You see friends constantly sharing memes about following your dreams and being the boss. Entrepreneurship appears to be trendy these days, but should you really be working for yourself?
I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve worked crappy jobs to pay for college, did every traditional teenager job, and have tried my hand at various forms of entrepreneurship (from blogging to real estate).
Is it worth working for yourself? Should you start your own business when you’re young?
“Some people have the courage to bungee jump or even skydive, yet they lack the courage to work for themselves.” — Mokokoma Mokhonoana
There are a million inspirational quotes out there about working for yourself and being the boss. Nobody really digs in.
“I need to make money of my own. I’m tired of working for someone else.”
For some reason, it’s assumed by most that working for yourself is the solution to every problem. As I sit here at a coffee shop on a Wednesday evening filled with anxiety, I have to disagree with you.
The good thing about a 9-5 is that 5pm rolls around and you eventually get to shut off your mind from work. You don’t have to take your work home with you. You have someone else pretty much tell you when to work and how to work.
Matt shared with us the dark side of a successful business. He opened us up to what happens when you’re not ready for your business to become successful. We recently looked at the idea of working for yourself and success. My conclusion was:
“Go out and chase your success. Whatever that means to you. Don’t let some weirdo on social media try to guilt you into quitting your job.”
What’s the case for trying to be an entrepreneur when you’re young?
There’s no greater feeling than making money on your own.
I’m not sure how to describe this. Getting paid from your job is fun and all, but there’s just something special about making money on your own. When you perform a service or offer something that others deem to be valuable, you feel pretty good about yourself.
You get freedom.
Working for yourself affords you a certain kind of freedom. Freedom isn’t just about your time. It’s also about your location. We all know someone who’s forced to live in a place that they loathe only because their job forces them to be there. It’s fascinating how many of my friends have moved to places that they despise for a job. I couldn’t imagine hating where I live.
When you work for yourself you’re pretty free as to where you work and when you work. You have freedom. You don’t have a boss dictating your every move. You set your own hours and can generally do what you please.
You have more opportunities.
With a job, you’re limited to whatever roles are available within your company. You also are limited when it comes to income. There’s only so much money that you can make. When you work for yourself, you can make more money and can go after higher pay.
What’s the case against working for yourself?
According to this article on WSJ:
“The share of people under age 30 who own private businesses has reached a 24-year-low, according to new data, underscoring financial challenges and a low tolerance for risk among young Americans.”
I can see this. With student loans on the rise and everything feeling so expensive, it’s scary to try to venture off on your own.
You don’t have it in you.
The main argument against being an entrepreneur is that most people just don’t have it in them to deal with being the boss. Everything falls on you when you’re in charge. It’s so much easier to go into a job where you can just mess around. When someone tells you when to take a break and when you get to go home, you have less decisions to make and less to think about.
The money is inconsistent.
You know how it feels good to know that your pay will be coming in every Thursday? You know that feeling when your paycheck hits your bank account? THROW THAT AWAY.
Pay becomes inconsistent as an entrepreneur. You have to close deals and ensure that you’re doing the work to get paid. You don’t get paid vacation, sick days, or personal days. If you don’t have passive income streams, then you pretty much have to always work for your money.
Getting paid is tough.
When you have a job, your pay gets deposited into your bank account. You don’t have to do anything most of the time. You don’t have to invoice the payroll department. You don’t have to deal with delays. You simply get paid.
As an entrepreneur you have to chase YOUR money down. Yes, you worked for it, but you still have to chase it down. You have to send invoices and follow up to get paid. The money doesn’t automatically come in because it’s pay day.
It’s very lonely.
Say what you want about your co-workers, but they give you something to talk about with your friends. Most of my friends from high school now mainly socialize with friends from work. Most people will eventually make a majority of their friends from work.
Working for yourself can be pretty lonely. You have to buckle down and get things down with minimal social interactions. You don’t have co-workers to crack jokes with. You don’t get invited to holiday parties. You can go days with minimal real life interactions.
The hours are all over the place.
I have the worst schedule. Most entrepreneurs have ridiculous schedules. Without a boss telling you to be at work for 9 and to go home at 5, it’s tough setting strict hours. Most of us aren’t that good at setting boundaries. I struggle with knowing when to work and when to shut down. You can’t just ignore a client email because it’s Friday evening or because you’re on vacation.
Here’s the best part about having a steady job: you don’t always have to work. I often chat with friends on social media during the day who are flat-out loitering on the job. I loiter often as well, but I’m only hurting myself because I’m not doing something to generate revenue for myself.
On that note…
Is it worth it for millennials to chase entrepreneurship dreams?
Don’t think that trying to work for yourself will solve all of your problems.
If you hate your job then that’s on you. If you’re not making enough money then you need to upgrade your skills or even find a second source of income. If your job flat out sucks, then you should consider looking for a new job.
Working for yourself won’t automatically solve all of your problems. You may even create a new set of problems for yourself.
Here’s what you should do if you want to work for yourself one day…
Step 1: Get a higher paying job or work more so that you have money coming in.
You don’t need to quit your job. You need to make more money. More money will solve most of your problems (pay down debt, move out, etc.). Working for yourself won’t guarantee you more money. In fact, most entrepreneurs take a pay cut when they quit their jobs.
Here’s how you can make more money:
- Get a part-time gig. Not the sexiest tip, but that second source of income will help you pay down your debt and save up faster.
- Upgrade your skills, take courses, or do whatever it takes to become more valuable at your job. Ask your boss what you can do to make more money. They may give you overtime or suggest that you take certain courses. Do that. Stop complaining.
Make more money first without trying to rely on starting a business.
Step 2: Try to make some money on the side.
Can you make some money on the side? Once you’ve tried to make more money with your job, it’s time to try to start a side hustle. Use your spare time to see if you have it in you to start a business.
Here are my top tips on making money on the side:
- How you can start a blog right now.
- The exact steps to get paid to write.
- A look at popular income sources.
If you can make some money on the side, then that’s a sign that you can work for yourself one day. You need some tangible proof that you have the ability to make your own money.
Step 3: Keep on saving up and hacking away at your debt.
Trying to start your own business should be done to make money on the side. The goal is to make money with a side gig so that you can keep on saving up and chipping away at your debt. You don’t want to put yourself into a stressful financial situation by quitting your job when you don’t have enough money coming in.
Keep on saving up so that you have money to make moves in life. I don’t want you to chase some delusional dream because some blogger on social media inspired you to do what sets your soul on fire.
Working for yourself can be the best thing in the world when you’re ready for it. Don’t go quitting your job just yet.