One of the great drawcards to entrepreneurship is the freedom you gain. No more boss, late nights, covering for your manager’s ineptitude and no more 9-5 hours ….right?
Unfortunately for many newly minted entrepreneurs realise too late that while they gain some freedoms, they also give up just as many, let me explain.
Leaving a job Vs leaving a company
Finding a new job is a stressful time, no doubt about it. Not only do you have to find a job you are qualified for, with a salary you are happy with, but you will also be submitting countless applications for which many will not even receive a reply. Then when you are lucky enough to get through the application process, you have to front up to the dreaded interview.
It is true that becoming an entrepreneur will remove much of this pain, but will (arguably) replace these with a much more demanding set of obligations.
An entrepreneur is effectively always interviewing. Dressed up as selling is there a difference? It does not matter if you are selling services, goods or your business idea if you stop selling you are probably going backwards. So while the job interview might be stressful being an entrepreneur means an almost endless cycle of what are effectively job interviews.
Quitting aIt is harder to quite a company that a job
Occasionally quitting a job is a purely pleasurable experience. Maybe your boss is genuinely happy for your next move, or it might be that you ‘want out’ so severely that quitting is a form of revenge.
However, for most of us that resignation email, letter or meeting is a stressful experience that we do not enjoy.
So being your ‘own boss’ removes all this pain, right?
Not so fast, first of all, you cannot just quit a company. At best you have to ‘wind it down’. That means cancelling and paying out contracts. Calling suppliers (many of whom are business owners like you) and letting them know you will not need their services anymore and of course you need to deliver on any contracts. On top of this, you can also expect a few associated costs from accountants and the tax man. All of this is only a small concern if you have employees or you want to sell your company. Employee rights (and correctly so) mean that you cannot just close your business and walk away. Assuming you have a moral obligation to your staff, many entrepreneurs find that they do not have the option to quit their business like a job. You are the boss and the owner, the ‘buck’ stops with you and as such entrepreneurs can be more locked into a job that those people supposably trapped in a regular job.
The freedom to work when you want.
One of the major draw cards of entrepreneurship is the idealistic view that you can work your own hours. While this is true, the flip side is that you often find you ‘have’ to work well beyond a regular day. Unlike a job where your employee rights might allow you to walk out at 5 or 6 pm, as an entrepreneur if you are not working you are not getting paid.
The freedom from those pointless internal meetings.
Nothing irritates a natural born entrepreneur more than an internal meeting. The meetings are hardly ever about moving things forward, and they can suck the spirit and momentum from the day. While these meetings will disappear for the entrepreneur, in comes the internal admin meeting. Meeting the accountant or lawyer, paying bills for trying to get the printer to work are your new internal meetings.
The most successful entrepreneurs within the first few years will see their income surpass their old regular salary. However, when it comes to consumer credit, the entrepreneur is saddled (often unfairly) with a higher burden of proof and even then typically less generously. This gravitas of this struck me when I realised that many of my employees could borrow more money for a home loan that I could, even though I was the owner of the company and drawing a more significant salary.
I can hear you asking; “you sound pretty negative here Gerard, are you saying people should not become entrepreneurs”?
Like all decisions, entrepreneurship requires a cost-benefit analysis. Real entrepreneurs are not looking to reduce their work hours; they are not looking to avoid the stress of applying for a job. An entrepreneur is looking to back themselves, they have an intrinsic self-belief in their ability and are willing to ‘back it’. Their work ethic is unmatched, and as a result, the rewards from entrepreneurship massively outweigh the costs.