It seems like everything in life is a risk. We choose a career – it’s a risk. We choose a college – it’s a risk. We decide to get a job somewhere – it’s a risk. We choose a mate – it’s a risk. Deciding to become an entrepreneur is most definitely a risk. However, for the right-minded person, taking the risk will pay off nicely. How do you decide if you are willing to take the risk to be an entrepreneur? Can anyone become one? Is the risk worth the reward? I mean seriously, why be an entrepreneur?
Autonomy: It probably seems pretty simple and obvious that the number one reason people become entrepreneurs is to become autonomous – free from outside influences, i.e. bosses and set work hours. Entrepreneurs work for themselves (or perhaps with a partner), but there is no set work day, hours, or mandatory anything. This is a great draw for many people who tend to be more easy going or who have a hard time with following another person’s schedule.
Being autonomous is not synonymous with having no responsibility. Quite the contrary in fact. Entrepreneurs have a TON of responsibility – ALL of the responsibility – for their business venture. However, for many people, being able to do work when they are prepared, instead of during a standard work day or work week, is very freeing. So, if you tend to work well on your own schedule, can stay on task, are really good at self-monitoring and self-pacing, then you may be a successful entrepreneur.
Quality of life: Something that often goes hand-in-hand with autonomy is quality of life. When we assess quality of life we often think of a few factors:
- Time to spend with loved ones
- Monetary comfort
- Happiness in current situation (employment)
Generally speaking, being an entrepreneur provides greater freedom when it comes to spending time with loved ones. Because you can schedule your life the way you wish, this time can be better allocated. Vacations and weekends can be free if you wish. Now, keep in mind that sometimes being an entrepreneur can mean MORE work. In fact, you often will work harder and longer than in a standard employment. However, there will be many more opportunities to dial down as the success grows. Monetary comfort is also something that may take some time to grow. No one wants to start a business venture and end up in the poor house, but it can happen. More often, however, monetary comfort will be attained. All of these tie in to general happiness. Entrepreneurs are responsible for their own health and happiness, doing or not doing what they want. This leads to overall greater quality of life.
Get out of a rut: Get up. Take a shower. Drop off the kids. Go to get coffee. Get to the office. Answer e-mails. Have a staff meeting. Do your work. Go to lunch. Answer more e-mails. Go to another meeting. Finish the day. Go home. Rinse and repeat. Standards jobs are often very monotonous. Monotony works well for some people. Some people like predictability. Some people need that structure. However, many people feel like a zombie walking through life with no change – as they are on a track or in a rut. Entrepreneurs often have a great bit of variety in their lives. Yes, they have to answer e-mails and have meetings and take care of their business. However, they have that flexibility to change up the routine if they need to.
When we are bored in our jobs we tend to not be as successful of an employee. This is scientifically proven. Having variety in our day, even slightly, often gives us a much-needed creativity boost. Being in a rut is a death sentence a day at a time – whereas, being an entrepreneur often ends that “in a rut” mentality. It is new, fresh, and unique!
Direct Impact: Being only one cog in the machine is not as satisfying as realizing that your actions, ideas or decisions have a direct impact on the company. This is a great responsibility, because the impact can be positive or negative. However, most times with jobs we do not know if we have any impact at all on our company, as we are just one of many. There are exceptions to this, of course, but overall people lean toward entrepreneurship because they want to know without a doubt that they are making a difference through their actions.
Not only this but some entrepreneurs want to make an impact through their ideas, products and companies. They may have this grand plan to make the world a better place. As “Miss. USA” as this sounds, some people really do have visions of how to impact the world, and they start their entrepreneurial endeavors to bring this to fruition. The best entrepreneurs want to take the responsibility of success or failure, while doing something worthwhile.
Creativity doesn’t mesh with corporate life: My Mom used to tell me that I, “March to the beat of a different drummer, and in fact I play all the instruments.” It was her motherly way of saying that I was a creative person that didn’t want to follow the masses. She is right (as always, Moms are always so smart.) I am a creative person by nature and I do have a way of looking at things that is unique to me. I am not always good at following the instructions of people, and I much prefer my own creative outlets to what I am told I MUST do.
Creative types often do not do well in corporate situations. Oh sure, there are exceptions to this, as there is for most things, but in general, creative, free-thinkers make great entrepreneurs. Not only are they successful, but they often feel this calling to leave the corporate world behind to do something “better” or “more fulfilling” with their lives. I’m telling you it is true! I went to law school (I am not a lawyer). I am drawn to creative outlets, flexibility, and knowing I am making a difference somewhere. Damnit Mom, you are always so right!
Of course, there are more reasons to become an entrepreneur – or why you may be drawn to it – but these are the most often cited reasons why people have left the standard job and have branched out on their own. So, the question is, is entrepreneurship calling to you? Or, are you happy with the same ole?