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IS STARTING A COMPANY WORTH IT?

Starting a company can be complex, challenging, and scary sometimes. These challenges are especially true if you’ve never owned a company before. I know firsthand now that I’ve owned seven companies, and I felt a little scared each time I started them. But I would say this is normal; I would even go as far as to say it’s a little bit healthy. We, by nature, are taught to do things that are safe and not to do something that we may potentially fail. If you think way back when you were in school, you would get in trouble if you thought out of the box, didn’t follow instructions, did something that didn’t conform, or didn’t get a good grade. So, we’re taught to play it safe from a child, not to risk failing, and always succeed so we can get others’ approval. At first, there’s nothing safe about starting a company. Think about it; you are betting on yourself. You are betting on your abilities to do something, provide a service or product that will solve a problem in such a way that gets to return for you to make a decent living. It’s easier to work for somebody else who has already taken those risks, proven a product that others need, and paid you to support their product or service. However, there are many benefits to doing all of this on your own. Let’s go over a few.

 

Financial Reward

In 2018, 15.6 percent of all US adults were entrepreneurs (Entrepreneurship.babson.edu, 2019). 67.7 percent of the world’s wealthiest individuals (with a net worth of at least $30 million) are self-made (CNBC, 2019).

These statistics show that almost three-quarters of the people who choose to be entrepreneurs become wealthy.  Some people believe that wealthy people were handed their money, inherited, or somehow magically found the money through luck. I know people who genuinely believe that rich people got that way because they are crooks and do illegal things to get all their money. But we know that accumulating wealth takes hard work, time, and dedication to one purpose, cause, or service. Doing the work is not easy, but it can be rewarding.

One of the challenges of starting your own company is stepping out on your own. You’re not sure if it’s worth it or not in the beginning. You have to leap of faith; hopefully, it will work out in the end. It’s easier to take a paycheck and know that you at least have some money coming into the bank every week or a month. Let’s look at some data showing that it may be worth it for you to step out and start your own business. In 2019, the median net worth of self-employed families was $380,000—over four times larger than the $90,000 in net worth held by the typical working family (Headd 2021).  An overwhelming amount of data shows you are more likely to become wealthy as a business owner than working for someone else. The financial reward is there if you’re willing to take the risk. You can’t play it safe, never adventure out of your comfort zone, or be too afraid to fail and expect riches to find you. You must be willing to believe in yourself, your product or service, and know that there is a need for it for you to have a shot at gaining the wealth you desire.

 

Freedom

Freedom can be a very ambiguous word.  So let’s start by talking about what I mean when I say freedom.  Freedom does not mean no to work. We all must contribute to society in one way or another. Freedom means I can do what I want, how I want. When owning a company, you cannot just do nothing.  It would help if you still worked hard, and most times, even harder than you did at your day job, but you know that this work will pay off in the end.  You get to decide what you are going to do with your time.  If you don’t do your work in the morning, that is fine; you have to stay up late and finish it at night, but you can choose when and how it gets done.

Many people start companies because of the potential wealth they can accumulate. This can be a powerful driving force. However, other reasons to start a company can be even more significant for you. I know for me, freedom was the most important thing.

I never was a good employee. I was not too fond of following instructions, especially from someone I thought had little to no leadership skills. It would frustrate me to have someone tell me to do something and immediately know there is a better way. I worked in corporate America for a while in the banking industry, and although I had some great leaders from whom I learned a lot, they were one or two that I felt needed additional leadership training. Fortunately, I was in a position where I was left alone, for the most part, to do my job. But even with all the leeway, I got to work the hours I wanted, with lenient guidelines around getting my job done; I always knew I worked for someone else. I couldn’t do what I wanted and didn’t have true freedom. I don’t say this to sound negative but to demonstrate an example of how things can be.

Sidenote, if you work for somebody and take a paycheck from them, you should do what they tell you to. If you don’t like it, you can try to make a change, but if the company does not accept your ideas, you should probably decide if you can live within the guidelines they said for you or find someplace else to work. A word of advice from a former employee and now a business owner, don’t stay at a job you hate just for the money. You will get weeded out eventually and make many people miserable at your job while trying to figure out what makes you happy.

