The idea of starting your own business can be quite powerful. Consider all the positives: setting your own schedule, doing something you love, making money for you, taking vacation whenever you want. And, as one business expert put it, “You want to build wealth, not earn a salary.”
Did he say wealth? That sounds nice, too.
All in all, the positives make it sound like being a business owner is a deal you can’t pass up. Who wouldn’t want to do this? After meeting with a so-called business expert, my husband and I thought we could certainly pull off the entrepreneur life. And we have, but not without many heartaches and headaches.
Here are some things you may want to seriously consider before being lured into entrepreneurship.
Paperwork, paperwork, and oh yeah, more paperwork.
Back in the day, my parents owned a business, several in fact, and I was used to seeing them pull out the large check ledger and produce piles of receipts from their many file cabinets. Foolish me, I thought that since most purchases are keyed into a computer today, that there would be no need for all that paperwork. Wrong! At the end of every day, my husband returns home from work and places all of the day’s receipts into a folder. Someone, that person being me, must then key all of those purchases into the laptop. I still hold down a full-time job, but entering all of our business receipts into the computer is really like a second job for me. Don’t be fooled, it is time consuming.
Now I do admit that while QuickBooks has been a lifesaver, it was challenging and a little intimidating to learn. Our first business consultant advised us to purchase the software, but was not willing to walk us through the initial setup. So, with fingers crossed, we plunged in and just hoped that the IRS would not need to look at our books, ever!
Waiting for people to pay.
Marketing your business, obtaining clients, and doing the work itself are stressful enough. Top that off with waiting for payment as the bills keep coming in, and you’ve got stress personified. Money is always a sensitive subject in any relationship, but when you’ve done what you consider to be an exceptional job and then wait 60, 90 or even more to see the fruits of that labor, it can cause many arguments and sleepless nights.
Hiring employees or doing it yourself.
My husband and I struggle with this every day. We know how difficult it is to find reliable people. We realize that no one will ever care about our business the way we care about our business, but we also know, more often than not, that my husband cannot complete his jobs alone. For the most part, we bring on day laborers, but even that gets expensive.
How much to charge for your services.
We’ve been in business now for over three years and this continues to be an issue. You don’t want to lose a potential job, but you don’t want to bid too low and not make any money. We calculate and re-calculate and, once the proposal has been submitted, we still question ourselves.
Even with all of these constant struggles, my husband is ultimately happy with the service he is able to provide. We try to keep the business small to avoid dealing with the headaches of workers’ compensation, immigration issues, and all that comes along with that.
Would we do this again? My husband says probably not, even though he continues to encourage me to start my own business. His business has a lot of overhead with very expensive equipment; my business will not. We think my business might be a better fit for us. Only time will tell.
We can say it’s been an adventure and it has certainly tested us on several occasions, but we push forward knowing we made the right decision for us at the time.