When you form an image of the quintessential American Dream, what do you see? If you’re like many of us, owning your own business is a part of that picture. In a world seemingly controlled by corporate greed and avarice-driven, overpaid corporate executives, our role as “the employee” is less appealing than ever before. For many, the security that comes from a steady paycheck is wildly overrated. Employees are feeling more undervalued every day.
The motivation behind wanting to follow the dream of business ownership is as unique as the entrepreneur himself, but there are several things every entrepreneur seems to have in common:
Flexible Schedule. Whether you’re a single parent or a happy bachelor, being able to determine your own schedule is appealing on many levels. Let’s face it, no one likes being told what to do. Most “jobs” require adherence to someone else’s predetermined schedule. Traditional 9 to 5 jobs are confining. Running a new business is demanding and the hours may be long initially, but having the ability to work when it is most convenient cannot be undervalued. Setting your own schedule allows you to more easily juggle the demands of work life and home life.
Control. Control over your own schedule is one thing. Some employees these days work from home or already control their own schedules – outside sales positions are a perfect example. Nonetheless, they’re still forced to answer to someone else and expected to help to achieve goals that may not mirror their own. Control over what you do during the time you are working is incredibly appealing to entrepreneurs. Being able to decide for yourself what work is to be done, what type of customer you want to serve and how to approach the day-to-day operation of your business is tantamount to an entrepreneur’s personal & professional happiness.
Financial Independence. Let’s face it, we’d all like to be independently wealthy, but for most of us winning the lottery just isn’t in the cards. A steady paycheck has always been a benefit of working for someone else. As with anything else, the apparent security of a steady paycheck has an opportunity cost. Are you really being paid what you’re worth? Is the amount of effort required to meet the demands of your position commensurate with your pay? For an entrepreneur, the more you work, the more you can potentially earn. That potential can be a great motivator.
Less Nonsense. And by “nonsense”, I’m referring to the corporate bureaucracy, office politics, bickering, nepotism, etc. Entrepreneurs believe typical corporate shenanigans to be unproductive and detrimental to productivity, creativity and ingenuity. As a small business owner, you call the shots. You make the rules. And you have the opportunity to decide how to run your business, as well as the best way to motivate yourself and your staff. No more empty mission statements and corporate dog & pony shows.
Maximizing Potential. One of the biggest advantages of owning your own business is the ability to take advantage of your full range of skills. Most employees don’t have a high level of control, responsibility or influence. As an entrepreneur, the responsibility for everything from answering the phone to paying the electric bill falls on you. Entrepreneurship provides a unique opportunity control your own destiny, utilize a wide variety of skill sets and develop those skills to their full potential.
Ownership. No one can dispute that ownership is a great motivating force. When your own personal and professional reputation is at stake, you tend to be willing to work harder to protect and build that reputation. Corporate mission statements often claim to encourage employees to take ownership of a situation and take initiative, but anyone who has spent any time within the corporate structure understands how stifling and restrictive that environment truly is. Within the corporate structure, decisions are made in the board room and forcibly carried out by front line employees. Entrepreneurs have an owner’s stake in literally every facet of the business and therefore have the incentive to do whatever work is necessary to create the most productive, effective and efficient work environment possible.