My grandfather worked with Dr. Edwin H. Land, the inventor of the Polaroid Land camera and film, and my uncle was the first architect to design and build a million-dollar home in Massachusetts. My brother runs his own company, and I started a business as a self-challenge, to determine whether I could support myself.
Even though I worked for a number of companies over the years, I always felt compelled to work for myself. Sound familiar? Perhaps you have considered this on an especially frustrating day at work, or when you feel as if you are a proverbial cog-in-a-wheel, or hamster spinning ‘round and ‘round and getting nowhere, fast?
If you find yourself dreading Mondays then maybe you should consider changing companies, or even careers. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about whether being self-employed might be an option.
Of course, the security of having health insurance is one of the main reasons most people cannot consider leaving the Mother Ship. Benefits such as a steady salary, a 401K plan, paid vacation, life insurance, and other perks are certainly hard to walk away from.
Careful planning and research into whether the idea of being an entrepreneur makes economic sense, could be the catalyst you need to consider this employment route.
There are certainly perks that come with working for yourself. One of them is that you are the boss and get to decide how to grow your company. Another is that you will know that you can support yourself financially and be independent.
Granted, when you work for yourself, or are in the process of growing your company, you will likely work more hours than you can imagine. Of course, you may already be working crazy long hours or multiple jobs to support yourself.
The satisfaction of being able to say, “I built or developed X” from the ground up is also gratifying, but so are happy clients and the reward of knowing you are making a difference with the service or product you introduced.
So, if you are ready to start thinking about whether you might want to be an entrepreneur now, or in the future, here are some points to consider before you begin drafting that resignation letter.
- Create a timeline to embark upon your entrepreneurial journey.
- Think about whether your service, product, or concept is unique or something offered by numerous others? If it is similar to other companies, what will make you stand out from the competition and be economically viable?
- Put together a budget to see how much savings you will need to begin striking out on your own.
- Develop a business plan that outlines what you will be doing, your go-to-market-plan, how you will make money, and in what time frame, as well as a list of your actual and projected expenses. This suggestion is overly simplistic, but these are the basic concepts you need to consider.
- Pretend you are going to pitch your product, service, or concept on Shark Tank, to determine whether your value proposition is battle ready enough to merit investment from a venture capitalist. Deliver your pitch to a mirror until it feels comfortable and real.
- Develop a fallback plan. Build an out clause into your business plan in the event you get to the point it makes more sense to hit the eject button and wind down before you are in an unrecoverable position.
- Create and then nurture a business and personal support network. You will need both to get through times when you think you are either not able to move forward, or need advice on how to handle situations with which you are not experienced.
- Join networking groups or Chambers of Commerce that attract people from various disciplines. Many are willing to give complimentary advice, or even barter for your product or services. Some of these connections may become members of your Board of Advisors.
- You will need to rely on certain people in your network for advice essential to running the business. You are going to be the boss and chief decision maker, so consider which skills you will either need to further develop, or rely upon to grow your business. One of the key elements entrepreneurs need is a strong sense of how to market and sell their company. If these are not talents you possess, either start learning, or ask others for help.
- Research as much as you can about how other entrepreneurs have made mistakes. Ask them to share with you how to avoid the early and elementary mistakes they made. You do not have to re-create the wheel when it comes to being an entrepreneur, so be open to taking advice from those who have had success and are willing to share their business wisdom.
- Does the appeal of being an entrepreneur seem better on paper as a concept, or do you feel, as I did, compelled to try this employment route? If you can’t stop thinking about being an entrepreneur, then maybe it’s time for you to start making plans! Harness and then leverage the energy and enthusiasm you have, and go for it.
The United States is known as the land of opportunity, so go ahead and pursue the ultimate American Dream. If you don’t, the only regret you will have at some point is not having tried. Good luck! Enjoy the ride!
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.
Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.
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