If you’re seriously looking at self-employment, you’ve likely begun to add up some strong reasons for embracing the change that’s beckoning you.
From the wrong angle, that little crevasse in your way begins to look like the Grand Canyon.
If you want to start a business but can’t seem to make that final decision, try answering these questions:
1. What’s blocking your way?
Usually when we have trouble making a decision, we’re afraid of a particular outcome from making the wrong choice, and, more important, we’re afraid we won’t be able to deal with the consequences. You may have an inner voice that is reinforcing: Stay where you are, it’s safer.
But is it? What will it do to you to stay put? How will you deal with those consequences?
If you have a recurring dream, you probably owe it to yourself and to those close to you to bring that dream to life. Staying status quo is not going to make you happy, or you wouldn’t be looking for change. And in depriving yourself of purposeful work, you are also depriving your community of a business it may need or could use!
2. What’s your greatest fear?
Is it how you feel about security or scarcity; not having the right skills to succeed or just deep down not feeling you deserve to have what you want? Are you afraid your family routine will fall apart? Do you feel it’s too late in life to start learning new skills? Or is it that you don’t trust yourself to commit to this life changing transition?
3. How can you mitigate risk?
Take a moment, right now, to anticipate the worst that could happen—then consider how you would handle it. If it helps, think of this happening to a good friend and list all the ways that she might cope. If you can find solutions for her, then most likely, they’ll work for you too.
4. Are you better off sticking with your job?
Some of us may agonize over the decision to become self-employed, especially if it means leaving a “stable” job, with health benefits and paid holidays. Even if you are restless and bored with the status quo, leaving your comfort zone is never easy.
It is now apparent that there is no longer as much of a gap, in terms of either security or risk, between employment and self-employment. Layoffs and contracting out by larger firms are almost a given. Some of us actually find self-employment less risky because we feel in control; it’s the difference between being a passenger and being in the driver’s seat.
5. Are you looking for change at mid-life?
How are mature women perceived in your industry and your workplace? It may well be that you will have more opportunities for development if you strike out on your own. A business can give you that chance to apply your knowledge and expertise creatively, with authenticity and with pleasing results for yourself.
6. Are you considering retirement?
If you are close to retirement, and feel far too young to think about gearing down, self-employment can help to not only carry you through those later years but also ensure that they are productive and rewarding.
Of course, some businesses will be easier than others to mold around your retirement lifestyle. Over time, you may be able to downsize a service or consulting business, for example, keeping the clients you prefer while enjoying some personal flexibility.
According to Statistics Canada, almost 60% of small business owners in Canada are over age 50, with nearly 12% in the 65+ category.*
7. Can you be comfortable with being uncomfortable?
If you choose to become an entrepreneur, you will find that it will often bring up whatever you need to learn in order to grow and reach the next level. You will have to make peace with this as it is an ongoing process. It helps to think of it as an exciting learning curve and that’s good, isn’t it?
This is an excerpt from the free, downloadable Taking the Leap to Entrepreneurship learning guide from Women’s Enterprise Centre. If you’re considering starting a business, check out our resources for starting a business and get in touch with our client service team who can answer your startup questions.