Should I Become a Business Owner?

Sitting on a shady patio on a hot, humid day, chowing down on some migas, is pretty much how I like to spend my mornings in Texas.

Side Note: If you don’t know what migas are, it is a delicious combo of chorizo and eggs and crushed tortilla chips and cheese, usually topped with salsa and avocado.

 This last trip to Texas, I got to do just that in great company.  We sat on that patio and made jokes about being a business owner (the “it’s so funny because it’s true” kind of jokes), enjoy some good food, and people watch – it happened to be St Patrick’s Day.  It’s nice getting together with friends who also own businesses because…let’s face it, being a business owner is stressful. It’s also incredibly fun and rewarding, so those of us who have chosen to stick with that path love it. It’s just not for everyone! It seems strange that it can be all of those things at the same time, but that is why people talk about the entrepreneurial roller-coaster.

When people ask me for advice about starting their own business because they are sick of being a corporate cog or because they have an idea or a dream or any other reason, I try to be honest with them about the journey that they are embarking on.

Work/Life Balance
If you’re looking to build a business or go out on your own because you want more free time, then you may want to re-evaluate. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing that you may not have a lot of free time while building a business! I personally love my business and I have loved building it.Eventually, you may reach the point where you have hired yourself out of many essential roles in the business, allowing yourself to have more free time. You will have more ownership over your time and you may have more flexibility, but building a business is a lot of work and you aren’t likely to have a ton of free time at first.

For me, I know that even in my “down time” I’m often thinking about my business – sometimes I get my best business ideas while sitting in the sauna relaxing.  It’s all right for me because I love my business and what I’m building.  I don’t mind thinking about it, working on it, and talking about it.  That said, I don’t take any special pride in being overworked and stressed!  The goal is to be a happy and healthy business owner.

As we put more years as a standing business under our belt, we have made it a priority to also make time to take care of ourselves – whether that means exercising, meditating, spending time outdoors, pampering yourself, or spending time with friends.  We are better business owners when we are also happy business owners.

Predictability/Responsibility
You’d think that running your own business would mean you’re in control of everything, with no one else telling you what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. And you’d be right—mostly. Paradoxically, by going it alone, you’re in control of everything and nothing at the same time.With a steady 9-5 gig, you can pretty much count on consistent paychecks, predictable hours, a stable office location, and even regular vacations. But when you’re your own boss, consistency and predictability go out the window.

Dealing with inconsistent income can be a huge stressor, as you never know if you’re going to be able to pay your bills. What’s more, it’s often the case that if you’re not working, the business is not functioning, making things like days off and vacations seem like a fantasy.

However, after building this business for three years (and I’m not saying that it’s going to take that long for everyone or every type of business – remember, I was bootstrapped), I finally took vacations in year four! So, it can be done if you put the right systems in place. Plus, being mindful about marketing, building a team, and having control of your financials will allow you to have more predictable cash flow and to prepare for any bumps in the road.

There have also been a lot of really successful businesses that have started out as a “side gig” – MailChimp, for example.  There’s no shame in not being “all in.”  It can allow you to have a more consistent income to fund your business endeavor and your life.

 

 

So, basically what I’m saying is…starting a business is wonderful!  You should totally do it.

Shrey Ley

Shrey Ley

Shreya Ley is an adventurer, business owner, and intellectual property attorney.Above all, she is a human that also uses the law to advise her clients on how to navigate the business world once they have broken free of the golden handcuffs of Corporate America.
Shrey Ley

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