And are you sure you want to be?
In the last post, 7 Reasons to Start a Specialty Food Business, I wrote that I would address this question next. If you didn’t read the earlier post, I mentioned that in Susie Wyshak’s book Good Food Great Business, the first chapter deals with reasons for getting into the food business and asks if you’re ready to be an entrepreneur.
For many people considering going into business for themselves, the answer will be an automatic ‘yes.’ But the reality is, having a business or being an entrepreneur is so much more than just being your own boss and/or working your own hours.
For example, the thing that takes more time and effort than I ever imagined (and actually, I never imagined it at all) is shipping. Another would be the level of customer service in a 24/7 shopping world.
In the book, Wyshak writes that the biggest obstacle to entrepreneurship is fear. And I would say the biggest fear is not so much starting your business, but quitting a well-paying (or any paying) job, if you have one. This is magnified if you have a family depending on your income, solely.
Don’t quit my day job?
Of course, many people can and do start a business while keeping their day job. Nothing wrong with that. But at some point, if you are really going to grow your business, you’re probably going to have to take the plunge and go full-time.
When I started selling online, I was extremely lucky because I had a husband with a good income; I also worked for his company, so I eased into the online business. As it happened, I started on etsy.
It was 2011, and etsy had not become quite the behemoth it is today, with millions of sellers. I honestly believe starting today on that platform would be about 5x as hard. While you can still make a good living there, competition is fierce and it’s all about getting your products seen.
But hey, that’s not so different than anything or anywhere else, is it?
Selling to the world
Today, with the internet, we have the ability to sell around the world. The market has opened small businesses up to people they never would have found. On the other side of the coin, customers are now able to shop and compare like items from multiple sources, often searching by lowest price.
As an entrepreneur you’ll have to decide what your angle is going to be. Are you going to be the cheapest? I hope not. Or at least, I hope that’s not your only strategy because that’s a race to bottom and at some point – will it even be worth it?
So back to the question of entrepreneur readiness.
I would say if you have some money in the bank, if you realize that your new work will actually be work much of the time, rather than a romanticized idea of it, and if you’re the kind of person who is self-motivated, then yes, you’re ready.
What if you don’t have any savings?
You can still go for it. Start part-time, work on your business in your after or before work hours.
Granted, this is actually harder than it sounds. Because while, when you’re at work, you may be daydreaming about the fabulous business you want to create (if only I had the time!) – when you actually do have the time, after work, you may not feel like doing it. You’ve been working all day, for heaven’s sake – you’re tired! You have to make dinner!
This is where self-motivation and discipline comes in.
If I didn’t have my husband’s income when I started and I had to get products designed and up and running when I got home at 6 pm, I honestly don’t know if I could have done it. Now, I could. But my determination would be knowing it could be done because I’d done it before.
I’m going to assume you’re more disciplined than I.
Lastly, do you have a burning desire to create something? Are you okay with having your work in your head all the time? And I mean like – Allllllll The Time! #AlwaysOnYourMind.
Unlike many jobs where you can leave it behind with the strike of the 5pm bell or the closing of the office door, your business will not be so easy to disengage with.
Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of being an Entrepreneur
The Pros of being an Entrepreneur:
- You get to be your own boss
- You can express your creativity and make something amazing
- You have the opportunity to make more money than you currently are
- You have the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream or passion
- You don’t have to come up with an excuse to call in sick
- You won’t have to wonder about the path not taken
- You’re only limited by your own perseverance and determination
The Cons of being an Entrepreneur:
- A regular paycheck is not guaranteed
- It will be up to you to make things ‘happen’
- You may make less money than you currently do, and that may be the situation for a while.
- You may find your business dreams are more idealized and that owning a business is much harder and not as glamorous as you thought
- If you’re really busy, you won’t be able to call in sick even if you are sick
And one last ‘con’ –
It takes so much more perseverance and determination than you ever thought it would… but spoiler alert – done right, it’s worth it.
So, are you ready?
I bet you are.