Today’s post is a guest submission from reader Brian Weeks. It’s also a well thought out response to my recent post 5 Reasons Working for the Man isn’t all that bad.
I like to play. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I’m still a kid at heart. So, is it any wonder that I shudder at the thought of the 50/50 plan? Working for someone else for 50 hours a week for 50 years is just not my cup of tea. Any of you ever feel like that? If so, here are five reasons to consider taking the risk, striking out on your own, and working for yourself.
1. More Money
A successful business can reward you with, well, a lot of money. I know most of you probably aren’t interested in all that being rich stuff so you can skip this point. For the rest of you, read on. In a capitalist system, money ultimately flows to owners. By becoming an entrepreneur you are getting in line with this principle, rather than trying to swim upstream your entire life. I don’t know about you, but I’m lazy. Just thinking about swimming upstream my entire life makes me tired.
2. Passive income
You’re probably starting to realize this, but I don’t like to work. That’s why everyone calls it “work”. If we liked it, we would call it “play”. Owning your own business opens doors to concepts like passive income. Simply put, passive income is income that you don’t actively have to work for. Yeah. Sign me up for that one. Earning more and more money while having to work less and less? Why didn’t they teach me that in school?
Since owning your own business can reward you with big bucks as well as the ability to make money even while you’re not working, this gives you more free time for whatever you want: spending time with loved ones, volunteering, sleeping in, or . . . sleeping in. From my experience and from what I’ve gathered from fellow entrepreneurs, it is this freedom that is the biggest reward of being an entrepreneur.
Believe it or not, much of our tax code was written to encourage the growth of capitalism and, therefore, the vast majority of the tax breaks that are available are only available to business owners. To take advantage of these, find a CPA who knows, understands, and complies with the tax code. Compliance is just as important if not more important than knowing and understanding the tax code. I can write off whatever the heck I want on my tax return and pay zero taxes year after year. It’s only when I’m audited that it matters. Too many entrepreneurs think they’re getting away with gaming the system when they’re really playing with fire. Don’t do this. Be smart. Play by the rules and you can still save a bunch on taxes.
As the captain of the ship, you can see farther ahead than the if you were in the galley below. You can see approaching troubled waters and make the needed adjustments. You would no longer have a limited view and limited control over the solution. You would be able to steer the ship where you want it to go rather than some stuffy bureaucracy telling you how you how things are going to go down. This is where your creativity can really shine.
Now, I can hear some of you out there saying, “Brian, I am totally stoked about starting my own business . . . but where do I start?” Good dang question. Here are a couple of first steps for those of you ready to make it happen.
Go work for at least six months in a business that is doing what you’re wanting to do. Not only will you gain invaluable insider knowledge about the inner workings of your potential business, but you will get paid while doing it. You will come away from this knowing more of what works, what doesn’t work, what pitfalls are out there, and even if this is the right business for you or not.
The next step would be to sit down with your local SCORE advisor who can help you get started for free. Yep. Totally free. SCORE is made up of active and retired entrepreneurs who, out of their passion for entrepreneurship, donate their time and knowledge to help other entrepreneurs where ever they might need help. They can help you put together a business plan and get the ball rolling.
Welp, there you have it. My top five reasons why I LOVE being an entrepreneur. I hope that helps some of you, who might be needing a little nudge, to take that next step. Now, if it’s cool with you, I’m going back to bed.
Are you thinking about quitting your day job and working for yourself? What are your hesitations?
Already own your own business? What are your favorite things about being the captain of your own ship?
[photos courtesy of Inga and FusiAsia]
25 Comment responses
Great article. I have been an entrepreneur for years. While I do work for a company now, I know that thought of owning a business is enticing for many. The one thing I would tell people is that it is not easy, it is not always fun, and it will be one of the biggest time requirements of your life.
I ran an ecommerce for four years. I built it up on my own and then ran it. It consumed my life. It caused my relationship with my wife to deteriorate as well as my health. It wasn’t worth it to me.
