When the time comes for a person to enter the workforce, they are faced with a number of choices. Some go for the “safe route” that includes higher education and working for someone else. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons to help you determine whether or not you should join the workforce or start your own company:
Security vs. Risk
One of the biggest reasons that people decide to work for someone else is because they perceive it as “secure”. As soon as you sign on with a company, you know how much you’ll be getting paid, when you’ll get paid, and that you will have a job the next day if you perform well – at least that is what people hope for. I’ve known plenty of people with stable employment who were more than happy with their salary, could easily afford their mortgage, and took the yearly vacation. And I’ve known many entrepreneurs who were struggling to get by and looked stressed out a lot of the time. These business owners had put every penny that they had into their company and worked diligently around the clock – all with varying results.
Holding a job in another person’s company does not mean you’ll be keeping that job as long as you’d like to. When the “housing bubble” collapsed in 2008, too many people lost their jobs and there was nothing they could do about it. When it comes to working for someone else, you are putting a lot of trust in their hands that they’ll do the right thing for the business. It can all come crashing down with one bad mistake from the board of directors. You can also get inexplicably fired because someone was in a bad mood that day.
There is considerable risk in investing capital and building a business from the ground up. It is important to remember, however, that building your own business gives you experience and knowledge you can use to continue growing. I don’t know one successful entrepreneur that has not tasted the bitter reality of failure. They simply had the fortitude to keep going, starting all over again if necessary.
Building the Future
Even though starting your own business can be rather difficult and requires some sacrifice, the rewards can be extraordinary. I had one friend in particular who was able to come up with a business idea, get it up and running, and was a huge success in a very short period of time. Granted, this does not happen every time by any means, but any entrepreneur is a student of life. You are constantly looking at victories and failures – of yourself and others – for insight into how to do it better.
Every moment that you spend building a worthwhile business is an investment toward a more prosperous future. The world is built upon the backs of people with the guts to see something through to completion, people with a vision who have the foresight and initiative to make that vision a reality. Whether you are an employee or an employer, the truth is that you always work for someone else. You work for yourself, true, but you work for your family, your customers, your friends and partners. You work for a better society and a better planet. You work for future generations. Does that sound too broad and all-encompassing? Look at it from that angle and you’ll see that what you do does matter. What you do counts. You count.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Looking back at friends and associates, some of whom were employees and some who were business owners, I noticed an ironic shift between the two groups. Some of my workforce friends would get burnt out on the 9-5 job. They started getting tired of someone else calling the shots. The smarter business owners had mastered the art of hiring and delegating the work to others. They’d end up taking little vacations out of the blue on a Wednesday or buying a car “just because”. When it comes to job flexibility, entrepreneurs call the shots. The employee will be the one doing the work, even if the owner is on vacation or not in the office. That is not to say the entrepreneur doesn’t burn the midnight oil and the early morning oil too. They often grind the hardest because their livelihood is always on the line. Let’s just say they have a tendency to work hard and play hard.
I’ve learned indispensable lessons from being an employee and being “the boss”. I worked for a long time in auto sales, which is an area where you must be highly self-motivated or you simply will not make it. You really have to think like a business owner to make headway in that field. I learned and polished a number of skills while I was in sales and managed to rise to the top of my class so to speak. When I decided to change careers, I used all of those skills and still do to this day.
If you have the financial means to sustain yourself while you get a business off the ground, then you may very well want to go that route. Conversely, you may want to work for others and gain valuable experience. Both routes are valid. It is important to consider what options you have available, but it really boils down to what you want to do with your life in the long run. No matter what, approach it as an adventure!