Ten Reasons To Start A Business — Even If You’re Happily Employed


Nobody in their right mind would tell a young person starting out in their career today “Just get in with a good company, and you’ll be set for the rest of your career.” Things haven’t worked that way for ages.

Nowadays you can’t run a career by getting a steady job with a great company and staying there for decades. You’d be putting yourself and your career at great risk if you tried. Staying in one job (or even one organization) for many years used to be a real badge of honor, but today it’s more likely to be a liability.

The longer you stay in one environment, the more slowly your trying-new-things muscles grow relative to other people. The way to be marketable and competent in running your own career these days is to constantly learn new skills in new settings. That’s why we all need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, whether we plan to work for ourselves or not.

What does it mean to develop an entrepreneurial mindset? It means that you follow your own career plan, versus letting your employer decide where your career will go (or leaving it up to chance). It means having your own goals, totally separate from your employer’s goals for you. It means knowing what problems you solve and how much those problems cost organizations who could hire you.

It means looking at your delivery of services to organizations in a broader way. People who can only work a full-time job with benefits have a massive disadvantage in the talent market relative to people who can take work in other forms.

The first and most important step in developing an entrepreneurial mindset is to see yourself as a consultant. You solve certain fairly specific problems for individuals or companies that experience certain kinds of trouble. You have to know a lot about that trouble, and a lot about the solutions! Then you can market yourself as a consultant.

Even if you love your full-time job I hope you will get a business card and take a consulting project or two after hours. If your company has a no-moonlighting policy that prohibits you from consulting on your own time, that’s a good reason to explore the job market right there.

Here are ten reasons to start your own side business, even if you love your full-time job:

1. When you start your own part-time consulting business, you are forced to look at yourself and your professional services from the vantage point of a client. What is the right type of client for you? What is their problem? What do you offer them in terms of a solution to their problem?

2. When you look at yourself as a part-time consultant you will need to think about pricing your services. If you offer an hourly consulting rate, what will that rate be? How will you calculate the likely ROI a client of yours can expert, after investing in your consulting help?

3. When you launch a business you have to think about your brand. Your brand is a powerful thing. It’s not just a few chirpy business words on a little piece of cardboard. When you are compelled to think about your brand the way every new consultant must do, you ask yourself “What do I bring my clients? How do I show up in my work? What does my work mean to me?” These are weighty questions worth contemplating!

4. When you start a business, you learn how to spot pain in your environment. You will see as you get into conversations with people you don’t know well that if you ask questions, people are typically happy to talk about themselves and their business issues. If you are a good listener and ask thoughtful questions, people will also tell you about their pain.

5. When you start your own business your muscles will grow. You will tap strengths and talents in yourself you didn’t know you had, or perhaps had forgotten about. You will use more of your brain and heart launching your consulting business from your dining room than you may use at work in a year’s time. Your flame is growing!

6. When you launch a part-time business you learn to closely watch your time and energy expenditures. Many if not most of us have fallen into our jobs, once or many times. When you fall into your job you wake up thinking about work, grab a quick breakfast, go to work thinking about work, do your job all day, and then go home thinking about work and fall asleep. You’re completely immersed. This state can last for months or even years. It’s not a healthy state. Starting your own business forces you to focus on something besides the work on your desk, your targets and your goals. You become more effective when you’re pushed to manage your time more intentionally. It’s a great skill to cultivate — and a great feeling!

7.  Networking is essential for any consultant and it’s a critical ability for all working people, anyway. When you start your consulting practice you will find your conversations at networking events and one-on-one networking meetings becoming easier as well as meatier. When you have a  full-time job you can easily neglect your network. You think you don’t need to network. The minute you make yourself available to take on consulting projects, you see the power of networking again!

8. When you start your business you will realize the value of your work in a way that’s hard to do as a full-time employee. Your first checks for consulting work will have more weight than your normal paycheck even if the paycheck is much bigger. Now you see that you truly help people on the ground and they will pay for your help. That’s empowering.

9. Starting your business will make you think about your business expenses, and how much you need to spend to grow your business without wasting the profits. At work we are often removed from dollars-and-cents business decisions. That won’t be the case when it’s your business.

10. When you start your own business you will go to bed saying “I’m a CEO.” Maybe you’ll be a CEO and a full-time working person at the same time, but no one can take away the ownership over your business — and your career — that CEO title gives you!