Now, I work for a company that I really like and I really do love my job. I also run a business on the side. It is much easier that way.
Thanks for sharing your experience Grayson.
I love Brian’s passion but I will admit, the whole sleeping in bit did throw me off a bit. I know there are a lot of folks in corporate America who work long hours. But I also know some entrepreneurs, and like you said Grayson, the time commitment is often life-consuming.
Great post! I just started working for myself completely last month, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been amazing, and being my own boss has so many positives. I’m able to grow my income much further than I could possibly do at my day job, and my business also allows me to work from wherever!
Amen Michelle. I totally agree.
Very inspiring. I’ve only been an employee but I definitely have the itch to start something myself. So far I’ve been too hesitant to pull the trigger, but I’m starting to put some plans in motion. For me I think it would come down to the fulfillment of running a business I created.
I completely understand how you feel Matt. I’ve been there myself. Taking it step by step like you are doing is exactly how you get there.
From owning my own business for over 10 years, I think all those things are true, but you have to really work hard to get to the passive income stage. I am now able to hire someone to work while I don’t have to be in the office every day, but it took a long time to get there. There are certainly pros and cons to both ways, but small business is the best way to build wealth in my opinion.
I think everything you said there is incredibly true Kim. It’s hard work but it can really pay off down the road. Thanks for sharing!
You’re right Kim. Some businesses do require a lot of work to reach the passive income stage, some offer it from day one, and some never achieve it.
Good advice. I was totally unprepared to work on my own, but made the switch 4 years ago. It’s really nice, though not that easy at the beginning.
Sometimes you just gotta launch out there. Seems like it is working out pretty well for you!
That’s really admirable and exciting to hear you took the risk and made it happen anyway dojo!
I’ve heard that freelancers get SLAMMED with taxes. It’s one of my biggest fears of transitioning into a full freelance lifestyle.
I can’t speak for freelancers in particular Stefanie. I’d talk to a good CPA. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I LOVE working for myself. My favorite thing about running my own business is the freedom that comes with it. There is nothing like it.
Amen Deacon! I couldn’t agree more!
I’m so glad you mentioned SCORE. I have used their services three times over the years. Each time it was to meet with a counselor to help me figure out some aspect of a business idea. Most recently it was to get advice on how to get a basic product manufactured overseas. It was well worth the time!
As for being my own boss, it’s harder than I expected; however, I must say that by biggest hurdles have to do with me getting in my own way. Specifically, fear stalls me from taking steps I know I need to take and a brain full of ideas keeps me distracted. I really have to work at logging a new idea for future evaluation and not spending my time on exploring it now.
So if it weren’t for fear and distraction, working for myself would be AWESOME!
Glad to hear you benefited from SCORE Ree! And you’re not alone on the fear thing. Fear is a challenge many entrepreneurs experience. It’s admirable, though, that you recognize and admit you experience that sometimes. I think that’s more than half the battle.
I have been working for myself full-time since 2003. The freedom and control is amazing. The freedom and control is also scary. You’d better have good time management skills and self-discipline or it’s going to be rough. Took me 2 years to figure out a good system that works for me. But overall, the pros TOTALLY outweigh the cons!
Yep, you got it Kyle! Freedom is invaluable.
While I do not have a career that allows me to have my own business (nursing) , this article makes me want to and would help me get started! I will definitely pass it along to others who are interested in this. I watched my father successfully work for himself for a lot of my childhood. This allowed him to play a very active part in family life because of his freedom. He worked very hard, but could do so on his own schedule, and being off for holidays or important events was not a problem. Thanks for the advice!
I agree and can completely relate to your story Laura. The freedom to spend time with your family and friends, especially during meaningful times, is very special.
What a great article! The part I found most intriguing was the information on SCORE. I have a colleague who is looking to start her own business, and I did not know where to point her. Now I have a great place to point her to, and an informative article as well. Thanks again Brian.
Glad it helped Josh! SCORE is an incredibly valuable FREE resource that too few of us know about.