The Passionate Entrepreneur - Employee to Entrepreneur

Rhonda Abrams

This year, like every year, over a million people in the United States will start a business. Many millions more will start businesses worldwide.

Hopefully, most will start their companies because they're following a dream. Some, regretfully, will become entrepreneurs because they've been laid off from a job.

Whatever brings you to entrepreneurship, you'll quickly find that there's a big difference between working for yourself and being someone else's employee. Much of that difference is welcome and wonderful. I certainly think so, since I've been self-employed since 1986.

Here are the kinds of changes can you expect when you make the switch from employee to entrepreneur:

* Money

From now on, every dollar is your dollar. Whether you're spending it or earning it, every dollar has a direct impact on your personal well-being.

If you work for a big corporation, you don't think too much about office supplies. But when you have to earn every dollar yourself, that $29 label-maker may seem like an unnecessary luxury when you could use that money to buy clothes for your kids.
* Control

One of the best things about being your own boss is that you get to make the decisions. But with control comes responsibility, and you're going to find you have to make oodles of decisions.

There are big decisions, such as what kind of business to go into, how to finance your business, and where to locate. But smaller choices can be just as intimidating -- whether to exhibit at a trade show, what kind of insurance to buy, when to hire employees. It can be exhausting when so many decisions end up on your desk.
* Humility

Few things instill as much pride as earning your own living. When you do that in a business you've started yourself, you have the right to be especially proud.

But with that pride comes a lot of other stuff, such as running errands, stuffing envelopes, apologizing to obnoxious customers, and emptying the garbage.
* Risk

Perhaps the biggest change is going to be your relationship to risk. When you're an employee, you're concerned with taking care of your career, and it's typically wiser to take fewer risks and thus make fewer mistakes. In your own business, however, taking fewer risks and doing less isn't an option.

Don't let these differences scare you. One of the great benefits of going from an employee to being self-employed is that you discover you're a lot stronger and more capable than you ever knew.

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