Lisa Robbin Young

Is entrepreneurship right for you?

Becoming self employed: the best decision for your career? It’s time to find out! Working for yourself is the dream for many. Set your own hours, decide your own salary, work where you want - the possibilities for more "freedom" in your life and work are pretty intoxicating to think about.

Owning your own business puts control into your hands, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There are downsides to a self-employed future that you need to acknowledge: the ups and downs of income, rejection from potential clients, and watching the business go do someone else who's clearly not as good as you (it happens. BELIEVE ME!). Even when you’d love to do nothing more than quit your current job and register your own business, it’s worth it to apply the brakes and ask yourself some hard questions first. 

Pexels Image - CC0 License

A successful business needs to be profitable and sustainable. Said differently, it needs to make more money than it spends, and it needs to be something you can continue to do for a while. It needs to sustain itself without asking you to spend every moment of every day for the rest of your life working on it (even if that sounds like fun, it's not healthy!).

You need to be sure you’ve got a future in this work - and that it will sustain you in the lifestyle you want to live. Before you make the leap, consider this:

You carry all the risk

That sounds bad, right? And it can be, if something goes wrong. However, if you’re the only one liable, you’re the only one who needs to make a decision. Nothing and no one else comes into it, and your only consideration is what will be best for your career next. 

For someone who’s tired of the daily grind, that’s probably the most attractive thing about working for yourself. It’s up to you, and even if you make a mistake, you’re still the only one who needs to weigh in. This actionable attitude is very healthy for your career. 

You determine your income... sort of

Anyone who gets paid for doing a job makes their own money. But when you’re working for yourself, you get to decide your own salary. You price what you’re worth, you can charge for both service and time, and then you pay your own taxes on what you make. 

This is a great level of control to have over your income. The reality, though is that it might take a while for the numbers to get to a point where you can live off of your business revenue entirely. And clients can say "no" to your rates... we saw a lot of that happening in the online world this year - did you see how many "Black Friday" offers there were priced under $100??? SO many!

So yes, you can name your wage, and you still have to do the work of attracting clients willing to pay it - and enough of them to keep you from going bankrupt.

You make all the decisions

Having the ability to choose which way to go, in your own time, is the greatest sense of freedom -and also a big responsibility. 

If you're like many Fusion Creatives, it may feel like a ‘non-linear’ approach to your career, as Jonathan Martin, NFL, would say. He came out of the NFL and moved into the financial sector! Every choice moves you in a direction - either toward more of what you want or less. You can make as many decisions as you like to choose your own path, and there’s no ‘traditional’ career frame for you to have to follow. 

On one hand, that's exciting - the world is your oyster! On the other, decision fatigue is real. You'll learn pretty quickly how exhausting it can be to be the one making all the decisions. But, you’re the one in charge and that means you've got to get good at making decisions (or hire someone that is!).

It really IS "who you know" that matters most

The more resources you have, the easier it is to stay in business. And PEOPLE (friends, networks, colleagues) are the best resource to have early in your business when money's tight and even BETTER when you're experiencing solid growth.

This might sound intimidating at first, but the more you network, the more confidence you’ll gain. You won’t have a problem with introducing yourself, or selling yourself in the space of 30 seconds, and it becomes easier to talk in public. You may never give a TEDx talk, but you'll be much more comfortable in front of an audience of your peers. This level of confidence is great for any job, but when the focus is on you, your business can reap the benefits. 

Drink your own Kool-Aid

Believe in yourself and your business idea. You need more passion and excitement for it than anyone else you know. Disney built his empire on a swamp because he believed so deeply in it coming to pass - even when others thought he was out of his gourd. If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else?

Entrepreneurship is a challenge, and while it’s often a worthwhile one, you wouldn’t want to walk into it without doings some research and being aware of what it really takes to be successful. Job hunting may be challenging, but it's a heck of a lot easier than staring down the barrel of having to make payroll for multiple employees every couple of weeks. KNOW what you're getting yourself into - at least as well as you possibly can. Arm yourself with information, get help when you need it, and be willing to take the risks to be successful. That includes the biggest, riskiest endeavor of all: believing in yourself. If you've got the courage to do that, then entrepreneurship just might be good for you!

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