7 Ways start-ups changed my life and will change yours too
As I was finishing a meeting last week, my client changed topic and asked, "So, what's it like owning your own business?"
Truth be known, I was unprepared for the question even though I've been asked it a million times. So I replied, "Busy" and gave a cobbled together answer, resolving to nut out a good response for the next person who asked.
I decided to take the afternoon off, found a promising cafe and settled into a comfortable chair to write these ... 7 Ways start-ups changed my life and will change yours too:
- [WARNING: EARNINGS DISCLOSURE] YOU ACHIEVE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
Financial independence might be your main goal for going into business. Even if it isn't, on average you're still going to earn more money than that day job you had as an employee. As an employee in 1999, I earned $56,000. As a business owner in 2000 doing essentially the same job but with additional back-office tasks, I earned $90,000. By 2011, I was earning more than I ever thought possible. Done right, the earning power and financial independence you gain from starting businesses have a huge impact on your life.
- YOU SECURE YOUR POSITION
Conventional wisdom says that employees, not business owners, achieve better job security but that's a myth and here's why. 92% of people head for the 'security' of a safe job, with a steady pay-check and benefits. They often look at small business owners hanging in the balance and think it's all too uncertain. However, employees put all their eggs in one basket. Their entire income comes from one employer. If their boss terminates, 100% of their income is instantly lost and often it takes a long time to find another role. On the other hand, business owners have many bosses: their customers. Let's say an entrepreneur has 100 customers. If one 'terminates' - that is they shop elsewhere - there are still 99 left. Further, if sales are slow and business owners need to downsize, it's the employee who'll lose his job first, not the founder. Once your start-up is running smoothly, it's the business owner not the employee who's in the more secure position.
- YOU MASTER VALUABLE COMMERCIAL SKILLS
Just putting yourself through the process of starting a company means you're going to learn a lot. If you're mentored by someone with sharp, well-practiced business instincts, you'll even start to master the 14 Entrepreneurial Disciplines. But let's assume the worst for a moment, that your business fails. No worries. You'll have highly attuned business skills to take to any employer. You'll be amazed how valuable you suddenly appear to companies full of low-motivated staff. Spending at least part of your career starting an enterprise is one of the best long-term investments you can make in your future employed career, if that's the path you ultimately take.
- YOU GAIN PRESTIGE
This surprises new business owners. 92% of people work for someone else. They long to do what you're about to do with your start-up. Once you begin and people ask what you do, the answer "I'm an entrepreneur" turns heads. Please understand, I'm not saying boasting about this is cool. But it is what it is. You'll discover that people admire you for 'giving it a go!' You become a job creator, a problem-solver in the service of others and a highly-productive member of society. This earns respect and social cache.
- YOU EXPERIENCE LIFESTYLE FREEDOM
Here I am in a cafe! It's possible because I'm my own boss. The old 9 to 5 caper, awful shift work and long dreary commutes are history. You now gain lifestyle freedom which means more time for your wife, your children, your family, your friends, for travel, for adventure, for enriching hobbies (yes, imagine!), for meaningful experiences, for giving back. The flexible hours which lifestyle freedom gives you means, done right, you will work less hours. And, even if you fall short of that goal, you'll at least be able to choose when and where you work.
- YOU UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY
An amazing change to you and your life is that each day becomes full of variety and excitement. When you worked for someone else, you were a specialist. You just did one thing and were stifled. Now, you're a generalist and the stimulation of each day being different makes the days fly!
- YOU UNDERSTAND PEOPLE BETTER
Running a start-up is social. It's about people. They may be prospects, customers, suppliers, employees, competitors or regulators. Whomever you come across, you need to tune that social antennae. You need to get along with people. You need to balance toughness and compassion, inspiration and the mundane. You learn to size people up as they enter your world. When you launch a start-up and run a growing business, you learn to value traits like honesty, thrift, efficiency, self-reliance, loyalty, initiative and drive.
This is just the beginning of what you can expect as you work towards launching your own start-up.
I'm super excited to share the start-up journey with you.