Anyone that has started their own business, and even those that have thought about it but not made the jump as yet, or indeed decided not to do so in the end, all recognise that it is a big decision. A very big decision. And as such, it is a decision that is often deliberated over for a long time before it is acted upon. Certainly, a lot of research and clear thinking needs to be done before committing.

second thoughts

The decision whether to become an entrepreneur rather than stay as a salaried employee is the most basic of all the questions to be asked when deciding whether to start your own business, and how best to achieve what you wish. This should be the first thought.

Having made the decision and taken the jump, almost every entrepreneur will feel a sense of euphoria and that their true destiny now awaits them. Without exception, every one of them will feel that success is just round the corner, even if the more realistic or experienced ones accept that there will also be a lot of hard work to get there. One realism that all should now is that everything will take twice as long and cost twice as much as you much expect.

Being a salaried employee brings with it many benefits, starting with a regular and certain income and employer pension contributions. For many, there is also a considerable list of other benefits, often including private medical insurance, gym membership, and many more, depending on the employer and level of seniority. And then of course there are paid days off work ranging from four to six, or seven, weeks a year and even more. As an entrepreneur starting your own business you will forego most of this, at least at the outset.  And the number of hours worked will be more, much more.

There is also typically a support infrastructure of systems, procedures, and colleagues; all of which enable tasks to be easily delegated or shared, and ready assistance is on hand in need. Whether your employer is large or small, this will be true to some extent and is all too easily taken for granted until it is not there.

So, the decision to set up your own business also means the recognition of the fact that you will leave all those benefits behind. For some, the decision may be more forced upon them by way of redundancy, but for all, becoming an entrepreneur means the need to be much more self-reliant in every possible way.  

The benefits though include the fact that you will not be told what to do but you will use your own judgement and experience and make all the decisions yourself. This can be incredibly empowering but does of course mean that there are no others to blame if things do not go according to plan. Financially, the upsides can be almost unlimited, but again this needs to be tempered by the knowledge that an entrepreneur’s income is not only uncertain, but it may be non-existent in the early stages of the business.

However, the sense of achievement and freedom as you nurture your growing business from start-up to scale-up is difficult to achieve elsewhere. Just remember pragmatism and realism and don’t just focus on idealism. The journey will always be something of a roller-coaster with its ups and downs along the way, there will certainly be many, many days of working very long hours, and there will inevitably also be some nights of sleeplessness.

At some stage, many founders have second thoughts about whether they have done the right thing and, sadly, not all will see the journey through to a good conclusion. But when those second thoughts strike it is always best to seek assistance and keep going.

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