Working for somebody else has its benefits – you don’t have to think about making big and important decisions, running a business, ensuring that everybody gets paid, or dealing with complicated legal stuff.
All you have to do is show up every day at 9 AM and do your best at work.
Though this kind of arrangement makes you feel safer, it can still hinder your personal and professional growth and prevent you from achieving your full potential.
It’s no secret that there are many perks of being the boss — like more freedom, higher pay, and better benefits. In fact, a recent survey done by Thimble revealed that 90% of Americans are willing to give up a key work benefit for the perks of being their own boss.The survey, which assessed 1,500 respondents, discovered that most Americans were most willing to give up annual bonuses or paid time off to gain the autonomy of working for themselves. Additionally, 20 percent of respondents admitted they would give up a competitive salary and 13 percent would give up their weekends off to be the boss. What does this tell us? Americans believe the benefits of working for themselves outweigh the benefits that a typical corporate job has to offer.
So, if you’ve made a decision to get out of your comfort zone, take your side gig to a whole new level, and turn it into a full-time business, there are a couple of things to bear in mind if you don’t want to lose footing and slip while you taking that leap towards becoming an entrepreneur.
Are You Ready to Be Your Own Boss?
As absurd as this question might sound, it’s actually something that requires a great deal of consideration. Not all of us are ready and capable of building self-discipline, which is one of the vital aspects of being a successful entrepreneur.
For example, the average employee wastes 5 hours a week on their smartphones, doing non-work related things. According to some estimates, this means that US companies lose $15 billion in productivity on a weekly basis.
So, if you are in the habit of checking your email or Facebook frequently, then you need to learn how to keep these distractions under control and focus on your work. Otherwise, you won’t be able to properly organize yourself and your employees.
Not only social media or reading the latest gossip on your smartphone qualifies as poor organizational skills – but sitting in countless meetings is also a sign that you need to learn how to make priorities.
This is something that mainly affects execs and managers, as the stats say that they spend 23 hours a week in unproductive and usually totally useless meetings.
Pick the Best People for the Job
This shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for seasoned HR professionals, but let’s not forget that hiring people for a large company isn’t the same as cherry-picking the best and most versatile professionals who will have to work for a small, growing business.
Being an entrepreneur means that you’ll have to wear different hats and perform certain tasks that you’re not exactly skilled for. But, at a certain point, you’ll have to hire someone to help you grow your business. As you’re very well acquainted with the drill, it won’t be too difficult a task.
The difference is you’ll have to deal with every aspect of the hiring process, including taxes, yourself, and make sure that you’re in compliance with all the legislation.
To make hiring easier for you and your company, you can think about using platforms like ProSky to help you find and retain the best employees for the job.
Don’t Quit Unless You Build Your Nest Egg
Your great business idea won’t get you very far unless you have the initial capital to develop it. That’s why you should work hard and keep your full-time job as long as possible in order to save up some money.
Living below your means is also a practice that you’ll have to get used to because running an SMB or startup requires becoming frugal until your business takes off and starts making a profit.
So, while you still have your regular income, make sure to pay back your credit card debt and save enough money so that you have enough to cover your basic expenses for 6 months.
Hire an Accountant
While having at least some basic financial knowledge is desirable for an entrepreneur, it’s much better and safer to hire a reliable and seasoned accountant who will take care of your money matters.
This way you can prevent some of the worst-case scenarios which frequently befall business owners who aren’t well-versed when it comes to finances. One of them is cash flow management, which is among the most common reasons why small businesses go bankrupt.
Another is that filing your taxes can be extremely complex and lead to potential legal issues if improperly done. And you will also want them to help you manage payroll.
Besides, a good accountant knows different ways of maximizing deductions and can teach you what’s best for your situation.
Get Used to Working Long Hours
Even if you have a small team that can help you with running your business, you’ll still have to work long hours.
Although many people imagine entrepreneurship as sitting on the beach and hosting meetings, in reality, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and handle different not-so-glamorous tasks.
At certain moments, the demands of your job will require you to sacrifice your family time. That’s the reason why it’s important to love what you do and enjoy your work. Otherwise, you’ll soon grow frustrated which can seriously affect your life satisfaction.
So, if the main motivator behind your idea to become a full-time business owner is escaping the 9-to-5 grind and being your own boss, think twice. This job carries a lot of responsibility and can be prosperous only if you’re prepared to work significantly more and harder than the average employee.
Having said that, being a successful entrepreneur also means being able to carve out some family and "me time". Proper time management means you're able to have breaks to relax as well.
If all you do is work and think about work, you’ll soon be in for burnout. According to Gallup Wellbeing Index, 45% of entrepreneurs say they’re stressed as opposed to 42% of regular employees.
This long-term stress paired with working long hours without taking a day or two off from time to time is a surefire way of burning out and ruining both your health and your business. Learning some strategies to deal with stress can help you prevent this from happening.
If you want to ensure your wellbeing, life-balance, you need to disconnect from work and enjoy recreational activities. To allow yourself to do this, it’s a good idea to create your schedule and stick to it. Don’t forget to schedule your breaks and days off too.
Starting your own business is a real adventure and you have to be absolutely aware of what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re prepared to handle challenges and overcome obstacles, this leap, although occasionally turbulent, won’t be too dramatic.
Some may argue that there is no better time to become your own boss, even if that means you have to put in some extra work. COVID-19 has unleashed a wave of innovation and new ideas to address the challenges facing society today, and many people have made career or business pivots to meet our new needs for goods or services born from the crisis.
Not sure if you're ready to be your own boss? Check out the infographic to help you decide if you should work for yourself, and some must-know tips for getting started as an entrepreneur.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.