When I first found myself on the job-hunt, I was inundated with a common question: Why not strike out on your own? Why not start your own business?
It still comes up – even in interviews! Seriously – prospective employers, people who would ostensibly have me work for them, wonder why on earth I’d want to do so.
And every time I say I don’t want to, the question-asker acts incredibly insulted. Like I’d just kicked their cat or something. Because apparently the very idea of wanting a boss is sacrilege in this city.
Working with small businesses, I’ve come to realize that what I long suspected about running a business is true – it’s damn hard work, and rarely done well. Many “entrepreneurs” in this city are actually contractors operating under an incorporated name. Yes, they do what they do well, and don’t report to anyone but themselves (or clients), but are certainly not building empires.
Casual observation suggests that a great majority of the self-employed strike out on their own because they’re great at what they do, and don’t want to be tied down to an employer. The problem is, they don’t have the skill necessary to actually RUN A BUSINESS.
Being good at what one does, does not immediately bestow that person with any degree of proficiency in business development, growth management, marketing, budgeting, accounting, human resources, management, or any of the other myriad things that are necessary for business efficiency or success.
Were I to go it alone, I’d be spending 80% of my work time doing my own business development and paperwork. And because the 20% of my work time remaining for billable work isn’t enough to pay the bills for the other 80%, I would end up working through much of my personal time as well. And that’s just not at all appealing to me.
I don’t want to build an empire. I just want to enjoy what I do, where I do it, and who I do it with. And at the end of the day, let someone else worry about the other “departments>’
And because I’m good at what I do, actually enjoy the buzz of the business district and play well with others, I’ll continue to take my chances looking for a boss, rather than being one of the numerous small businesses that fail every year.