through everything involved in launching and running your business. Once you begin to put that on paper, you’ll understand it more deeply and can better decide if being an entrepreneur is right for you. If it is, then roll up your sleeves and get to work!
Job vs. Business – Which Is Right for You?
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