Starting a small business can be one of the most rewarding undertakings you will ever take. This is how I see most articles offering advice to anyone thinking of creating their own small business start out. While this is true, setting out on the path to becoming a small business owner is also one of the most masochistic undertakings imaginable. Any reasonably sane person should look at small business ownership as one of the most fatalistic undertakings imaginable. Just in case my simple unwarranted assertions aren’t enough to convince you, below I will present you with 5 things no one ever tells you about starting your own small business.
- 1. The pay is lousy. Sure there are those one out of a million stories of the guy who started with nothing and within 2 months became an internet bazillionare, but the average person probably has a better chance of winning the lottery than having this be them. As far as the average small business owner, well I hope you like volunteer work buddy because I see a lot of work that you won’t get paid a dime for in your future.
- 2. The hours suck. Lots of articles will try to point to one of the benefits of small business ownership as being able to set your own hours. As a small business owner myself, I partially agree with this, I do get to set my own hours. Those hours just happen to be from about the time I wake up in the morning until about the time I go to bed at night seven days a week. I do get unlimited bathroom breaks though which is a nice perk I guess.
- 3. You will have more bosses than ever. Another one of the dirty lies some other articles may try to tell you is that a joy of small business ownership is that you get to be your own boss. Again this is true in the sense that this is something that I COULD do, but I started my small business to actually make money, and in that sense this is the worst advice ever. There will be several times that you will be forced to bend over backwards for people that will make you grind your teeth throughout the whole process and your reward after it’s all said and done will be to take a loss on the project because of all the free additional work you had to do to appease a customer. Hooray for being your own boss.
- 4. You will feel like you’re being monitored 24/7. As a small business owner I am a constant brand ambassador for my company. As such any public interaction I have whatsoever is not just a reflection of myself but also my brand. I often feel when I go out in public that I’m watching over my shoulder and trying to be on my best behavior at all times. Lest I do something to turn off a potential client who would recognize me if they later came into my office. You could pick up a potential client at the grocery store, who knows. Chances are extremely slim that you will but the fact that this is a possibility means that you get the wonderful benefit of living in a near constant state of paranoia.
- 5. Your self-esteem will plummet. I like to compare starting your own business to being in an abusive relationship. In the beginning they are the most amazing person ever, glancing towards the future you see nothing but fairy tales and rainbows and you wonder how such a wonderful person isn’t already taken. You have a few small signs of doubt in the beginning but you often push these aside as nothing, before you know it you start to become dependent on the feelings you get while being around your business. You also start to realize that your business has this funny tendency to put you down a lot then try to swoop in and comfort you afterwards. After a while of this you begin to recognize the abusive tendencies but by this point it’s too late, you’ve invested too much and now you no longer know a world outside of the relationship you have with your business. Congratulations and welcome to the world of small business ownership.
I hope this article has been informative and helpful in steering you in the right direction and away from the path of small business ownership. If you have more tips for future misguided souls on how to deter them from falling down the path of small business ownership be sure to leave a comment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to convert all my assets into lottery tickets.