Most individuals who are interested in starting a business want to escape the mundane 9-5 employee lifestyle. They see successful entrepreneurs who are spending weeks at a time on vacation, working very few hours per day, and living their lives like millionaires. What these people fail to recognize is the fact that this type of lifestyle does not instantly occur after you decide to become an entrepreneur. When starting a business, years of hard work are necessary to build your company up to the point that it can sustain itself without hundreds of hours of work each month.
Furthermore, an individual that instantly decides he is capable of being an entrepreneur often fails to see the "big picture" of starting, and running, a business. This person tends to think that if he is capable of hanging sheetrock and roofing a house, he is automatically deemed capable of starting a business building homes.
This belief could not be further from the truth. A business becomes extremely successful only if it is run with operations, finances, and marketing in mind. An individual could have a great product, but without the proper marketing plan and pricing strategy, the product will never successfully sell. Similarly, if an individual has no grasp of finances and overestimates the amount of funding available for a solid marketing plan, the company can also quickly fail. Starting a business is not so easy after all!
A critical factor when starting a business is considering how to structure it so that you do not need to be a part of it. Truly successful entrepreneurs are gifted when it comes to building business systems more than anything.
Let's look at an example.
If Jim opens an art gallery to sell his pictures, he is technically running his own business; however, if Jim stops painting for a week to take a vacation, the inventory of "products" (paintings) offered by Jim's business will become extremely diminished, and revenue will decrease significantly until Jim can paint a great deal of extra pictures to once again adequately supply his consumers' demands. This is a business that actually makes Jim a glorified employee. Though he is the business's owner, he will forever have to work for the business if he wants to continue to profit.
With an entrepreneurial approach, Jim would instead determine how to successfully finance and market his new art gallery to attract customers and host events, while having local artists contribute the art that he would sell. Jim could approach this model by offering other artists the opportunity to sell their works from his gallery. Each time an individual purchased one of the works of art, Jim would simply earn a commission. The beauty of starting a business with this type of model is the fact that Jim's presence is not required for the gallery to continue bringing in revenue. In this example, Jim is a true business owner. He will now continue to see profits, even when he leaves the gallery for weeks at a time!
As you can see, there is more to owning your own business than simply possessing a great deal of skill in a specific trade. If you are willing to approach entrepreneurship and business models as a series of systems, and if you are open to constantly learning more and more about all areas of business (finance, marketing, operations, etc.), definitely consider opening your own business. Conversely, if you love the work you are doing, find a company that will hire you. There are many companies that provide employees with positions they love. After all, starting a business is not for everyone, but for those who are passionate about entrepreneurship and the "big picture" of business, the earning potential and personal satisfaction that are the results of starting a business are invaluable.