Owning a business can be a fulfilling and exciting experience, but it's not all smooth sailing. Sometimes it's more akin to a trip aboard the Titanic. Or it is being stuck on one of those cruise ships where everybody gets food poisoning. It can be beautiful sunsets and neverending Pina Coladas on the upper deck. It can also be dysentery and an unfortunate starboard encounter with an iceberg. And more often than not, it's a little bit of both.
Still, no risk, no reward, right?
There are plenty of highs and lows when it comes to owning your own business. And even knowing what we know (and what we've seen), we'd throw ourselves onto that ship every single time. But it's a decision everyone has to make for themselves. If you're just starting out or thinking about buying or starting a business of your own, keep in mind some of the high points and the low points you will encounter on the way.
High - Independence and freedom: One of the biggest perks of owning a business is being your own boss. You have the freedom to make decisions and the independence to pursue your vision for your company. Incompetent, unrealistic bosses and frustration with corporate America are the primary reasons people choose to go out on their own.
Low - Stress and long hours: Running a business can be stressful, and you might feel like you're always on the clock. This is especially true in the beginning when finances are tight, and the majority (if not all) of the responsibilities fall on your shoulders. Until you can outsource or hire help, you're going to be the acting CEO, CFO, COO, and CMO. Get comfortable wearing many hats.
High - Financial rewards: No more waiting around for a raise that may or may not come. No more allowing someone else to dictate your earning potential. If your business is successful, the financial rewards can be significant, and you have the opportunity to earn far more money than you would as an employee of someone else's company.
Low - Financial challenges: Profit margins on new businesses are thin. Like, Kate Moss in the 90s thin. Even established operations will face unexpected challenges that threaten the bottom line, like supply chain disruptions, inflation, increased cost of goods, and, yes - global pandemics. You're going to have to make adjustments and cutbacks. Possibly lay people off. Maybe even shut things down permanently. And those will be decisions you have to make.
High - Creativity and innovation: As a business owner, you have the opportunity and ability to be creative and innovative. You can experiment with new ideas and create something truly unique and valuable. Make your own rules. Create your own SOPs. Do things the way YOU think they should be done. Think outside the box.
Low - Risk and naysayers Your business may NOT be successful. That's just the truth. If you're going to be bold enough to try something new, you need to be brave enough to fail. And you should also be ready to develop a thick skin and prepare yourself for rejection, criticism, and negative feedback. There will be people in your life who won't understand why you're doing what you're doing. They'll tell you that your priorities are wrong or your idea is crazy. It's all about learning how to handle it, learn from it, and, most importantly - not take it personally.
High - Personal fulfillment: There's nothing quite like having a vision and seeing it come to life. It's what makes the grueling hours, the uncertainty, the doubts, and the sleepless nights all worth it (mostly, anyway). And if we're being honest - there's some enjoyment in sticking it to those naysayers who talked sh**. But at the end of the day, and as cheesy as it sounds, that sense of accomplishment is one of the best rewards.