After spending a long time in my last post to explain you how easy to start a business, unfortunately I have to go into the negative bit in this post – you might not be cut out for it.
Honestly, I am not trying to sound snobbish but starting a business is really not for everyone.
Are you a workaholic? Do you enjoy working all day every day? Before you go ‘alright….sure!’ When I mean all day every day, I mean it. Most SMEs I know work 16 hour a day at least for the first year, 7 days a week. Even if they are not actually doing work, they are thinking about how to improve their business, how to trace a new lead. Including the time when they are on holiday.
Are you a risk taker? Not everyone enjoy the uncertainty nature of SMEs. Some people prefer to get a fixed pay-cheque every month. Don’t confuse that with security though, because I am a strong believer in being in control of your destiny is a much secure choice. We will talk about that more when we get to the subject on finance.
Are you a decision maker? Being your own boss means you are the one who make all the decision. If you are not a decisive person, then being self-employed might not be for you.
Are you a self-starter? Being your own boss also means no one will tell you what to do. You have to find out by yourself what to do next. You have to plan your day by yourself. You have create your own office management system, customer management system, and so on. No one will know exactly what’s need to be done in your business but yourself.
Are you good at multi-tasking? Being self-employed also mean, at least at the initial phrase, you are doing EVERYTHING yourself! From IT manager to Customer Service Representative; from Purchasing Manager to Cleaner, and everything else in between, you have to do them all. Down the line, you might be able to start hiring some help, as I have been doing for about a year, but you still have to manage these people. So you still need to be pretty knowledgeable about all the task involved in running your business so that you can instruct other people effectively.
Are you a good self-learner? As I said in the above point, you have to do basically every job title all by yourself at least during the initial stage. But there is no way you have all the skill under the sky to do all these jobs. As a result, self-learning is essential. In my case, I know I am good at customer service, finance management and marketing. But I am not very good at accounting and I have no knowledge on making a website and even how to get a domain. So having the curiosity to learn everything to make your business better is what keeps you going.
Are you a confident person? Being your own boss means you have to be quite a confident person. I have heard so many great business ideas from people around me over the years, but when I got excited and said, ‘oh you have to go ahead and start that, it sounds like a great idea!’ then they go, ‘oh, I was just dreaming, it will never work…’ If you don’t even believe in yourself to make something work, then stop immediately. Remember you are also the Sales Manager of this business? You need to be almost cheeky at times to ‘sell’ your product or service to people. If you don’t believe in yourself and your business 150% then you can’t do it.
Are you motivated? Obviously, you can’t blindly dive into any business ideas that come into your mind. You do need to evaluate if you have the finance to fund it, is it the right time, etc. But if you don’t have a fire burning deep inside you when you talk about your business, then it might not be for you. Your business should preoccupy your mind so much you forget to eat. It might not be a very healthy lifestyle but it means you are cut out for it though.
Negative bits of being self-employed
- Anti-social: Being self-employed is very anti-social. At least for the first year, you will be working 16 hours day, 7 days a week. Forget about social life. The chance is you will keep saying ‘no’ to people’s invitation and they might stop inviting you after a while. Trust me. Make sure you can handle that. And make sure you know what you got yourself into.
- Family resentment: Due to the fact that you become so anti-social, your family might resent your disappearance. I will talk more about family and friends support in future post because the issue is so complicated and so influential that I think it deserves a separate post.
- Loneliness: Working alone can be very very lonely. There is no one to brainstorm with you, no bouncing idea around. It takes the right personality to actually enjoy that. I am a control-freak myself so I actually quite enjoy doing everything myself exactly the way I want, but it’s not for everyone. And even then, you still need to build a new social circle to ‘talk shop’ with or you will go mental for not speaking with anyone for days on ends. I will get into more details in the future post on ‘networking’.
You know what is the final indicator that you are cut out for it or not? After reading this article, instead of sitting down and think about if you can do it, you feel like starting your business regardless of what I say, then you might actually be cut out for it!
If you feel no one is going to stop you no matter what, then you might actually have what it takes to be your own boss!
Good luck and enjoy the journey!