Becoming an entrepreneur easier than ever before—technology is shrinking the world, opening markets, and making it possible for many people to strike out on their own in the field of their dreams.
Yet, many who feel the tug of inspiration are afraid to take the leap. Don’t be one of those people who look back and regrets not starting their own business. Take control of your life, and your dreams. There are countless great reasons for starting your own business, and I’ve gathered 20 of the most compelling here—but whatever your reasons, don’t hold back. It’s time to start taking steps to take control of your own life, and there’s absolutely no better way to do that than to take ultimate control of your career, through starting your own business.
1. You Receive Many Tax Benefits
Living on a salary, as someone else’s employee, there’s little you can do to control your tax situation. It’s simply a fact of life. There are some things you can do to affect it, of course—using retirement plans, deferrals, special savings accounts, and the like, but your options are truly very limited. On the other hand, starting a small business can transform your relationship with taxes. The government is very supportive of small businesses right now, and is likely to continue to be. You’ll be able to write off extraordinary amounts of your income, as long as you hire a good accountant (or educate yourself well on tax law). Bonus points if you can employ family members, even for small tasks—the money stays in the household, the tax write off helps the business, and your family has become a team that drives its own success.
2. You Make Your Own Job Security
If you have skills in an industry that’s in demand, there’s no excuse for not starting your own business. You never have to worry about whether or not you’ll be laid off when you start your own business, whether you’re up for promotion, or whether you’re going to be automated out of your job—because you’re the boss. As your own boss, you have another advantage, too. Not only can you not be laid off, but you can take control of your company’s decisions. You can move and change with the times. Many companies fail because they fail to evolve, and as a mere employee, there’s little you can do about that when you’re employed by someone else. As an industry leader, in charge of your own company, however, you’ll have the resources and decision-making capability necessary to stay current and competitive.
3. You Can Network in Your Industry
Passionate about your industry? You might think that the only way to get ahead and network with the superstars in your market is to get in with a big company—but in fact the opposite is often the case. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many doors a business card with “CEO” can open—even if you’re CEO over a grand total of one person. That’s because it’s not just the size of the company that impresses people; by being an owner and taking control of your destiny, you’ve proven you have what it takes to make it. And that’s a very appealing trait in a colleague. Owning your own business means you have a lot more to offer when it comes to collaboration and negotiations, and it means you will have more insider knowledge in your industry. It goes without saying that this makes you much more tempting to network with—and the bigger your network, the more people will want to network with you. Watch your lists of contacts, partners, colleagues, and references grow.
4. You Can Challenge Yourself to Learn New Skills
Admit it—you sleepwalk through your day at your current job more often than you’d like to admit. Why? Because when you work for someone else, you have an excuse to slack off on learning new skills. When someone comes to you to ask you to do something you’re inexperienced with, you direct them to the “right” person. But what happens when the buck stops with you? In your own business, you quickly learn how to become the “right” person for every job. You’ve heard the saying, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” Now go out there and embody it! As a small business owner, you’ll be learning a lot of new ropes. Learning new things keeps you sharp, and staying sharp makes it even easier to acquire new skills. This isn’t about just being successful in your career; it’s about being successful in life.
5. You Will Become an Expert
But it’s not just about learning to use Excel properly (finally), your new motivation to learn and learn more can take you much further than that. As head of your own business, you won’t just learn how to competently carry out new skills, you’ll become an expert at the one’s you’re passionate about. Maybe right now you dabble in graphic design, and love it, but that’s not what you get paid for at your job. Well, in your own company, you can take on as much of that responsibility as you like—and get paid for it. And don’t forget those tax benefits—they’ll come in handy when it comes to training and taking classes in those subjects in which you want to become an expert. Get and keep your certifications up to date, create a portfolio, and find out just how much of an expert you’re truly able to become, given the opportunity. And the best part? As a business owner, you’re not depending on someone else to hand that opportunity over; it’s one you can give to yourself.
6. You Can Connect with Mentors
Networking is one thing—it’s great to have a digital Rolodex filled with names you can drop at the next convention, if you’re into that sort of thing. But what’s better? Finding true mentors in your field. You’ll find that people are willing (and excited) to help a motivated small businessman learn the ropes, and you can forge lifelong relationships with talented colleagues that would never have given you a second thought if you were on someone else’s payroll. And running your own business will give you more confidence in seeking mentors out, as well, because you’ll have little choice but to ask the questions you need answered if you want to be successful. Necessity is a wonderful motivator.
