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20 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Business

20 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Business

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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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        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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        Last Updated on April 17, 2019

        10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

        10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

        What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

        Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

        They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

        1. Communication Skills

        Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

        To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

        Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

        Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

        After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

        2. Flexibility

        Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

        Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

        Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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        Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

        3. Being a Team Player

        Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

        What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

        This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

        Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

        4. Positive Mental Attitude

        There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

        Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

        Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

        It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

        Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

        5. A Strong Work Ethic

        People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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        If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

        Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

        • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
        • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
        • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
        • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

        For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

        6. Public Speaking

        Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

        Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

        If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

        For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

        Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

        7. Integrity

        From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

        • Always doing what you say you will do
        • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

        …even when no one is around to check up on you.

        There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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        Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

        8. Managing Your Time

        Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

        A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

        Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

        Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

        These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

        9. Assertiveness

        In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

        • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
        • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
        • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
        • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

        Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

        How do you use this information for yourself?

        It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

        Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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        How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

        10. Creative Thinking

        LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

        Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

        How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

        Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

        These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

        You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        Final Thoughts

        The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

        So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

        The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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        Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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