There are many different reasons for starting your own business. No two individuals are going to be driven by precisely the same combination of factors. Of the many motivators out there, I believe that some are more positive and certainly more achievable than others.
If your primary motivation for starting up your own business is to make more money, stop and think for a while. The idea that you can generate a larger income for yourself by being self-employed is not a total myth or an outright lie, but it is not a certainty either.
Most people underestimate their start-up costs. This can lead to personal financial sacrifice and even debt. To surpass what you earned whilst working for someone else will likely take time, effort and accomplished money-management skills. Most small businesses fail in their infancy and most because they run out of cash. If financial success is your main motivator, be prepared to play a long game.
That said, for those that do pass through the baptism of fire, the sky can be the limit. You are no longer limited by a predetermined wage scale and your earnings will be directly tied to your efforts. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on your work ethic, but it goes to show that the opportunity is there.
Improving your financial situation is possible, but is never going to be a given, which is why I believe that personal motivators are far more important. These are many, varied and interconnected but largely revolve around being in control of your own destiny.
Starting your own business puts you in control of your own fate. You are no longer tied to pleasing your boss but running the business as you see fit. As with the correlation between finances and effort, this can be a double-edged sword – you are now responsible for all the aspects of management that your boss would previously have dealt with. However, unlike financial gain, this freedom is a certainty.
With this freedom comes flexibility and an opportunity to improve your quality of life. To be able to dictate when you take time off and, as in my case, ensure that you’re working mostly in the UK is something that you can’t put a price on.
Another great motivator is a desire to do what you want and what you’re good at. Unless you’re in a completely mismatched job role – doing work you detest that you’ve no aptitude for – you probably find that you spend some of your time working in areas that you enjoy, have a particular gift for, or both.
Being in control allows you to actively build your work life around these areas. Instead of experiencing the occasional positive feeling when your role, skills and interests align, you have the opportunity to create a job role for yourself centred around what you’re best at and what you enjoy doing. It’s a powerful reason for starting your own business and sits at the very heart of self-employment.
A few people start their own businesses and get rich. Fewer may even get rich quick. It does happen, but if worldly riches are your primary motivator for working for yourself you may be disappointed. If you are motivated by a desire for a more flexible life, a chance to utilise your skills and experiences in a specific role and to be in control of your own destiny you are much more likely to find satisfaction and the potential financial rewards could be a nice little bonus.