7. You Can Put Your Determination to the Test
You have what it takes to start your own business. You’ve always thought so. And yet, here you are, still riding someone else’s coat tails. Why? Because you’ve yet to take that final step that proves you really do have what it takes. Success is not all about inspiration; determination is thought by many to be the real factor. Everyone knew the kid in school that always said they “could” have gotten that A if they’d studied, but they were content with a B. Don’t be that kid. You’re better than that. Prove to yourself you have the determination to be a true success, and stand on your own two feet.
8. You Must Learn to Respect Yourself
Putting your determination to the test leads to the next best reason to start your own business: learn some self-respect. It’s not just determination that will make the path to self-respect that much sweeter. Think about how many times, in the past, you’ve had to put your own self-respect aside to comply with the wishes of your boss, a manager, or a customer. Sure, you’ll have to make concessions as the head of your own business—but you’ll be fully in charge of when, where, and how those concessions take place, if you do. You’ll be the one in the driver’s seat, which means you’ll have to take responsibility for your own decisions; you’ll find that greater responsibility leads to greater self-respect, as well.
9. You Can Create Jobs
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. The job market is not looking good these days, and starting your own business can create job security for more than just yourself. Have an innovative idea, or a new strategy that’s going to take off? Instead of feeding it to your boss and letting them take credit, be your own boss—and find the right talent out there to join you on your path to success. Small businesses create jobs and forge strong bonds in revitalized communities. Be a catalyst for change in your own community.
10. You Can Gain Financial Independence
Financial independence sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? When you start your own company, it doesn’t have to be a dream. You’ll be calling the shots when it comes to taking risks, deciding on investments and expenditures, and you’ll also be the one reaping the benefits when your hard work pays off. You won’t have to depend on bonuses that are based on your boss’s whims or your company’s yearly success. You’ll be the determining factor, and you won’t have your financial success snatched away because someone else on your team dropped the ball.
11. You Can Shape the Market
We’ve all sat around and talked about how our respective fields could be improved upon. “If only someone would go out there and make some changes,” we’ve thought. Well, stop thinking about it and do it already! If you’ve got ideas that can transform the marketplace, it’s time to put them to the test. Maybe all of them won’t pan out, maybe some of them will, but either way, you can be part of the action instead of just an armchair analyst. The point is, you’ll have your chance—you’ll have all of the chances you want—to make your mark in your own industry.
12. You Can Share Your Story
When you start your own company, it becomes an extension of yourself. Your story—the story of your life, of your dreams, of your goals—becomes the story of your company. Starting your own business gives you a chance to put your story on center stage. It’s time to stop being a footnote to someone else’s story, and to take responsibility for writing your own. You’ll look back over the years at your successes and failures alike and feel a special fondness for them, because you chose them—you didn’t sit idly by and let someone else write your story for you.
13. You Will Have Pride
Everyone should have a sense of pride in their job, and no one has more pride in what they do than those who are head of their own company. When your company succeeds, that reflects directly on you. When you risk failure to capture a big reward, that’s your risk, and your pay off—and a source of your own pride. When you work for a big company, you might be proud of your position, or your weekly presentation, or your raise, but none of that compares to the feeling of pride you’ll feel in the successes, large and small, of your own business. You’ll be proud of your accomplishments, of course. You’ll be most proud, however, that you had the courage to set out on your own.
14. You Will Create a Legacy
Starting your own business gives you a chance to tell your story, to employ yourself, and to prepare for your own future. But it does something else, as well. It gives you the chance to create a legacy for your children, and their children. You’re starting from scratch, but they won’t have to. Your small, hard won successes today can lay a foundation for the future of your entire family line. You might make a great salary now, but your inheritance can be so much more than just money; it can be a way for children to make their own way in the world. An established business isn’t all you can leave behind, either. You’ll be setting an example, on that tells your children that that their success is up to them. Luck and chance can go in any direction, but determination, resolve, and responsibility are the real recipe for a fulfilling life.
