Too many people these days are led to believe that the only way to be happy in your career is to quit your job and start a business. And why is that? Maybe you hate your boss… you hate having to get permission to take a day off… you hate the 9 to 5 grind… But the truth is, no matter what you do, we’re all grinding to make a living. Only a select few are lucky enough to earn enough passive income to live comfortably and have freedom and flexibility. If that’s your ultimate goal, you need to work on it; and don’t expect it to happen overnight.
The harsh reality is that owning a business isn’t right for everyone, even if you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a good business acumen. In fact, you’re better off applying that to your career, instead of using it to start a business. Here are five reasons why:
1. 90% OF BUSINESSES FAIL
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration only 20% of businesses survive after a year and only 10% survive after their fifth year. The businesses that survive did so because of a few things: Money, good management, good sales & marketing strategy, and luck.
Not to mention, business owners never stop working. So as an intelligent entrepreneur, starting a business actually sounds like a horrible investment idea. More reason to treat your job like your business. You’re providing your services to the company. But business owners and freelancers are constantly looking for new clients (new work opportunities). As an employee, you never have to look for new work, just new growth opportunities within the company. And the best part, you never have to worry about failing because you have the company to fall back on (i.e. a base salary, resources, etc.).
2. JOBS DON’T REQUIRE CAPITAL
To start a business you need money. You need marketing dollars, resource money, money to lease a workspace, money for paper, money to live, and money for pretty much everything else you can think of. But when you work for a company your expenses are limited, and in some cases you’ll get an expense account or reimbursement opportunities. Some business owners will even buy their staff professional clothing. If you ever do want to improve your skills (sales abilities, marketing sense, product knowledge, etc.) the company usually provides additional training for free. If you do spend money (for books, licenses, seminars, etc.) you’re investing in your career, not a business.
3. YOUR WORKPLACE GIVES YOU THE TOOLS AND THE RESOURCES
Complain all you want about having everything against you at your job, but like it or not, they are providing all the resources you need to succeed. They give you a place to work, you can use their phone, you have access to marketing materials, printers, and the works. If you really feel helpless, find another job, don’t start a business.
4. IF YOU STAY WITH A COMPANY, YOU CAN MOVE UP
If you started a new job recently, you should be able to tell right away if there are substantial growth opportunities. If there aren’t, then keep interviewing. If you’ve been at the same job for years and have watched other people advance, yet you haven’t maybe try to find out what you’re not doing right. Sit down with your boss and have an honest conversation. Ask them what you can do to earn growth opportunities. They might tell you that you need to show more initiative. It’s a lot easier to create a path of success at your job than in a business.
5. THE SIDE HUSTLE COULD FULFIL YOUR NEED TO BE A BUSINESS OWNER
If you’re really bored at work, and there are truly no advancement opportunities, you can use the time and the resources to focus on a side project. Most people could turn their 8 hour workday into 4 hours if they really wanted to, but instead they fill their day with mindless activities just to get through the day. If that’s you, think about using the time more productively. Look for potential opportunities on Upwork. Or design a sales course and try to market it on social media. Write a blog. There are so many side projects you could work on that could potentially give you some extra money. But keep in mind, it’s very rare for a side hustle to turn into a main hustle. And you have to be careful with companies that are willing to dangle a carrot on front of you. For example, a company could convince you to sell mobile apps to business owners in your spare time on a commission only basis. But you can’t do B2B part time of you have a traditional 9 to 5 job; because business owners aren’t working after 5pm. (You really should never take a B2B position on a commission only basis… but that’s another story.)
TREATING YOUR JOB LIKE YOUR BUSINESS
If you decide to treat your job like your business, many things will change. You’ll enjoy going to work. You’ll make your career a life priority. You’ll make more money. You’ll have more advancement and growth opportunities.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO FIND A NEW JOB?
It’s very seldom that the grass is greener on the other side. Unless you’re looking for a better environment and a better company culture there are very few reasons to try and find a new job. It’s always better to sit down with your boss and tell them you want to get on the path to a successful career within the company. Your boss will tell you exactly what you need to do to succeed. If you feel like you can’t do what they want, tell them you need additional training to get to that level of confidence. Your employer would rather work with you than start a hiring process.
If all hope is lost, don’t quit. You can start looking for other opportunities. Use up your PTO to do interviews. Once you get an offer, evaluate if the grass really is greener. Then give your company proper notice.
Keep in mind that a new job almost always means starting at the bottom again. Most companies only promote within. So if you’re a senior account manager now, finding a new job means you’ll likely be a junior account manager again (with lower pay).
YOUR COMPANY WILL TRY TO KEEP YOU
Often your company will give you a counter offer to keep you. It sounds attractive. You wouldn’t have to change jobs. No training. Higher pay. But nothing will change. So if you’re unhappy enough to seek alternative employment, figure out if it’s truly worth staying.
Many people start businesses because they hate the alarm clock. They hate the commute. They hate the grind. What most people fail to do is take control of their careers. Treat your job like your business.