What’s not to like about being your very own boss? You decide your own work hours. You set your own rules. And there’s no office drama to get in your way, right?
These fantasies cater to the illusion of an ideal work environment. In reality, you have to be ready to face the challenges that come with putting up your own business. You decide your own hours, but you’ll frequently need to adjust your schedule to accommodate more work. You get to set your own rules, but adhering to them won’t simply be a matter of discipline – it could make or break your company. And while you certainly won’t have to tolerate petty office drama, you’ll still have to deal with difficult people day in and day out.
Before you start a business, you need to have the desire, drive, and passion for change and innovation. Wanting to simply escape office politics is not enough. Shallow, self-centered motivations will not give you the drive to last on your own in any industry. In the end, you’ll give up and ask yourself “What am I doing? Who am I kidding? This is not for me.”
Before you decide to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon, consider these 7 valid reasons to start a business:
1. You have an idea you can’t stop thinking about
“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” –Josh James, CEO and Co-Founder of Omniture
Do you often ponder an idea before you go to sleep and think about it again first thing in the morning? Does brainstorming this idea leave you staring into space for hours? If you keep thinking about bringing this idea into reality, perhaps fate is telling you to make that move. When Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky first turned a profit renting out three air mattresses on their apartment floor and serving breakfast, they thought their idea could actually work. It did. What started as two guys’ solution to earn rent money is now called Airbnb.
2. You have a solution to a major problem
“One can get anything if he is willing to help enough others get what they want.” –Zig Ziglar, Motivational Speaker and Author
This is the reason some businesses thrive and grow into huge corporations. All problems are meant to be solved, but not all of them require mega fundraising or massive investments. You need to have the solution to a large-scale, tangible problem. Dave Barnes, CEO and Founder of Gym and Fitness, started his business at the young age of 18. He was shopping for home gym equipment and noticed a huge gap in the online market. What started out as a hobby quickly became an obsession. He quit school, and is now the owner of multiple gym equipment stores all over Australia.
3. You are in a perfect situation
“Even if you don’t have the perfect idea to begin with, you can likely adapt.” –Victoria Ransom, Co-Founder of Wildfire Interactive
You are in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. This formula often leads to something epic. If an opportunity comes knocking, and you feel with all the bones in your body that it’s best thing to do, then you should probably follow your instincts. When Chad Mureta, founder of App Empire, got into a debilitating accident that left him in the hospital with a mountain of bills, he took a leap of faith by venturing into an industry he was not familiar with. Now, Mureta has already produced 46 apps and sold three app companies.
4. This is your passion
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple
If you’re starting a business just because you can, then you’re starting out wrong. It takes more than knowledge and experience to become a successful entrepreneur. Hannah Grant, owner of Captura: Wedding Photography in Adelaide, started her business because she was drawn to capture the emotions of people and paint those heartfelt, authentic, joyful sensations through photography. That is passion. It’s beyond the financial aspect. If your work is your passion, then you won’t have to work a single day in your life.
5. You are born to be an entrepreneur
“Trust your instincts.” –Estée Lauder, Founder of Estée Lauder
Do your friends or relatives often say you have huge potential to succeed in business? Did you ace your backyard lemonade stand or your scout troop’s cookie quota when you were a kid? You should use that unique instinct on something bigger. That is a trait that cannot be learned over time. It’s something you are born with. Embrace it. Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, began what is now a groundbreaking company specializing in innovation in technology… in his parents’ garage.
6. You have years of experience behind you
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” –Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder and former CEO
Like a soldier, trained and armored for war, you already know the ups and downs of your business and the complex nuances of your industry. You know this is what you want. You have years of experience behind you. It’s time to blaze a new trail. Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, co-founders of Home Depot, were once fired from their executive jobs. However, that didn’t stop them from revolutionizing the home-improvement industry. Combined, they had years of experience in the industry and changed how we deal with DIY projects.
7. You’re a fresh graduate
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” –Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and CEO of Facebook
You just graduated and you’re ecstatic. Let that feeling make you do crazy things you’ll probably not want to do in three or four years. Use that confidence to start your own business. What’s there to lose when you have all the time you need? While your friends work toward a promotion at some other company, you’re on your way to becoming the boss of your own company. Mark Zuckerberg was an undergraduate when he started Facebook, but fast-forward, and his one-time “hot or not” site has become a central part of our lives.
As Mr. Donald Trump once said, “You have to think anyway, so why not think big?” Yes, becoming an entrepreneur is always risky. Yes, it’s constantly changing. And yes, there’s no such thing as playing it safe. But the feeling of accomplishing something, doing what you love the most — that feeling will just propel you to go further. You never know – you might become the next Bill Gates!