Can you feel inflation eating away at your income? Are you worried matters will only get worse as the nation dives deeper into recession? Perhaps you’re eying that favorite hobby of yours, wondering if you can tweak it a bit to bring in some much-needed revenue.
What’s holding you back?
If you’ve spent the bulk of your career working for someone else, it’s only natural to wonder if starting a business right now is worth it. You can be on the cusp of retirement or even in retirement. Sure, you enjoy helping people, but wouldn’t it be easier just to give it away for free and cut back on other expenses?
Well, no matter what your age, a healthy challenge can invigorate the soul.
“Starting a business can be an exciting responsibility to take on for many people,” says Nick Chandi, CEO and Co-Founder of ForwardAI in Vancouver, British Columbia. “It’s also a great opportunity to turn your weekend hobby into a cash-generating activity. Starting a business with inflation and a looming recession could mean an additional cash flow stream that helps people stay financially prepared for the economy.”
Talk to any entrepreneur and their answer will be the same: their role has become their pinnacle, the driving force behind all things in their life.
“Starting a business is the best personal development journey on the planet—period,” says Ted Wolf, Co-Founder and President of Guidewise in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “As an owner and entrepreneur, the journey to success is full of drama and ups and downs, but all are designed as life lessons that force you to stretch and grow your skills. More specifically, you refine and build new business-related and people-related problem-solving skills.”
What does it mean to be truly free? Imagine your life where you are free from financial worries, free from being told what to do and free to explore whatever you’d like at a moment’s notice.
If that sounds like a comfortable retirement, yes, it is. But it’s possible to achieve this state of Nirvana well before your traditional retirement years. Many folks who run their own businesses have already reached this pinnacle. Have you ever thought about being among them?
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“If you value autonomy, being in control of your own time, guaranteed employment, and if you believe in your idea to the utmost, starting your own business is a great option,” says Joe Chatham, Founder & Managing Partner of USA 500 Clubs LLC in Boston. “The self-employed are the only people I know who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours for someone else.”
Many people dream of starting their own business, but things get in the way. These obstacles can be subtle, like little deadlines and never-ending to-do lists of menial everyday tasks. They can be blunt, like not having the engineering talent to build a prototype or not having the financial backing to hire someone with that talent.”
“Starting a business is not for everyone,” says Tyler Muse, Founder & CEO of Lingo Live in Dallas. “It’s energizing and draining at the same time. Honestly, it can suck the life out of you. Not everyone is cut out for it. But from my perspective, it’s worth it because not only do you get to dream a dream and make it a reality, but more importantly, you get to choose who you work with to make that dream happen.”
But does it make sense to start a new venture in the middle of perhaps the worst downturn in decades? Doesn’t that present a far greater risk than just keeping up with inflation?
“The general business outlook in times like we face today, including inflation, recession, war, energy crisis, supply chain woes put all businesses on guard, and rightfully so,” says Ryan Walicki, Co-Founder of Relish in Beachwood, Ohio.
If you’re like many, these business cycle worries might dissuade you from considering a new start-up. It turns out, however, that from this seething economic chaos rises untold opportunities.
“A recession can be an excellent time to start a business because there are problems within existing businesses that need to be solved,” says Wolf. “During a recession, businesses are more likely to be open to new ideas and innovative ways of solving problems. When times are good, many businesses don’t even look at innovative solutions to problems because they really don’t have to—we innovate in the tough times when we are forced to figure out a ‘better way.’”
But this may not represent the only hurdle. The biggest impediment of all is self-doubt. How often, when you think about starting your own business, do you ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” You can overcome this by simply rephrasing the question to “Is achieving my lifetime dream worth it?” or, more precisely, “Am I worth it?”
“Starting a business is worth it because it gives you the ultimate freedom to control your own destiny and ties your income directly to your own performance,” says Brandon Harris, CEO at Playmaker in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “As an employee, you benefit from stability, but in many cases, you lack upside and control over your day-to-day tasks and schedule. It can be more stressful, but for many who have the confidence, the means, the skillset and the drive, starting their own business represents a more exciting and freer lifestyle, as well as great purpose and a sense of pride.”
In a world where you are always being asked to give of yourself, it’s almost impossible to consider your own wants and needs. Someone is constantly there to demand your attention. This burden of others can distract you until the day you die.
Don’t let it.
At the same time, don’t ignore it.
Yes, there are ways to share your time and talent, but it might be easier to do once you’ve secured your treasure.
Rather than fighting it, lean into it. Other people have wants and needs that aren’t fulfilled. Instead of working for them to fill that void, why not create a business that supplies the product or service to them?
“We live for the chase,” says Walicki. “Setting a vision, developing a strategy and executing against it provides an immeasurable sense of pride and accomplishment. We are solving real problems. The punctuation mark on living for the chase is hearing customers tell us how our products made their lives simpler. They now have time for more strategic work and their family.”
Sure, they’ll have to pay for it instead of getting it for free by corralling your time. But, then again, if they’re not willing to pay for it, do they really want it or need it?
“Starting your own business is immensely gratifying and allows you to experience freedom in your life that you may have thought impossible before,” says Michael Nova, Director of Nova Custom Printing in New York City. “Imagine living a life of freedom, without the feeling of having anyone looking over your shoulder telling you what to do. It is literally a weight lifted off of your shoulders. The freedom of making your own hours, following your own dream and living life on your terms and no one else’s, is irreplaceable. If you have a dream of becoming an entrepreneur, I say with all my heart, follow that dream.”
Think about that the next time you sacrifice your day for somebody else.