The Benefits of Becoming an Entrepreneur (or, Reason #455 That I Work for Myself)
written by: Heidi Wiesenfelder•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/24/2011
Working for yourself has some great benefits, some well known and others less so. Do you want to set your own schedule or choose your own coworkers? Learn about some of the key benefits of becoming an entrepreneur.
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Schedule flexibility: One of the best-known benefits of being an entrepreneur is being able to set your own schedule. People vary vastly in their preferences for the time of day they like to work; I am an extreme night owl, sleeping well past noon and working sometimes up to sunrise, when some of my colleagues are just starting their day. If you have a strong preference for when you want to work and when you want not to work, you have the ability to plan your business to allow it. This is obviously not usually an option for employees who work for others. Entrepreneurs can even do split shifts, have different schedules on different days, or even follow a very loose schedule that could barely be considered a schedule.
Set your own workload: As your own boss you also establish your own workload. You determine how many hours per day you will typically work, how many (and which) days you work each week, and how to allow for vacation time. If you are sick, you can make the best decision for yourself and your business without worrying about repercussions. And you can balance work with the other parts of your life by putting in extra hours some weeks and fewer hours at other times. I often take this to the extreme, and it requires discipline to make sure you accomplish your business goals despite the freedom that comes with being your own boss.
Pick your location: Whether you are a sole proprietor in a home-based business or starting up a brick-and-mortar business, you will be the major decision-maker when it comes to your business location. Employees often have the challenge of doing work they enjoy in a location that requires a long commute, or of doing a job they would prefer to avoid because it is in the right location. In either case they have no control over the location of the work they do, as is true in most cases for employees. As an entrepreneur you can decide which part of town will be home to your business, whether to work at your own home all or part of the time, or even whether to make a local coffee shop or park your office. I find that working at home is my ideal, but that at times I need to get out in order to focus and be productive.
Choose your colleagues: One of the largest frustrations about working for someone else's business is that you do not get to choose your co-workers. You may have a problematic boss or incompetent teammate, or just find that the general culture isn't to your liking. As an entrepreneur you choose the people to hire, the people to partner with, and the companies to use as vendors. Do not think that you should make these selections based only on which people you like or have much in common with, as it is wise to seek people with different perspectives and experience. However the ability to select your colleagues based on respect and shared values is empowering.
Decide what to delegate: A common pitfall for new entrepreneurs is the tendency to try to do everything themselves. In some cases this is necessary due to budget constraints or other reasons. But in time as a business grows the owner will increasingly see the need to delegate some of the work to others. At this stage you will get to decide which tasks are not the best use of your time and would be better handed over to someone else. A small retailer might contract with a bookkeeper to take over the day-to-day financial duties, while a writer might hire someone to handle the keyword research portion of writing for online sites.
Follow your mission, vision and values: Individuals who later become social entrepreneurs in particular are often frustrated as employees by the culture of their companies. They may find that the business is lacking in real vision and values, or that the company talks the talk of establishing a mission and vision statement but fails to live up to it. In creating your own business you will decide upon your vision for what you will create, your mission for how you will accomplish it, and the values that will guide your decisions and your interactions with others. I recommend creating a list of 3-10 values and actually putting them in writing, as I have done on my main business website. Use them to guide your creation of publications and your other marketing efforts.