Do you own or operate your own business or have you ever thought about it? Sure. Most people would love to say they run their own business, but the truth is, it’s fear that stops most people from jumping in with both feet. It’s a big risk, especially financially. The sad fact is most start ups don’t last longer than five years. However, if you’ve got a great idea or offer something that others need or is otherwise in high demand, now is the time to run with your business idea.
Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Of course. Who wouldn’t like the extra income or surround themselves with success? We all would. But there are definite drawbacks to owning your own business. While many businesses can be started on virtually nothing, there are some start up costs that just can’t be avoided. Some of the major costs may include a computer or any special software that may be required, whereas some of the minor costs may include office supplies, a permit to operate in your current city or town, or even a small amount to fund a bank account.
Taxes. Depending on how business owners handle this, taxes can either be a positive or negative experience. When owning and operating your business, especially out of your own, you are able to claim a lot. You can claim a portion of your rent or mortgage, a portion of your car, office supplies, a portion of your utilities, travel expenses, equipment, insurance, and many other things as they apply to doing business.
While there are definite benefits to this, on the flip side, business owners must also pay taxes on revenue, just like any part or full time job. Nope…Uncle Sam doesn’t forget about the self-employed individuals or the sole proprietorships or corporations. In fact, the self-employment tax just increased and affected those businesses or self-employed individuals who filed business taxes for 2012.
Time. The other factor one must consider before jumping into his or her own business is time. If you are able to dedicate to developing and growing your business full time, more power to you. In fact, your business will most likely grow faster since you have the time to dedicate to it. However, most start up business owners hold down at least a part or a full time job while working on the side. In these cases, setting aside time for business planning, speaking and setting up conference calls with clients, recording and keeping track of revenue and expenses, and doing the actual work can be extremely challenging.
Oh…and forget free time. Once you’ve established your business and you are getting regular work and business, you’ve sold your soul. The thing with your business is you take it everywhere with you, whether it’s your email, iPhone, your business cards, or even having it on your head, it’s always with you. This is also the test to see who your true friends and family are. Those who are annoyed with you pulling out your phone every five minutes when you feel/hear the email buzz, text, or even phone calls clearly don’t get it. Is there a point when it reaches an obnoxious level? Well, yes. There obviously is a time and place to be dealing with business, and a definite line between “personal” and “business”…but when you run your own business, that line is a little more difficult to define.
Travel. Depending on the type of business you run, this may mean more travel. Travel in the sense of around the country or even the world attending seminars, trade shows, and client meetings, or travel around town for errands.
Traveling for business can mean more time away from families, friends, or another full time job. This can be exciting and an excellent networking opportunity for those who may not have as many home obligations or who are single and living it up. Either way, love it or hate it, traveling for business is in fact tax deductible, even if it means running errands for office supplies, making trips to and from the bank, or meeting with clients in public places.
Networking. On the other hand, running and operating your own business certainly opens up a lot of networking opportunities. It gives entrepreneurs the ability to meet and work with various companies and clients from all over the world. If your business is really shaping up to be successful, then this paves the way for more exciting opportunities as an entrepreneur and even within business itself and sales.
So how does one go about beginning the networking process? The good news is it is easier than ever today with the ability to take advantage of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are just some social media networking sites that have proven to be huge networking assets for businesses of all different shapes and sizes.
In addition to online marketing, print advertising isn’t exactly dead. Business cards still proven to be just as successful and a vital component that no business owner should be without. They are still used in trade shows, networking events, or other social gatherings.
Success. All in all, being an entrepreneur does mean success. Regardless of the size or mission of your business, it still spells success. If you are one of those business owners who also holds down a full time job, having your own company listed on your resume is a HUGE plus. This no doubt impresses your interviewer. Running your own business certainly speaks volumes about a particular person: their motivation, drive, and desire to succeed and make a difference.
Clearly there is good and bad to being an entrepreneur and running your own business. It certainly doesn’t come without its stress, sleepless nights, and time management requirements, but like anything, if you’re smart and take your business seriously, the hard work can pay off.
So what’s the best advice from one business owner to another? Before starting a business, do your homework. Ask what people think of your idea, do your market research to see if there is a demand for what you want to create or offer, and think long and hard how you will fund your business up front, if you need to, and if you are willing to sacrifice free time, hobbies, and maybe even relationships to give it the time it requires. Remember, your business is only grow as much as the time and money you put into it.
Written content: © 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 J. H. Language Solutions
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