So, you really want to be in control of your own destiny and run your own business, but the security of a regular salary is difficult to leave behind (whether you love your job or even hate it). You are yearning to do something for yourself, but something inside is holding you back. Perhaps there are too many financial pressures on you at the moment, or the timing just isn’t quite right? So how do you know when it is the right time to take the leap?
You may have clicked on this link, in the hope that we can provide an answer of wisdom based upon years of experience. That we can somehow stop this internal dialogue in your head because there is an obvious answer?
Perhaps you were expecting us to come up with something deep, like “you will feel it inside when the time is right, you will just know”! However, the answer, I am afraid, is a lot simpler.
THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT TIME TO TAKE THE LEAP!
And by default…..
NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME.
Let me explain. The reason why you have this internal urge to work for yourself is because you want to challenge yourself to see whether you can do it. All of the benefits of being self-employed and running your own business are exciting. Words like FLEXIBILITY, VARIETY, CONTROL, FUN, CHALLENGE, ADVENTURE, REWARDING, FULFILLING are flying through your head.
However, words like CASHFLOW, PRESSURE, SALES, UNCERTAINTY, RISK, ISOLATION, FAILURE are also likely to be flashing through your mind. It is these words that create FEAR.
Setting up on your own is scary, because it is way out of your comfort zone. By the same token, it is also exciting and inevitably leads to self-development and learning.
However, for most people, the negative power of fear is much greater than the positive power of excitement. It stops us doing stuff – on a daily basis. Unless we consciously decide we are going to ignore the fear and push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, we never cross that boundary. This is why only a very small percentage of the population ever set up on their own.
Timing is irrelevant. The uncertainty and fear you feel today, will still be there in 2 months, 6 months or 2 years-time. You will never be “certain” you are making the right choice, because you never can be absolutely certain of anything (apart from “Death and Taxes”, as Benjamin Franklin famously said).
Now don’t get me wrong, it is a massive decision and one that you need to make carefully. After all, not everyone is cut out run their own business. What I am saying is, waiting for a lightbulb moment to suddenly flick on, is not going to happen.
Things to bear in mind…..
1. It is always better to set up on your own, when you don’t have to. What I mean by this is that, if you have a good job, you are therefore positively making the change because you want to. If you wait until you are unhappy, or being made redundant, or the company is going through structural changes, you may be doing it as an escape route – so your motivations are completely different.
2. Franchise model prices are only going to go one way. Franchises are a great way to get started much quicker. However, as franchise models develop and are improved and proven, the costs involved are only going to increase. If you look into a model and then dwell on it and come back 18-24 months later, the chances are the price will have increased significantly.
3. Other interested parties may get on board first. Some franchises are specifically territory based, whilst others are not. Either way, you don’t particularly want an increase in local competition. Bear in mind that whilst you may be waiting for that lightbulb moment, two others may have committed within an hour’s radius of where you would like to be based.
4. You cannot make the “wrong decision”. It is not the decision that you make that will be wrong, it will be your performance which determines whether it works out a success. In hindsight, you can blame it upon making the wrong decision, but ultimately your success is completely dependant on what you do – irrespective on whether you join a franchise or do it alone. Don’t let fear of making the wrong decision paralyse you. Also, there is no such thing as failure, merely an “unplanned outcome”. The worst that can happen is that you learn you are not cut out to work for yourself (at least you won’t do that again in the future). My attitude towards this was that I would rather have found out, as opposed to always wondering whether I could have done it.
5. Start-up loans available to take the pressure off. Many people consider the initial costs of setting up and it scares them off. However, there are Government backed schemes where you can borrow £15K and the repayments are spread over the term of the agreement. In essence, this means that you can pay an initial franchise sum without needing to have a pot of savings or redundancy package to tap into. This provides a window within which to build up the business in the first year.
6. Your kids are not going to get any cheaper. Often the term “young family” or “kids” gets mentioned as a reason why the timing isn’t right. Yes, children are a big responsibility and, yes, they can cost a lot of money. However, unless we are talking about kids who are about to start working and paying their own way, they are not going to get any cheaper any time soon. If anything, as they get older, they get more expensive! You also need to balance this off with the fact that you will have complete flexibility in how you work – so you can be there more often for them when they need you (which has a much greater impact)!
So, in summary, give the opportunity to work for yourself some serious thought – but don’t over analyse all of the potential scenarios. There are two scenarios. You will either make it work, or you won’t. If you can live with the fact it is a possibility it might not work, then just do it. At least you will know, and, unlike the majority of the population, you jumped out of your comfort zone and gave it a go!