When I woke up every morning and only looked towards the weekend when I didn’t have to work or found myself saying negative things about my leadership, I knew it was time to leave. I immediately gave my resignation notice. It’s never fair to a company to have them deal with unhappy employees. Nor is it appropriate for you to help continue to work someplace that makes you miserable. In a place where unemployment rates are at an all-time low, and you can find a job anywhere, there is no reason we should stay somewhere that makes you unhappy. We spend 1/3 of our lives at our job. Do not waste that much time on something you don’t like.

As I mentioned, starting your own company can be scary, but the freedom you gain from it is irreplaceable. You may not make as much money as you do now, as I know all too well, but the freedom and Peace of Mind you will gain will be more than any paycheck can pay for. Your freedom to do what you want to do and how you want to do it is something that you can’t explain to someone until they have the opportunity to experience that for themselves. This kind of freedom does come with a cost. It would help if you were disciplined with your freedom to do what is needed to make the necessary funds for your family. Owning a company is all about finding a need and filling it. If you have a product or service, know that it is needed in this world, and love the process of providing that service or approach to others, you are well on your way to gaining the kind of freedom that few experience.

 

Self-Expression

I’m good with numbers, so I was in the banking industry for a while. I worked for two of the largest banks in America, managing large business accounts.  Part of my job was to provide loans. During the loan process, I would have to consider the cost of funds and then calculate the loan rate, terms, and conditions of that loan so that the bank was profitable if we chose to approve the request. The loan process could take some time to complete. Many factors were considered when making my client loans up to 20 million. I could do this kind of work for hours at a time. But somewhere around 3:00 p.m., my analytical brain would shut off. Doing math and studying policies for long periods can be exhausting.

When I would get home, I would find something creative to do so that my brain could take a break from solving problems. This started as a self-help tool. This self-help tool started a hobby of making T-shirts. I would make T-shirts for myself and my family because it allowed me to create designs that I wanted to wear but could not find to purchase. Then shortly after that, I had a group of friends I hung out with who needed shirts for our organization. I have found myself making church for them and others outside the family. Very quickly, this took off to take orders outside of my friends and family. And then decided to create a social media page so that people could find me if they needed my screen printing in Cosmo peril services. This hobby became a profitable business very quickly. My favorite part about that business was not printing shirts, but it was creating the designs and being able to express myself through print on apparel.

This kind of self-expression can be mighty for someone creative. Sometimes people think that self-expression is only done through art. But self-expression comes out in everything that you do. You are limited, and how much can come out when employed with a company that doesn’t align with your kinds of self-expression?

If you are doing something that you don’t like, ask yourself why you do not like it. Is it because of the leadership, the company’s standards, the money you’re making, or is it that you don’t get to express yourself, and the act of self-expression is more important to you than what your day job is providing? If self-expression is essential to you, you may want to look at possibly starting a company that allows you to share who you are.

We’ve gone over three reasons why starting a company might be worth the risk and hard work. For some people, it’s the money. For others, it’s freedom and possibly self-expression. Nobody can tell you what’s truly important to you. You have to discover that yourself. But I would challenge you to do just that. Do some self-discovery period, take some time, and get to know what’s important to you. Write down your thoughts about money, freedom, and self-expression on a piece of paper. If any one of those three things is more important to you and cannot be fulfilled through your job right now, you may once consider starting a company that will fulfill that part that is missing in your life. There are many ways to do this. You can do like I did with the custom apparel company and start something on the side until it grows into a legitimate profitable business. If you do not have the funds, quit your job immediately and jump in feet first with your company. There are many ways to start a company, but you must begin.

Please do me a favor. Please write in the notes or tell me what you have found out about yourself and what you plan to do about it. One of the best exercises you can take in getting started is telling somebody else what you’re going to do. It will not only hold you accountable, but it would do others good who may be struggling with the same challenges that you are to hear how you solved them. This is a community where we help each other.

I look forward to hearing your comments, watching your success, and developing your happiness.

 

 

Thank You

John Reyes

 

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