Can there be any better way to earn your living than by working for yourself? To own your own business, that’s the American dream. Fortunately, for most of us, that dream can be realized with little to no effort. But don’t get to comfortable yet. There are downsides to owning your own business just as well as there are to most any “pie in the sky” endeavors.
I have been in business for myself for over ten years now. Together, my wife and I own and operate at least five little businesses. We know from experience several of the worse parts of owning your own business. Things like long, very long hours. You work for yourself and you are not about to give yourself any time off. Just get right back to work. There are no paid vacations, holidays, or sick days. If you take time off when you are working your own business you just don’t get paid or you pay someone else to run the show.
I truly believe everyone should go into business for themselves at least once, for at least a year. I am certain they will gain a respect for just what it is their company really does do for them.
Typically these things are not bad enough to make us veterans close up shop though. We will just keep going. We still run our little businesses but recently we have experienced what I would refer to as the worse part of owning your own business.
Usually the money is better, the freedom is wonderful, setting your own hours is great, but, will I get a paycheck this week? I don’t know. The lack of security to me is the one worse part of owning your own business.
You will only get paid for what you do or what you sell. If orders fall off or if clients quit calling, you have no place to turn. You are your own security. Our first business was a Quality consulting firm. We specialized in International Quality System Standards. I would go to the customer and show them how to set their operating systems up to satisfy this new standard. I would train their people, write some documents for them, help put things in place and even be with them when they got audited against these standards.
It was great; I was selling my knowledge on a rather complicated issue to anyone who needed to know. I had a captive audience, everyone in industry had to do something about this new quality standard and I was just the man to help them.
Suddenly, the bottom fell out of my little “Self owned business” world. Several things happened that I hadn’t planned very well for. I had concentrated on automotive customers since that was where most of my experience was. All of a sudden my clients were moving out of Michigan or they were moving out of the country. Some of my customers simply closed their doors and ceased operations. I had one client tell me “I can’t even afford to buy raw material, how can I afford to bring you in?” Things got bad, but I had nowhere to turn; I was my own security.
That is the worse part of owning your own business, not knowing for sure what next month will bring; particularly if you are not big enough to have several back up customers. We had always had slow months but now it was a slow three or four months in a row. Maybe, if we had planned better, we could have put away for just such an occurrence. But eventually that would have disappeared also.
Our first business is still in operation but we have added several additional ones. I have gone back to the public sector and secured permanent employment working for someone else. But, we have taken it all in stride and are still having fun with our other businesses. We know we will be back one of these days, but right now we are taking things one day at a time.
We would certainly do it all over again. There is nothing bad enough about owning your own business to chase us away, maybe bad enough for us to learn a lesson, but not to keep us out of the game altogether. I would recommend going into business for yourself to anyone; just be prepared for the downside.