Top 10 Reasons NOT to Start Your Own Business

Copyright 2006 Pamela Slim

Although I spend most of my time evangelizing about the benefits of entrepreneurship, I do want to throw a little reality out there for those who may look at it only through rose-colored glasses. Here are ten reasons why you may NOT want to start your own business:

#10: You can’t blame your lame boss for your problems. As much as you might have complained about your boss or “Management” in your corporate job, you might find yourself missing the person who takes the heat for big decisions. Whichever success or failure your company experiences is squarely on your shoulders.

#9: YOU are all the departments in your business. You must take care of product development, sales, marketing, accounting, customer service, information technology, legal, procurement and shipping. Most of us do not have strengths in all these areas, so you must quickly learn what is necessary to stay within the law and in business.

#8: No free office supplies. Did you really ever think about how much a paper clip or manila folder costs? How about a desk, no-glare monitor or printer toner? All of a sudden you will become aware of all the “hidden” expenses when you have to do it all yourself. And no, I don’t suggest sneaking out the back door of your corporate job with a big box of supplies. Bad karma! (I will sheepishly admit to taking a pad or two of post-it notes in my time, and I am sure I paid for it somehow)

#7: No safety net of a regular paycheck. Even if you do well in your business, most orders do not come in an orderly, timely manner as your paycheck does. Paying bills can be much more of a juggling act when you first start your business, unless you are sitting on a huge cash reserve for expenses.

#6: No one gives you goals and objectives. Many new business owners can get paralyzed trying to figure out what to get done in which order. Should you develop your product? Start talking to prospects? Invest in infrastructure? Build a website?

#5: You can’t pass off irate customers to Customer Service. The buck stops with you, and you have to deal with all conflict related to your business.

#4: No paid sick days. For many businesses, if you don’t work, money doesn’t come in. If you wake up with a stuffy nose and a headache, you can’t tap into one of your 20 days of paid sick leave and sleep in.

#3: Self employment tax. Or just taxes in general. Instead of delighting at a refund most tax years, as a self-employed person you have to pay self-employment tax. You also must keep excellent accounting records to make sure you run a clean operation and in case that you are audited by the IRS.

#2: Self-funded benefits. You must piece together and pay for a decent benefit package to ensure you and your family are protected against risk. You don’t have the volume discount afforded by large corporate programs, so often they are more expensive.

#1: No zone-out weeks. Although most of us would never admit it, we have all had weeks (some months!) of “zoning out” where we act like we are busy and doing important things, but in reality are shopping online, or planning a wedding or playing fantasy sports. If you zone out in your own business, nothing gets done and no money comes in. Simple as that.

If you are still charged up to become an entrepreneur after reading this list, you may just have what it takes to succeed.