There are plenty of articles on how to start a small business, but few on what to expect. I started my first company 16 years ago and wish someone would have pulled me aside to explain some of the quirkier parts of ownership back then. For those of you interested in starting your own business, here are four truths about entrepreneurship to keep in mind:
1. If you enjoy watching money disappear, entrepreneurship is for you. The time will (slowly) come when you are getting nice checks. After you pay the bills, expenses, and overhead, everything that is left from those checks is yours. Don’t be surprised if you run the numbers and learn your secretary makes more money than you do.
2. You may be the chief executive officer but you’re also the accountant and janitor. If you’ve never been much of an office manager, network engineer, or human resources person, you will be.
3. Your office will be open more hours than a 7-Eleven. Successful business owners are the first ones in the office and the last to leave. Vacation? Vacations are for employees, not employers.
4. You will be invisible until you start making money. Family and friends will tell you that you are a mad genius for starting your own company, and then vanish. As soon as you start making money, they magically reappear.
While these four realities may take the wind out of your sails, in the end there are few things more satisfying than building your own empire. Entrepreneurship can be the biggest challenge of your career, but it also can be the most rewarding.
Joel B. Nielsen
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Salt Lake City
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.