Few people are suited to be their own bosses. Most people want a regular work routine. Their lives are based on forty-hour work weeks and steady paychecks. When people tell me they want to start their own business, I ask them whether they can really live without regular income.
I tell them to talk to their families and get their honest answers. I ask them whether they could go weeks or months without money coming in and how they would deal with it.
They need to understand they are trading their steady paycheck for an unsteady paycheck.
Many people want their own businesses for the wrong reasons. Like in the Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett song, “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere,” people decide they don’t like their jobs and that it would be fun to be self-employed. They don’t realize that self-employment means it is never five o’clock anywhere.
I’ve told many professionals they should not go into business for themselves. They may be good workers with good ideas, but they couldn’t handle the stress of not having a guaranteed income.
Never being off work can be hard on families. A friend of mine tried being an independent financial planner. He worked a lot of hours, and his wife started calling his office in the evenings. She put their children on the phone to tell him how much they missed him.
He went back to a steady paycheck at a big insurance company. He has less independence, but he is still married.
Some people become self-employed because no large organization will hire them. I did not plan to be self-employed, but I could not find a job out of graduate school other than cleaning up at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. After I started my financial business, I realized I needed the independence of being self-employed more than I needed a steady paycheck.
Education and upbringing are important in deciding whether a person can make it as an entrepreneur.
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