Since I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey in 2011, I’ve started and managed over 10 different businesses. It may sound impressive and glamourous but I can bet people who have experienced similar journey would think otherwise, particularly in the early phases of the journey. I call them the misconceptions that non-business owners have about running our own business. I had these very same thoughts as well when I was an employee. This is precisely what drove me to get out of the employment world and plunged myself into owning a business. If only I had known, I would have been more prepared.
Misconception 1: You are your own boss and you have all the control
While it’s true that I don’t have to report to a boss but I found myself answer to many “bosses.” Even if you’re going solo with partners, employees and vendors, your time is mostly taken up responding to the demands of your clients or customers. When you’re faced with problems to solve, you need to step up even though you may not necessarily know what to do. Business owners can call shots but only if you have build a very successful business that you’re able to have a full control.
Misconception 2: You can make a fortune with you own business
Many new business owners who are not aware of the costs involved in owning a business will have a rather great revelation here. I’ve heard employees complain about not getting paid enough, thinking that their bosses are making a fortune by how much they’re charging the customers. As an employee, they didn’t think much of the vast number of expenses that need to be covered. The net profit margins can be so thin and sometimes bordering on non-existent.
Misconception 3: You have all the time flexibility
I can understand why some would think that when they see my Facebook posts on me going for grocery shopping, watching movies or walking my dogs while everyone else is at work. What they don’t know is that I’m actually working around the clock. I work when they’re working, I work when they’re sleeping, I work when they go on holidays and heck, I even work when I’m sick. When you just get started, you don’t own the business. The business owns you.
Misconception 4: You can set any amount of salary
No, you don’t unless you don’t care about your business survival in the long run. I knew of a business owner whose priority is to pay himself first before everyone else. Needless to say, his business didn’t survive its infantry. As a business owner, you’re required to sacrifice your own take to ensure expenses are paid. When I started my own business, I didn’t receive a single penny for years. I was surviving mostly on my savings and side income I made from random projects.
Misconception 5: You can choose what you enjoy doing and outsource everything else
You will get to this point eventually but not at the beginning. For your business to sustain financially, you can’t afford to outsource everything to others. If you don’t have partners in the business or financial backup from investors, you’re most likely going to be managing your own finance, pricing, hiring and other business operations. I’ve washed the toilet and taken out trash, things I didn’t need to do when I was an employee. We had hired cleaners for those, so please do appreciate your cleaning crew in your office.