This feature on reasons to start a business is in collaboration with SunLife
One of the best things I’ve ever done was start my own business. It’s been so freeing being able to choose what I work on, create projects that excite me and have control over my career. Sure, there are a few downsides and sometimes you do miss that monthly pay cheque, but it’s seriously rewarding and something I really do recommend if it’s on your mind.
This month especially I’ve been loving running my own business, so inspired by that I wanted to share my reasons to start a business and how it can help you reach your life and career goals.
1. Gives you confidence
I’ve been on a real confidence journey over the last 5 or so years. Having grown up with bad social anxiety, I used to struggle a lot with my confidence and especially with networking, putting myself out there and saying ‘I can do this!’.
I credit a lot of my confidence to becoming a parent, and also to my marketing career, but a huge shift also came when I said yes to starting my own business and made it a reality.
Being a business owner requires you to be confident. Confident in your ability to deliver quality work, to present pitches or hold discovery calls with clients.
The good news is that I don’t think being confident is a prerequisite for starting a business. You can learn a lot on the way – it’s a journey after all. Committing to your dream and taking action can be hugely motivating and gives you a real sense of confidence in yourself and your ability to walk the walk.
2. Exposes you to new opportunities
There’s a big world out there. Something I realised over the last year or so is that it’s hard to explore it, in any sense, if you’re tied into a 9-5 or long working week.
Having a side hustle is amazing and it’s one of the great reasons to start a business. In fact, it makes those opportunities that arise all the more tempting. Imagine being in a place where you can say yes to more?
There have been so many times in the last few months, since I left my 9-5, that I realised I wouldn’t be able to do if I wasn’t in charge of my schedule. I went on a mid-week press trip to London, with the freedom of not having to ask for time off. The next two weeks are busy with new blog projects, so I’ve been able to slow my prospecting and turn down other work to make sure I stay focused and not overwhelmed.
Running your own business is a lot of work. You still have to do admin, and you’re responsible for everything (unless you start hiring or outsourcing). The early days especially need a lot of time and attention, but you can set your own schedule, decide how many hours you work, and plan your energy and projects around helping you reach a goal – whether that’s in your career, saving for a home renovation project or for your own self development.
3. Helps you save towards your future
Talking of saving, one of the major goals that running your own business helps you get closer to is your financial goals.
If you’re employed you might be on a salary, working 35-40 hour weeks for a set figure each month. It’s hard to find flexibility and you’re stuck trading your hours for money. This is perfectly fine if it works for you, and your financial goals are longer term, but if your dream is to go on your first family holiday abroad this year it makes it harder to ramp up that income generation.
Starting your own business and creating services or packages can help you break that ‘I’m worth ££ an hour’ mindset, allowing you to increase your earning potential or work fewer hours for a similar amount of money.
One of my short term goals is to buy a small, inexpensive car, so I’ve worked out how many projects or pieces of work I’d need to book to fund that. A long-term goal of mine is to eventually buy a house, which would be a great investment, you can use this tool from SunLife to see how much house prices have increased.
4. Allows you to create your own career
One of my best reasons to start a business or become a freelancer is to truly create your own career and plan out your future on your terms.
So often our life or career goals can be at odds with our current positions, with our working week limiting our ability to make our dreams a reality. Running your own business opens up your time, making space for those smaller steps to happen in search of your big goals.
Giving yourself the freedom to choose your own path is so rewarding. It’s not always easy to find a path that works for you as an employee, especially if you’re in a role where your progression is limited or the next ‘step up’ isn’t ideal for you. This can be frustrating if, like me, ‘climbing the ladder’ isn’t for you, but you do want to spend your time doing what you love and achieving satisfaction and success along with it.
The good news is that when you run a business you’re the boss. You get to decide what your goals are and how you reach them, whether it’s to become an expert in your subject and book speaking gigs or to write and publish your own book. How’s that for one of the best reasons to start a business?
They don’t need to be big, grand career goals either. One of my early goals has always been to free up more of my week to spend time with my kids, without limiting my earning potential – something that was incompatible with being employed. Achieving that not only gives me a sense of contentedness, it means I have more hours in the week to spend on defining my offer, improving my client experience and searching for leads and projects.
5. Helps you to define your future goals
Along with helping you achieve your current goals, I find that running a business helps massively with setting your future goals too. Sometimes you don’t know how achievable or difficult a certain goal might be until you’ve taken a few steps towards it.
This has been true for me when I think about my financial goals and confidence especially. I used to be amazed when someone would happily say yes to working with me at my ‘rate’ for a social media project, or get sign off on a blog collaboration. I remember signing a client at a figure close to my usual monthly salary and realising that I didn’t have to ‘stay small’.
Running my business has made me reevaluate my approach and mindset to money, work/life balance and whether my goals are too big or too small. It’s made me more disciplined too and kept me in check when I’ve felt like I’m drifting towards a place of doubt, or in dealing with impostor syndrome. While you can set and achieve career goals in the workplace, for me starting my own business has led to me truly shaping and defining my goals and future around them.
Are you thinking about starting a business?
I hope this post has helped you when planning for your new venture, or discovering some reasons to start a business. If you’d like to see more content about running a business or creating your own goals I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!