by Ian Cowley, managing director of www.cartridgesave.co.uk
The number of entrepreneurs starting their own businesses is at an all-time high in the UK. Latest government figures reveal that 4.6million of us, that’s 15% of the workforce, are self-employed.
There are most likely tens of thousands more out there, running micro businesses whilst working for someone else.
As someone who has started their own venture, it’s no surprise to me that so many are taking the plunge into the world of working for yourself. As Steve Jobs famously said: ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life’.
If you’re considering taking the plunge, here’s why I think you should:
1. You’re in charge of your own destiny.
Going it alone means success or failure rests on your shoulders. Something you can’t say if you’re part of a large organisation. The direction your company takes, the people you work with, the type of work you deliver, even the name you give your business, will all be your call.
Yes, this responsibility might keep you awake at night and work will go from being 9-to-5 to 24/7. However, the potential rewards make it more than worthwhile.
2. It’s an education.
Chances are you don’t know what it’s like to hire someone, fire someone, source premises, pay invoices, organise a payroll or make your first million. These are just some of the experiences that await. Entrepreneurship might be on the syllabus in schools today, but you’ll be learning on the job, so you’ll definitely make mistakes along the way.
That’s why it’s vital to hook up with a mentor who has been there, done that and sold the t-shirt. Use them as your sounding board when there are big decisions to be made. That way you’re much more likely to ‘graduate with honours’.
3. You’re free to experiment.
Entrepreneurs tend to be characterised by their desire to experiment. They get bored once success has been achieved.
If you fall into this category, the good news is that as the boss you are free to continually test boundaries and push for better. Consider changing suppliers, products, prices, even your proposition, if you think it will maximise success! Just make sure you have a back-up plan if these experiments don’t quite go to plan to minimise the impact on your business.
4. You’ll never get a bigger boost to your self-worth.
One of the fastest-growing demographics for entrepreneurs is the over-55s. The discipline of making your own way and creating your business from scratch is one that comes with a dizzying sense of achievement. So it’s easy to see why running your own business is a lot more fulfilling than retiring to sit in an armchair.
If you thought you knew yourself, then the version of you that emerges from the experience of leading a start-up will amaze you. You’ll find yourself capable of things you never thought possible.
5. It’s fun.
Too many people get bogged down in the risks of entrepreneurship to fully appreciate the potential for reward. The best among us seize the biggest challenges life has to offer and enjoy themselves in the process.
Whether you are a one-man band or leading a team, your business will take you on a journey like no other and it’s an exhilarating ride that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
Ian Cowley is the managing director of the UK’s largest dedicated printer cartridge company – www.cartridgesave.co.uk.