As the economy improves and young professionals gain experience and really hit their stride in their careers, they’re faced with a choice that a lot of ambitious professionals have wrestled with before them: Is it better to climb the ladder and make your way in an established organisation, or to create your own vision by building a new business from the ground up?
Quick takeaways if you’re in a hurry:
- Entrepreneurship offers a higher stress lifestyle that’s centered around work, but it also offers potentially massive rewards
- Regular employment traditionally offers a more structured lifestyle that’s meant to minimise risk and maximise comfort, but also comes with some uncomfortable hidden uncertainties
- Making the right choice is about understanding your own personal goals, and what you’re personally willing to invest in your work.
Read on: Climb the corporate ladder or build your own?
[Estimated reading time: 6 minutes]
Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of unique challenges and risks, but can be incredibly rewarding. On the other hand, established corporate career paths can provide a more manageable lifestyle, built-in direction, and financial security. It’s a popular choice for a reason, right?
Well, maybe. There are a number of important things to consider when it comes to deciding which path is the better choice. Let’s take a look…
Building an asset
Building a business is, essentially, growing an asset. The revenue your business generates isn’t the only way it generates value. A business can be thought of as a money-making machine, and as your business grows, it increases in value. You can eventually decide to sell your business (and your job) for significant profit.
After watching people get laid off en masse during the great recession, job security is a much more serious concern for a lot of young professionals than it was for older generations. Because of this, the appeal of tying your job security directly to your efficacy at work as an entrepreneur, rather than a faceless performance review as an employee, can be a strong motivator to strike out on your own.
Finances & income
Regular employees can (mostly) count on a steady paycheque that directly reflects the amount of labour they put in. This stability allows them to budget reliably, but it comes at the cost of that self-empowered job security we just mentioned.
As an entrepreneur, your income can fluctuate depending on a variety of external factors that you have no control over, like seasonal shifts in demand, changes in operating costs, or just simple bad luck with sales. You can offset some of this angst by building a relationship with the right financial partner, so that together you can plan for these potential leaner times.
Fortunately this risk can also bring enormous benefits, because you’ll also directly reap the rewards of your business’ successes. More importantly, the success of your business is something you can largely control, and doing a good job can translate into a much bigger income than you could ever hope for as an employee.
Besides simple financial stress, entrepreneurship can include some stress-related health risks. While an entrepreneur is likely to work a massive amount of overtime, employees are generally free to unplug and take the time they need to unwind and manage their health at the end of the day.
To achieve success as a business owner, properly managing your stress load is a vital skill that you’ll need to develop.
As a part of those stress issues, entrepreneurship can destabilise your work-life balance. It requires as much of your time as you’re willing to give, essentially reframing your life around your work. Because of this, you’ll need to carefully budget your time, delegate efficiently, and set boundaries that give you control over your work and personal life.
Traditional employment, on the other hand, comes with set work hours, which makes it much easier to separate work and leisure time. Unfortunately for those employees, that structure comes at the price of their power to define their own balance on their own terms.
Versatility vs. specialisation
An employee is typically a specialist. Someone working as a top quality marketing professional, doesn’t need to know anything about logistics, accounting, risk management, production, quality management, or IT.
Whereas a business owner, especially an entrepreneur, will need to wear multiple or all of those hats at some point or another. You’ll develop a huge and varied skillset that simply can’t be matched by someone who hasn’t run their own business, giving you a holistic view of your work that modern workers today are only very rarely exposed to. This diversity can be incredibly fulfilling.
A major problem for workers all over the world in modern society is a lack of purpose. This is a side effect of working as an employee in a system that’s too large to comprehend. Business owners have an overview of, and manage, the entire system. Because of that, working as a business owner is likely to feel much more rewarding than work as a traditional employee inside that system.
So… what does that mean?
Starting a business is a big decision that comes with a lot of major challenges. A successful entrepreneur usually isn’t someone who went in knowing how to do everything from how to finance their venture, to designing products, to marketing them. Rather, they’re people who understand the scope of what they’re trying to do, and have the determination to acquire the financial advisors, supporting employees, and skills they need to help succeed.
Making the right choice for yourself is largely about what you’re hoping to get out of your career. Is it stable living, wealth, a sense of purpose, something interesting to do, a combination of those, or perhaps something else entirely?
If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner seeking financial planning and support, speak to a business partner at Fifo Capital. Fifo Capital backs business success, and can help you with tailored cash flow solutions and business finance.