Entrepreneurship is all about this…
The choice between being an entrepreneur and being an employee comes down to this factor.
Are you interested in running your own business, but not sure if entrepreneurship is right for you?
Today I’m going to walk you through the factors that most people think about when deciding this question for themselves. As well as the main factor that played a role in their choice to be an entrepreneur. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t a decision based on money.
I’ve studied this topic extensively.
A few years ago I was trying to make up my own mind if entrepreneurship was right for me. I was at a crossroads in my professional life. For the last 10+ years or so my career has been going really well. Meanwhile, at night, I had been trying to build various businesses with moderate success. One of those businesses was showing the potential to replace the income from my day job. As the business continued to grow, I got curious about how other professionals made the decision to make the leap to full-time entrepreneurship.
So, I started talking to, and even recording the conversations (more on that later), other professionals to learn how they made up their own mind to take the leap.
Here is what I learned in a nutshell. If this topic is interesting to you, check out my book on the topic, The Ladder or The Grind (on Amazon) - a personal exploration of career choices.
These factors play the biggest role in career choices
Would you have guessed money was the biggest factor if I hadn’t already told you that it wasn’t? A lot of people I talked to made that guess.
After all my research was done, I found 12 factors that played a role in the decision between being an entrepreneur or being an employee. Here they are, in no particular order:
- The ability to express oneself
- Marital status
- Being in demand
- Career ceilings and floors
Alright, we know money wasn’t the top factor. So, which one do you think was? By the way, money was in the top three.
Hands down, the top factor that drove people’s decision to be an entrepreneur was…control. People saw entrepreneurship as a way to control their own professional and personal destiny.
That is exactly what I love about entrepreneurship. If you don’t want to work on a certain project then you don’t work on it. If you want to fire a customer because they are a pain in your neck then you can do that.
Now, that level of control comes with a tradeoff. For every decision you control, you will reap both the benefits and the consequences.
You don’t have to be full-time to have control
Some of the entrepreneurs I talked with were part-time entrepreneurs. They had a day job, like me, but we’re pursuing their own business in their spare time. Even the part-timers listed control as their main reason for pursuing entrepreneurship. They may have had less control as an employee at their day job, but they believed that growing their own business gave them more control over their future. It gave them a way to pursue work that they were interested in.
Being part-time might even provide for more control.
If you are full-time in a business and need the revenue that would come with onboarding a new client you have less optionality. Because you need the money, even if you don’t enjoy working with that client, you are less likely to pass on working with that client.
If your part-time side hustle produces extra income, then you can afford to pass on with clients that don’t fit your target market.
Check out the interviews
If you’d like to hear first hand how people worked through a similar career choice, you can find four of the interviews I did at the links below.
Jim Stoneburner - Jim was self-employed at the time and is still a self-employed realtor.
Canon Pattillo - Canon had to shutter his venture, but landed a great job that allows his wife to pursue her business.
Anita Lane - Anita is still working in the hospitality industry.
Ahmed Khalifa - Ahmed continues to have a day job, but hustles on the side.