While most people with run-of-the-mill jobs are a little curious about what it’s like to be their own boss, they understand that while it certainly has perks, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Owning and operating your own business is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you are creative and tenacious enough, then take some time to weigh up the pros and cons of being your own boss versus being employed.

The pros of being your own boss

1. You have more control

Not only will you have unrivaled control over your own schedule, but you will also have more freedom to make executive decisions. These will inevitably effect your company’s future. This is very different from being an employed staff member where you will only ever have control over the confines of your job description. And even then, you will still need a supervisor or director to sign your ideas off.

2. You learn widely

Business management is a rich environment with many diverging environments: From accounting to productivity to consumer psychology to business management, being a business owner will expose you to the heights and breadths of your industry at large. This type of experience is invaluable and will stay with you at every step of your entrepreneurial journey.

3. You develop good habits and positive attributes

When you are employed by a company, at some point you will put yourself before the business because you simply don’t have enough skin in the game. But as a business owner, things start and end with you. This inevitably leads to honing your talents, habits, reliability, punctuality, frugality and diligence. Building an arsenal of good habits and positive attributes.

4. You build a deep network

As a business owner you will need to meet a lot of people to get things done. This will result in many important relationships with suppliers, and others in related industries on a regular basis. A healthy network is an important aspect of any growing business as it leads to diversification of products and services.

5. You experience better morale and motivation

As a salaried employee you are more likely to show up and simply do what is asked of you. But as a business owner, the demands on you will be far more diverse and spontaneous. This often leads to a lot more excitement and enthusiasm. Financial independence also brings with it, a higher morale and a lot more confidence.

The cons of being your own boss

1.  You think you don’t have a boss, but actually you do...

While you have a certain amount of independence, your clients and your business are actually the boss of you. Unlike a salaried employee who can knock off at 17h00, you don’t have that luxury. Because your business feeds and clothes you, you are the one stuck with answering to client demands long past home time. The same goes for your suppliers – you need them to help you succeed too and so you’ll find you’ll do whatever it takes to get things done for them. This kind of dedication doesn’t keep office hours.

2. Your staff will look to you to set the standard

Your staff will be watching you carefully to understand what is expected of them. As the boss, you define company culture and your staff will want to emulate you as a jumping off point. Without your enthusiasm and high standards, your staff won’t even try.

3. When you spend, it’s your capital

This may go without saying, but you are learning on your own dime. So any investment in equipment, technology, stock (etc) is coming from your budget and not your employers. This essentially means you are taking on the risk and will have to live with the consequences - both good and bad.

4. You will earn what you will earn

When you are your own boss, there are no salary assurances. Especially when you are in start-up mode. Earnings really depend on you, your business performance, how much your clients buy in and how well you manage it all. There is no gold star for effort, just good old business performance.

The bottom line

Being your own boss is not a silver bullet to success and independence. It means that you take on the risk but also means that you inevitably set yourself up for big long term rewards. The bottom line is becoming your own boss is not a decision you should take lightly and so it’s really important that you not only weigh up the pros and cons, but you also decide what you want in the grand scheme of things. Good news is that the business world relies on both employers and employees, so whatever it is that you do decide, there is space to contribute and time to thrive. 

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