July 21, 2011, 6:00 am

Do You Really Want to be Self-Employed?

by: MD    Category: Career
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Do You Want to Quit?

Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence. – Lisa M. Amos

Are you thinking of quitting your job? Are you sick of your first job post-college?

Many young professionals will soon find out that life after college isn’t all about making lots of money and signing lucrative contracts with CEOs around the world. You might be stuck in a job that you can’t stand with co-workers that annoy you even more. As a result you’re feeling that being self-employed is the best option for the time being.

Are you sure you want to be self-employed? Let’s look at the key factors that you need to consider:

The odd hours that you’ll work.

When I wrote about jumping on the self-employed bandwagon, one reader responded by saying that as an entrepreneur you can work any hours during the day. That’s any 18 hours that you want. The reality is that you’re going to have work odd hours. This includes the middle of the night, weekends, and holidays. Are you ready to work completely weird hours? Some people prefer to have their free time and not have to worry about business all of the time.

The irregular income.

Without a salary, your income will be totally irregular. Can you handle life without a consistent income? Some months you can make lots of money. Other months you’ll be happy to have enough cash to pay the bills. The income is really irregular when you make your own money.

If you’re a single dude this might not be a problem at all. If you have an expensive lifestyle or other people to feed, you might want to build up an emergency fund before you take any career risks. You might have to dip into your savings on months that you don’t make enough money to cover all of the bills and new expenses.

Constant investments.

You’re going to have to spend money to grow your business over time. This requires constant investments of time and money. These investments can come in many different forms. Some will be something simple like a new business card. Other expenses will be complex and require you to spend thousands of dollars on consulting services just to solve a specific problem. Are you ready to make constant investments?

The time it takes to make real money.

Mike wrote about creating an overnight success the other week. The truth is that we often look at successful business owners and fall for the survivorship bias. We only see those that have made it. There are many aspiring entrepreneurs that just haven’t made it or realized that running a business is not for them.

The idea of waiting a long time to make some money doesn’t really cross our minds. We want to quit our jobs and start making our own money right away. What will you do if you have to wait much longer than anticipated to see some profits? Can you handle these down times?

Everything is on you.

You know when you leave your job at 5pm and forget about work by the time you arrive at home? That’s going to go away. You now have to care all of the time. You can’t really pass the buck or let someone else do it. Everything is on you now. No longer can you go away for two weeks and not think about anything work-related.

I hope that you consider the ideas mentioned above before you plan to quit your job.

Where do you stand? Are you tired of your current job? Are you looking to quit your job and push forward with your own projects?

(photo credit: alancleaver_2000)

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Comments

Those are some daunting reminders of how difficult it is to become a successful entrepreneur. If you never try, you’ll never succeed though. Sometime you have to trust your gut. 😉
One of my friend became an entrepreneur after college and it took him over 10 years to achieve his success, but now he is chilling out at Tahoe enjoying financial independence.

Hey there,

Great post man. I’ll be leaving the work place in a few months and your content is timely 🙂

How much money would you recommend stacking before making the jump? I heard anything from 3 months to 3 years.

You definitely have to have the tenacity and drive to be self-employed. Diligence and perseverance is key. Great post!

I didn’t think of some of those reasons, but looking back, I remember my dad working at home on blueprints in the wee hours of the nights. And working while watching superbowls and the like.

He doesn’t do that anymore since he is established now… but it was rough for a while…

@#1: Ten years? Why so long? Anyway I could speed the process up?
@#2: What’s your plan? It all depends on how you plan on covering bills. I recommend keeping a part time job.
@#3: Well said.
@#4: Yep nobody said it was easy.

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Helping people, doing new things, and doing it all myself.

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