I’m always surprised by how much resistance there is to the idea of running your own business. Interestingly, the arguments are very similar to the reasons people give for not investing in the stock market. It’s too hard, too complicated and a lot of people lose money. All those points are true and, at the same time, they cloud the true picture rather than provide illumination.
Working for yourself doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive and there are many advantages, particularly if you keep good records. Admittedly, building a business of your own is not an easy path to tread. There is work, sacrifice and a lot of sales. You trade working regular hours for working all the time. Holidays are always a surprise and weekends are just another day. Yet, for all the apparent downsides, there are significant advantages to learning how to run your own business, whether you actually end up doing it or not.
It’s The Path To Getting Rich
Seventy-six percent of wealthy people say that building a business builds wealth. It comes as no surprise then that more than half of affluent people earned their fortunes through income and increased that income through building a business. The wealthy, as a group, believe they work harder than other people, are more willing to sacrifice and are more disciplined. If those qualities describe you, then why limit yourself to working for someone else?
The Average Salary Is a Low Bar
Based on surveys, the average salary in the U.S. is $58,668, which is higher than figures you’ll see from the government. The most frequent salary reported is closer to $43,000. Even the higher figure is roughly $5,000 a month. That’s a pretty low bar for business earnings and works out to around $250 dollars for 20 working days a month. To make $250 in an eight hour day that works out to an hourly salary of around $31. For even basic contract labor $30/hour is dirt cheap. In other words, you could make the average salary in America just hiring yourself out as unskilled day labor. If you’re in a skill job, like technology, you should be farming yourself out for anywhere from $60 to $160 an hour. That’s a fraction of what big tech companies charge and, once you build up a customer base, you’ll be slammed all the time.
You’ll Lower Your Stress Level
Without that daily commute and dealing with your boss, you’ll discover that the worst day working for yourself is better than the best day working for someone else. Certainly there are gripes, challenges and difficult people, that’s just life. After working your business for a while you’ll also discover that the lion’s share of your daily aggravation stems from a relative minority of your customers. As you build your business, you can find less annoying customers that pay just as well and either charge the irritating ones more or encourage them to go elsewhere. At a certain point you’ll find a pleasant balance and only need to add new customers when you lose a regular. Once your day is full, then you can focus on ways to increase your revenue. Once you get the hang of it you’ll discover that running your own business can be marvelously liberating.
Take The Risk, Reap The Rewards
What I noticed in the working world was there are few rewards for taking risks. In fact, if you’re working for someone else, the default optimum strategy is avoiding risk. If you see a better way to do things, there’s usually little margin in pushing for it when you’re working for wages. Even if you take the risk and prevail, the bulk of the rewards will flow to someone else. In your own business, though, the math changes. You can try things, experiment and optimize your business processes. When those changes pay off, you reap the rewards and aren’t limited to the crumbs management drops you in exchange for helping some mid-level exec make his or her quarterly numbers.
It’s a tough road, I won’t apologize for that. If you have the drive and discipline, it’s worth the investment.