If you’re an entrepreneur you have heard the million reasons not to go into business: It’s too risky, you might go into debt, you’ll probably lose sleep, your social life is kaput, and the list goes on. But even with all these uncertainties, people are still attracted to the startup world. There are just as many, if not more reasons to take the leap and go into business for yourself. Here are just a few:
1. Spare time. This one can take some time. Initially you’ll work longer hours for less pay. But if you do it right, you could start to master your schedule and the freedom that being an entrepreneur provides is awesome.
2. A story to tell. Whenever I tell someone I run my own business, they always want to know what I do, how I do it and how it’s going. I always am able to provide a tale or two, and the best part is that I get to determine the story's chapters. (When working for a corporation, people most likely have less input.)
3. Tax benefits. For entrepreneurs (freelancers included), they have the opportunity to take advantage of some nice tax perks. Many can write off expenses like travel, food, phone bills, portions of car payments, and the list goes on. Also, certain startups qualify for government incentives. Make sure to ask your accountant about what tax benefits you may be eligible for.
4. Pride. When you build something successful, it’s a great feeling. You had a vision, were able to execute it and not can reap the benefits of saying "I did this." On the other hand, it’s tough to be proud of the zillionth request for proposal request you fill out for your employer.
5. Your posterity. If you’re a doctor, plumber or bus driver it’s hard to imagine you passing your career on to your loved ones. But if you own your own business, that’s something you can pass on to the next generation. And be proud of it, because you created it.
6. Job security. Have you ever been laid off, downsized, or fired? If you have, you get this. With entrepreneurship the security lies in the fact you are your own boss. You run the show and don't have to worry about getting let go.
7. Networking. Entrepreneurs are communal creatures. We love to meet each other, swap stories, and learn from each other’s experiences. Your circle of friends and acquaintances always grows when you become an entrepreneur, as many founders need others to lean on to survive and talk about the challenges only known to them.
8. Doing good. While this isn’t exclusive to entrepreneurs, it’s definitely a perk. You control where your company profits go and if you choose, you can give allocate your financial gains to others. You can sponsor a charity, a non-profit or just personally give back to the community. This is quite honestly one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur.
9. Novelty. We, as humans, love new experiences but rarely can you experience a host of new things from inside your cubicle. This all changes when you are running the show. Starting your own business will ensure you’ll always be facing new challenge and experiencing something new.
10. Mentorship. Having had mentors and getting to be a mentor have been some of the best experiences of my life. Learning from the masters and getting to help those less experienced than you gives you such a sense of satisfaction. From my experience (and other's stories) the entrepreneurial community is very willing to give back and lend a helping hand.
11. Becoming an expert. This point goes along with mentorship. Regardless of what you do as an entrepreneur, if you stick with it, you’ll probably become very good at it. And this gives you a sort of soapbox, so use it. You'll have the chance to be interviewed for your expertise, write about it and get to spread your message.
12. Skills. People ask me how I learned about SEO, social media, pay-per-click, PR and all the other marketing techniques I utilize. I tell them that I was forced to learn them, otherwise I wouldn't survive. The same way I was forced to learn how to build a spreadsheet, how to balance a budget, how to negotiate leases and countless other skills I picked up because I was the only resource I had. While developing new skills can be tough and takes times, it can pay off in spades. These skills will be invaluable throughout your life.
Related: Want to Innovate? Get Uncomfortable.
13. Determination. Everything I’ve done as an entrepreneur has affected me in my personal life. I used to be poor at committing to changes. But having been an entrepreneur for over a decade has forced me to become dedicated and determined to causes. (Now I can stick to an exercise plan much easier.) I’m also better at being a father and husband because of that determination I learned.
14. Recognition. There are literally thousands of local, regional and national awards that recognize entrepreneurs in every field and industry. This shouldn’t be your only reason to start your business, but it certainly is a great feeling when you receive this recognition.
15. Financial independence. Let’s be honest, this is probably the biggest reason people get into business for themselves. And that’s a good thing! You should want financial independence. However you define financial independence – retirement stockpile, unlimited cash potential or having the money to buy what you want -- entrepreneurship can allow you to achieve it. Trust me, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does make finding happiness much easier.
16. Reinvention. I’ve started and sold several companies over my career. And every time I sell a company, I’m presented with an opportunity to reinvent myself all over again. On the flip side, if I had received my law degree, I’d be a lawyer (not a lot of room to recreate myself). But as an entrepreneur, I get to be whatever I want to be.
17. Change the world. Everyone jokes that every entrepreneur says they’re going to change the world. It’s difficult to imagine how a cell phone accessory kiosk in the mall is going to change the world. But there are those that do succeed. Take a look at Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, and the countless other entrepreneurs who really have changed the world in some small (or major) way.
18. Create jobs. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you’re responsible for the success of your employees. Your ideas provided them the opportunity to earn a living, provide for their family and fulfill their own dreams.
19. Your brand. Being known for something is awfully enjoyable. People may start referring to you as the marketing guy, or the retail maven or the software guru. Whatever it is you’re recognized as, it’s fun to build that brand and earn that recognition.
20. Your reason. I’ve given you a list of why I think you should get into business. But all that really matters is your reason to start your own business. So, what is it? Tweet out this story and add your reason. Comment below and share with us why you did it. I know it will be a good one.
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