If you’re employed but are feeling a call to entrepreneurship, you might feel torn. There are pros and cons to being an employee, and to being an entrepreneur. It may be hard to work out which life path is better for you.
We’ve put together a list of questions you can ask yourself and think about, to decide which option suits you the best.
How do you feel about failure?
If you’re a perfectionist who can’t bear to make a mistake, entrepreneurship is not for you.
Richard Branson says, “Every person, and especially every entrepreneur, should embrace failure with open arms. It is only through failure that we learn.”
If you prefer to play it safe, being an employee will probably suit you better. But if you’re willing to take risks, try things, fail, learn, grow, and try again, you may just have the makings of an entrepreneur.
What kind of lifestyle do you want?
The lifestyle of an entrepreneur usually looks nothing like that of an employee. An employee generally lives in one place, works a set number of hours, and returns home. They have weekends off and a set number of days off a year.
In contrast, an entrepreneur might work crazy hours for a couple years, then pass over operations for the next year and go traveling. Or they might decide to sell their internet business and open an Indian restaurant, changing their whole lifestyle in one fell swoop. Home and work life blend into one, and often their whole life is infused with their work – entrepreneurship is more of a mission than a job.
If you want your work clearly demarcated from your home life, predictable, stable and reliable, then being an employee is for you. If you crave adventure, change, innovation and a mission that infuses your every living breath, consider being an entrepreneur.
How passionate are you?
Entrepreneur Andres Tovar says, “If you are passionate about your business idea, and I mean you are so passionate that you are willing to sacrifice time, money, and effort with the risk that you may never be successful or profit from it, then you may be ready to throw yourself into business.”
Entrepreneurship requires passion. Most 9-to-5 jobs – although passion would improve performance massively – frankly, don’t. That passion is the energy that will carry you through the tough days in business – when your main client cancels the contract, or when your best member of staff is taken seriously ill. In these tough moments, motivation for money just won’t give you the strength to pick yourself up and carry on. But passion will.
What are your people skills like?
As an entrepreneur, you’re at the very center of your business. This means you’ll have to deal with all employees, and likely clients and customers, too.
If you’re an employee, you can just duck into the bathrooms when Jim from accounting comes to your department, but as an entrepreneur, there’ll be no running or hiding. Sure, you can choose which employees to hire, but there will inevitably be interpersonal issues at some point – there always are! You’ll have to have the emotional intelligence and people skills to navigate these successfully and keep your team intact.
Do you like responsibility?
One of the main differences between employees and entrepreneurs is the weight of responsibility. As an employee, you’ll have an impact on how your company runs, but if you leave or change or make a disastrous decision, the whole thing isn’t likely to crumble around your feet.
Entrepreneurship is a totally different ballgame. Especially in the early stages, the price you pay for being the creator is responsibility. You’ve created a little world, and you’re responsible for it. Ultimately, you are responsible for how well the business does, and when you employ people, ensuring there’s enough for their paycheques.
If you thrive on responsibility and challenge, entrepreneurship could be for you. If, on the other hand, thinking of all that responsibility makes you break out in a cold sweat, don’t quit your day job.
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