I started my first business when I was ten years old. “Dinky Dolls” were miniature paper dolls I custom- made to order, and they quickly became a hot item in my fourth-grade class. I sold them for ten cents each, and once the dimes started rolling in, I was hooked as an entrepreneur. The thrill of people handing me money for something I created never wore off. I’ve pretty much had a steady stream of entrepreneurial ventures ever since, some that were successful and others that were great learning experiences.
I didn’t plan to be an entrepreneur, but I couldn’t have stopped it if I tried. Business ideas come to me all the time – in the middle of the night, in the shower – I have to keep pads of paper everywhere so I can write them down (this is very annoying when I’m taking a bubble bath!). If I come up with an idea that no one is doing yet, I feel as if I have a moral obligation to the world to make it happen.
I’ve also had my fair share of “normal” jobs, working in offices as the Director of PR and Marketing for various organizations. As a typical serial entrepreneur, I recently sold my latest business and moved on to the next, all the while coming up with even more ideas I could pursue. However, there are still days when I consider taking another “normal” job; there are some definite advantages to steady employment. Although I couldn’t stop my flow of entrepreneurial ideas even if I wanted to, there are certainly pros and cons to the entrepreneurial life.
1. You get to work your own hours.
When you’re the boss, you work when you want to. Of course, for many entrepreneurs that means working at 3 AM, on weekends, and on your birthday – but at least you aren’t limited to 9-5, Monday through Friday. You can walk your dog in the middle of the day, run errands when you need to and aren’t required to take mandatory breaks even when your creative juices are flowing.
2. You can work from anywhere.
Depending on the nature of your entrepreneurial venture, and especially if it is related to working on a computer, it is amazing what you can accomplish from a beach or coffee house, anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good Internet connection.
3. You can wear your pajamas all day long.
Not everyone wants to wear their pajamas all day long, but most people like to feel comfortable. And if your typical job involves a suit or heels and that’s not your cup of tea, then it’s pretty likely not to be required in your dress code as an entrepreneur. Although it is kind of fun putting on my big girl shoes and makeup and going to an office, I’d rather be in yoga pants and a T-shirt any day.
4. No one tells you what to do.
According to my parents, I’ve been saying “don’t tell me what to do!” ever since I could form words, and my sentiment has not changed much over the years. So this situation suits me quite well. Not all bosses are bossy and some people truly thrive with guidance and direction, but when you’re an entrepreneur – you are in charge.
5. There is no cap on your income if the business is successful.
When I work for another company or organization and my work leads to a tripled increase in sales or a doubling of enrollment, my salary still stays the same. But when it’s my business and it does well, I do well too. Cha-ching.
1. You’re never “off duty.”
This especially applies if you work from home. There is always work to do and nothing stopping you from doing it or wanting to do it. Even when you’re not working, since the business is your baby, it’s always on your mind. There is no “leaving it at the office.”
2. You’re not paid for your time by the hour regardless of what you’re doing.
I marveled when I was an employee that I would get a paycheck even if I spent a significant amount of time doing background research, organizing my files, or socializing with my colleagues. Not so as an entrepreneur. Although all businesses are set up differently, you’re much more likely to spend hours working that are unpaid when you are an entrepreneur than when you’re an employee.
3. Not all ideas end up being financially successful.
This is the harsh reality of being an entrepreneur. Not every brilliant idea ends up being a brilliant success. And sometimes the road to success is long and windy, with a lot more money flowing out than in.
4. Income can fluctuate widely.
As an entrepreneur, income can be unpredictable. No slow and steady growth with a long-term savings plan on this program.
5. No employer-provided benefits like health and life insurance, retirement accounts or pensions.
Although you can buy your own insurance and retirement accounts as an entrepreneur, there’s something so reassuring about having these things provided to you by your employer.
I believe it is more than a great business idea that drives so many of us to be entrepreneurs. I also believe that an entrepreneurial spirit in an employee can be of tremendous value to an employer. In either case, a job well done requires passion and commitment, qualities that breed success in any endeavor.
Kaia Roman is a mother, writer, entrepreneur and communications consultant. She can be found at www.kaiaroman.com and on Twitter @kaiaroman
She is also a regular contributor to MindBodyGreen http://www.mindbodygreen.com/wc/kaia-roman