Starting a business has many risks, but it also has many benefits.

Starting a business is a big dedication, so it pays to think about the pros and cons before taking the plunge.


Risks of Starting a Business:

Working Harder: People who are self-employed often work harder than they would in employed work. You often need to work through holiday periods unless you use staff, go into partnership with others or have a business that allows for breaks in work. This requires planning when starting a business to make sure you still get some relaxation time.

Life Becoming about Business: If you are not careful your business can overwhelm your life. With employed work, even though you may need to take work home at times, there is a greater division between work and home life. If you take work home you know it's being done during your at-home time. When you are self-employed this division is less clear, even absent if you work from home. This means your work can slowly start impacting your home life before you even know it's happening. The trick to this when starting a business is to choose work periods for yourself or to just be very aware of how your business is interacting with your family life.

Lack of Support: Similar to the issues with having holidays, if you are the only employee of your business you may have difficulties if you become ill or are unable to work for any reason. Again this requires planning when starting a business to prevent this from being an issue that may have a big impact on you or your business.

Waiting Game: Don't expect money to start coming in immediately like it does when you are self-employed. You are not starting work with a pre-determined wage when you work for yourself. Income must be built up from nothing and it can take a while for money to start coming in.

Failing: A high number of self-employed businesses fail. Guard against this by getting education that will help your business thrive. Make sure you research your idea properly to check it will work in the way you wish it to. Check there is a need for it in the community. Also check out business resources available to help people starting a business.


The Benefits of Starting a Business

More Choices: If controlled the ability to run your own business can be excellent, especially if you have children. You have more control of what you do everyday. This means more choices and flexibility in your working life.

Avoiding Politics: Working for yourself allows you to side step workplace politics. Something which is a common but negative part of employed work.

Doing Something You Love: Working for yourself gives you the chance to focus on something you love and earn money from it.

Being Creative: Being self-employed often requires creativity to do well, especially when starting a business.

More Variety: You often do more than one 'job' when you are self-employed and use more than a single set of working skills. This makes your working life more varied and interesting.


Scuba shop illustration
Credit: (flickr)