5 Reasons NOT to start your own business
If running your own business was easy, everybody would be doing it.
Although I didn’t start 4Lunch for the recognition, to say you run your own business seems to impress people.
And when this happens, I sometimes wish people could see what happens behind the scenes, how unglamorous, stressful and unrelenting entrepreneurship can be.
I recently saw a social media post from a food business owner who had decided to call it quits to concentrate on their mental health. This brave admission of stress, anxiety and overwhelm resonated with me. And it is why I’d like to talk frankly about entrepreneurial mental health.
Since I support people to run their own food businesses, it is my responsibility to paint an honest picture of what to expect if you embark on this wonderful, but challenging path.
5 REASONS NOT TO BE YOUR OWN BOSS
- Complete Responsibility
If you start your business as a solopreneur, as I did, it goes without saying that the buck stops with you. There are no colleagues to rely upon, and if things don’t go to plan, it’s completely your fault.
The flip side of this is that you get to call the shots and work in a way that suits you. But you have to always be ‘on’ and responsive, even if you don’t feel like it.
Do you think you could handle complete responsibility for the success (or failure) of your business?
It is easy to feel like no-one else gets what you do for a living. That dreaded question “so what do you do?” is challenging for me to answer in a succinct way.
Only you understand your business completely, so even when you talk to your friends and family, it feels frustrating explaining what it is you exactly do, and you can start to feel a bit isolated from people.
To counter feelings of entrepreneurial loneliness, I’ve found mentors who I can talk honestly about my business with. And it’s also why I offer mentoring sessions to my students.
Having someone to talk to about anything business related is just as important, maybe even more important, than having the information and expertise to hand.
- Loss of Peace of Mind
It goes without saying that lazy people should not start their own business.
And yet, there are many people who hate their jobs and think starting a business is the answer, only to discover how much work is actually involved.
When I was at school, I’d be given work to do and exams to study for. It was somewhat stressful, but I was the kind of person to get something done early so that I could relax fully afterward. My goal in life was to reach a state of serenity with absolutely nothing to do and nothing to worry about.
I have been trying to reach this state for 5 years! And I’m not even close. I have lost much of my peace of mind that I used to have when I was younger. But I have also learned to recognise the certainty of uncertainty.
- A Very Basic Lifestyle
When I started 4Lunch, I had about £6000 to last me for 6 months if I didn’t earn anything from 4Lunch. That’s £1000 per month to cover my rent, bills, and expenses. By most people’s standards, that not very much at all.
6 months came and went, and I was yet to secure a meaningful contract for my courses. I ended up having to get a job as a nightclub hostess, working events that would finish at 5am.
Eventually, 8 months since ‘starting’ 4Lunch, I got my first piece of major paid work. Just because I said I was going to start a business didn’t mean I was going to start making money straight away!
It required careful planning of finances, a willingness to take on another job, and accept the reality of living frugally.
- Lack of Security
Most businesses fail. That’s a fact. Which means every hour of every day is an opportunity to work on your business.
The feeling of insecurity is what puts people off even starting.
A full-time job working for someone else offers security, consistent monthly income and sometimes prestige. That’s why so many graduates enter graduate schemes, when the structure and security of full-time education falls away.
In an age of insecurity, fewer people are brave enough to start a business. But remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint.
You might feel secure for a few years working full-time for someone else, but if you’ve always wanted to start your own business, that day to day reality will seem less and less secure to you.
No jobs are secure these days anyway.
The Worst Job in the World
No starting salary, no sick pay, no holiday pay. Unpaid overtime and 100% responsibility.
Sounds like a job from hell. And yet there are a growing number of people who love the idea of being their own boss.
Despite what appears on people’s social media accounts, there is no such thing as overnight success in business.
In reality, new entrepreneurs need to be willing to spend their time toiling away unappreciated and unrewarded behind the scenes.
I’d recommend asking yourself the following questions first, before packing in a stable and secure job:
- Are you willing to sacrifice not just your financial earnings, but your peace of mind?
- Are you able to define what success looks like for you, separate from the expectations of other people?
- Can you rise above and tolerate the misunderstanding of others about what you do for work?
- Do you love a challenge?
- Are you someone who needs instant gratification, fast results and recognition? Or will you do the right thing, not for the glory or for an ego boost, but because it needs to be done?
5 REASONS WHY BEING YOUR OWN BOSS IS THE BEST THING EVER
Not put off by this blog post? Excellent! Here are the reasons why being your own boss is the best decision you can make for yourself.