Starting a business is a lucrative option more and more people are choosing to explore as a career path. The potential benefits are outstanding, but people often misunderstand all of the responsibilities that come with owning a business. Earning potential and flexible schedules are the main benefits generally associated with entrepreneurship. However, a business owner’s money and time are subject to risk and fluctuation, a departure from the stability and security of being an employee. The rewards of entrepreneurship often outweigh the risks, but it is a lifestyle that will require a certain mindset and skill set to do successfully.

Many people desire to start a business because they dream of being their own boss. Working for yourself and making your own hours, what could be better? These ideas and clichés tend to overlook the realities and heavy responsibilities of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Yes, you are the boss; this means that all aspects of the business are yours to oversee. Everything is your responsibility. Even when you have employees handling tasks for you, it remains your responsibility to assess the quality of their work.

Yes, you make your own schedule, but it is likely your schedule will include more time working than a traditional day job. This is especially during the early phases of starting a business. When you are an employee, you can usually leave work at work. When you are a business owner, it’s difficult and sometimes counterproductive to not be thinking about your business. The trade off here is how you conceive the time you spend working. As an employee, you are renting your time to perform a task. As an owner, you are investing your time into something that you created and have a much higher degree of responsibility for- it is often much more rewarding.

The largest aspect of risk facing entrepreneurs is pay inconsistency.  Regardless of the nature of your business, it is very likely that your income will ebb and flow. Perhaps you will ride high from a holiday rush. The nature of your business could leave your product or service in higher demand during certain seasons. While you may not fit these examples, it is unlikely that your business will be immune to income fluctuation, and you will need to be able to handle it. This inconsistency is a departure from the security of a salary position as an employee and can be uncomfortable for some people. This is especially true at the beginning.

As a business owner, you will have to handle a lot of unknown elements. A major key to your success lies in your ability to adapt to changing situations and come up with creative solutions to problems you may have never previously imagined. Understanding the “textbook” aspects of running a business- finance, marketing, accounting, etc is essential- but you will need more than this if you want to succeed.

Business schools do their best to educate you on the mechanical aspects of the business, but often fall short in conveying the reality of owning a business. The best way to truly understand the process of starting a business is to learn from someone who has done so successfully. Having a mentor to coach you through the ups and downs of running a business is one of the most effective resources you can have. Ensure that that person is successful in the field you are having them mentor you on. You don’t need someone to sit and be negative over and over and over again to the point that you no longer want to do it. Get someone who will give you the reality, but when they really know, they can help provide simple solutions so it’s not all grim…on the contrary you will find yourself more motivated as you are working through simple solutions to the problems.

When leaving a job to start and operate your own business, you are trading stability for flexibility, and taking on a higher degree of risk- with a higher potential of reward.

Building a successful business has been a very rewarding experience. It is a great feeling to have made something worthwhile out of your own efforts. I want to share the knowledge I have gained through the process of being an entrepreneur. I, Rafferty Pendery, am going to be offering a coaching and mentorship program, to lend my experience and expertise to your specific situation, and maximize your potential.