15. You Will Earn Recognition
Recognition at your current company probably means getting a picture of yourself as employee of the month. Maybe it’s more—maybe you’ll be recognized at a company dinner, or get a big promotion. But unless you’re quite high ranking in the industry, you won’t be getting the kind of recognition you can as a business owner. Make your mark on your industry and in your community as a business owner, and find out just what true recognition means. You’re not just a cog in the machine that performed well, you’re a member of society that is able to contribute something meaningful and lasting, and be recognized for your accomplishments in an equally meaningful and lasting manner.
16. You Can Inspire Others
Right now, you’re digging deep to find the inspiration to strike out on your own. And it’s quite likely that you’ve turned to others and their inspiring stories of success to provide you with motivation. Won’t it feel great, one day, to know that your story inspired another go-getter, just like yourself? Recognition, as described above, is about being recognized by many for making a big impact. But sometimes the most important impact we can make is much more personal. Inspire the next you, the next genius, the next tycoon—and start today, by putting your business plan into action. You’ll move from looking for mentors to becoming one, and that’s an incredibly rewarding feeling.
17. You Can Create Your Own Brand
You have an eye for design, or for functionality, or for gadgets, or for fashion—you know what people want, and you can’t help but critique the mistakes you see made in your industry of choice. You sigh at the decisions your boss makes, when you’re positive your plan would be better received. That’s all well and good—but it’s time to realize that you could be correcting all of these mistakes, and making your own vision a reality. Think that’s impossible because your boss would never approve your ideas? It’s more than possible—when you’re your own boss. Create your own brand, and do it your way—find out if your muse has been right all along. And when something doesn’t work, it’s only an opportunity to fine tune, improve, and create something even more exceptional. Don’t be a slave to the whims of a company that doesn’t care about you; take responsibility for your own success and create a product, service, or experience that people will love.
18. You Can Express Your Creativity
And creating your own brand is only the beginning. Think about every time you’ve had a flash of brilliance in the past, and had to discard it, because you simply didn’t have the resources to bring it to life. As owner of your own business, you will have those resources, and you’ll have the ability to put your ideas into action. You won’t be tied down to the company formula, because you’ll be writing your own formula as you go along. You’ll be allowed to take creative risks, to do what no one else will, or what no one else has thought of. And the best part is that you’ll be able to take full credit for your creative insights. You’ll find that as you put your creativity into practice, even more creative ideas will assert themselves. Creativity is like a muscle: use it or lose it. There’s no better way to exercise your creativity than being your own boss.
19. You Will Be the Captain of Your Own Ship
Life can be a stormy sea, and too many people trust someone else to be the captain of the vessel that carries them along. Don’t relegate yourself to being just another hand on deck. You know that you have what it takes to navigate the storm, to be the captain of your own life, so why would you pass on that responsibility? If you want to venture into uncharted territory, you can start your own business. If you want to play it safe, you can do that too. The important thing is, that you’ll be able to decide on your own, do your own research, and carry out your decisions with full confidence. You can’t do that when you’re depending on a boss or a manager to see you safely through life. But you can, when you have your own business.
20. You Can Change the World
Sounds a little on the dramatic side, doesn’t it? But it really isn’t. You absolutely can change the world when you start your own business. Being a small business doesn’t mean having a small footprint. And some of the most influential companies today started out small—look at Facebook, started in a college dorm. It’s gone on to reshape the way people think about socializing, to change the very manner in which people live their lives. Google started small as well, and no one can deny that it’s changing the world. Even if your venture doesn’t become a mega-company, however, that doesn’t mean you’re not in a position to change the world. Creating something lasting, something that shapes your future, the future of your family, and the future of your community is very much an opportunity to change the world itself. Who knows how much of an effect your ideas and goals can have? Only you—and you can only find out by taking the leap.
It’s time to take action. Take a small step today. Whether it’s drawing up a business plan, making a few notes, or making a phone call, your journey will begin with just one step. Set some small goals. Congratulate yourself for meeting them. You’ll find that small goals soon become larger ones, and those will set you on your path to greatness. The reasons above are motivation enough—but surely you have your own, personal reasons as well. Ponder those, and you’ll come to the inevitable conclusion that the only sensible thing to do is follow your dream.
Featured photo credit: thwolfofwallstreet.com via thewolfofwallstreet.com
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