Swinging Without a Safety Net: The Realities and Rewards of Becoming Your Own Boss

Many people dream of owning their own business, but few are fully prepared for the challenges. Here’s what you need to know before you quit your day job and embark on a venture of your own.

You Need Self-Discipline

When you work for someone else, you do need self-discipline but, if you veer off the path, there’s someone there to put you back on it. Your boss, and his boss, act as a sort of “guide” to keep you profitable to the company.

When you’re on your own, you have to decide what’s profitable, and you need self discipline to make it happen. No one is holding your hand, telling you to come in at 6AM, when to leave, and when to have lunch. For many, this freedom is one of the major reasons for starting a business.
But, that freedom comes with incredible responsibility. Are you ready for it?

Expenses Add Up

The expenses add up like you wouldn’t believe. Between insurances, taxes, and employee benefits, you’re going to have to shell out thousands – and that money never comes back to you. And, that’s not even including the upfront costs for research, development, and marketing and sales.

You Are Fully Liable

You are fully liable for the actions of your company – even when you incorporate. No, you may not be personally liable, but you are liable nonetheless. As the business owner, you will have to make sure that your business complied with all of the local and national laws, you will need to make sure that you’re giving your employees a fair wage, that they are protected and safe while on the job (for example, if employees are going to be spending a lot of time in a hazardous environment, you should make sure that you provide them with sufficient protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, or even an air purifying respirator each), and that you’re paying your taxes.

Most businesses also need help sorting out liability insurance. And, there are many examples on the Slater and Gordon website that demonstrate what happens to companies that don’t take the time to do things right the first time – they either get sued when something goes wrong, or they are put out of business. Sometimes, both.

At the end of the day, it all falls back on the owner, which can make your life very stressful.

It’s Lonely Out There

When you own a business, you don’t really have peers. You are the owner. Unless you have partners, you are “at the top” and it’s lonely up there. When you work for someone else, you can usually make friends, and go out for drinks after work, without it looking (and feeling) odd. Not so when you’re the owner.

There Is No Safety Net

If you fail, it’s on you. There is no one to catch you and give you a paycheck.

Business person in ready position on track for running and chasing his aim

Business person in ready position on track for running and chasing his aim


It’s Hard

Running a business is technically difficult. You need to come up with a good product or service and sell it at a fair price. The logistics of doing that drive many business out of business.

It’s The Most Rewarding Thing You’ll Ever Do

Why does anyone go into business for themselves? Because it’s one of the, if not the, most satisfying and rewarding things you’ll ever do.

When you’re a success, it’s proof that you’re capable of creating real value in the world and trading it on an open market with others who want what you have made. It’s a feeling you have to experience to believe. And, once you do, you will never want to go back to working for someone else ever again.

Fred Stephenson earns his living as a small business advisor and likes to offer his thoughts and insights with an online audience. He has previously written for a number of business-orientated websites.

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