By Ismail Abdur-Rahman, CEO iVIBES
Somebody told me that you owe me
But can't nobody hold me
I do my dirt all by my lonely
I've said it a million times - everything ain't for everybody. Everyone is not meant to play in the NFL (but I sure gave it a heck of a run). Everyone isn't cut out to be POTUS. And everyone isn't meant to be an entrepreneur. Let's think about it logically: if everyone becomes an entrepreneur, we'll all have to run small businesses as solopreneurs because there won't be any employees to staff all of these businesses. So, not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, but how do you know if you should become an entrepreneur?
Freedom vs Security
One of the main motivations for many entrepreneurs is freedom. When you're a paid employee, you essentially trade your freedom for stability. The security of getting a steady paycheck comes at the expense of personal freedom. You have to be at work on specific days, at specific times, and do specific things according to a certain specification in order to get paid. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hey, it works for some people. I'm just not one of those people.
Personally, I find quality of life in freedom. Freedom of choice. Freedom to come and go when I please. Freedom to catch an unplanned flight to Istanbul or Maldives, just because. Maybe it's my ADD, but freedom makes me happy. Honestly, in most environments, working as a full-time employee is too stifling for me - especially when I'm treated like a slave because my real purpose is to make my employer wealthy, and at the expense of my personal freedom and happiness. In fact, this is exactly why some people say that job is an acronym that either means just over broke or jail operating as a business.
If you have reached the point of diminishing returns working for other people and you no longer prefer the security of a paycheck over the freedom to live life on your own terms, it might be time to consider becoming an entrepreneur. It doesn't mean you'll be laying on the beaches of Bora Bora all day, but you will at least have the freedom to make the decision to travel or use your free time as you see fit.
Passion vs Routine
One of the things I personally have struggled with in my past life as an employee was routine. Doing the same thing every day is a sure-fire way to drive a dude with ADD insane - and for me that's probably a shorter trip than it is for others. Perhaps routine isn't as painful when you decide the routine based upon your interests, talents, and passions, but when it's forced upon me....it's so painfully boring that I'd rather watch grown men fish.
On the other hand, people usually become entrepreneurs because there is a problem they're passionate about solving, and this passion fuels production. I'm sure you've noticed it in yourself. When you're really into what you're doing, you can stay engrossed in an activity for hours on end and not even notice the passage of time. When you're passionate about something what you're doing in your life, playing snooze tag isn't an option - your passion will cause you to wake up early so you can get back to work on your business, solving problems and changing lives.
When you feel more inspired by passion than you feel comfortable with routine, it might be time to consider giving up the corporate life in exchange for entrepreneur life.
Financial Freedom vs Indebtedness
Businesses exist to make their owners (shareholder if we're talking about large corporates) wealthy. That's what makes a business different from a charity. People own businesses so that they can become rich. That means they could care less about making you rich. In fact, you could make the argument that they absolutely do not want to make you rich, as this runs counter to the purpose of company formation.
As long as this is the case, and it is - trust me (it says so in every major college-level accounting book on the market), why exert so much of your time and effort making someone else rich? If you would prefer that you your effort makes you rich, instead of someone else, it might be time to consider starting your own business so you can gain financial freedom. Is every entrepreneur rich? Of course not. We know that stats - 9/10 startups fail; it takes most small businesses 3-5 years just to become profitable; most small business remain small business until they're out of business - in other words, they don't grow significantly in terms of customer base or annual revenue, until they reach a point at which the cost of doing business doesn't exceed the benefit of doing business. However, your best bet for financial freedom is as an entrepreneur (or investor) - not as an employee. Do the math: you can be an employee and trade time for average money ($30K - $40K annually) or you can be an entrepreneur and trade ideas for big-time money (millions), especially true if you have a tech-based business that can secure private equity or venture capital funding.
At the end of the day, each one of us will make decisions that will shape our lives moving forward. If you're at a crossroads, take some time for self-reflection and consider the pros and cons of a move in either direction. What might be right for someone else, may not necessarily be right for you. If you're going to go DOLO (do your own thing), make sure it's the right decision for you. You only live once, so live your best life.