- by Don
This is part 3 of 6 in a 6 post series addressing the 5 horrible excuses people make to not start a business.
Last week, we addressed the fear of failure people face in starting their own businesses. This week, we’ll examine the excuse of job security as a reason to avoid starting a business.
Starting a business isn’t secure enough
When asked why others don’t wish to start a business, I often hear, “I don’t want to start my own business. It’s too risky. I’d rather have the job security of a corporate job.”
But is having a corporate job really all that secure? Or does staying in a corporate job just a way to avoid the risk of failure? After all, what if you start a business and it doesn’t work out? Okay, but what if you start a job, and that doesn’t work out? What if you work your tail off, and the only pay raise you receive is a basic cost of living adjustment and no changes to your benefit plan?
The reality is that in today’s market, there is no validity to the concept of “job security.” A corporate job may feel less risky because all you have to do is show up, do your job, put in your hours, and receive a regular paycheck.
And that’s all well and good… until circumstances change. Sometimes, events occur that are beyond our control. So today, let’s take a look at some of the things that may make a corporate job less secure than it may seem on the surface.
When we think about the risks in a corporate job, layoffs are probably the first thing that comes to mind. The market takes a plunge, the organization loses a major contract, the company is acquired by a larger organization… and suddenly company management is using words such as “downsizing” or “right sizing.” However it’s named, it results in layoffs. Which means people lose their jobs, and suddenly having a job isn’t as secure as you’d originally thought.
When I was laid off in what I call “The great telecom bust of 2002” there were many factors beyond my control that resulted in the loss of my job. The market was in freefall, and contracts either weren’t being awarded or were being canceled.
As a result, entire divisions of the company were shut down and the employees were let go. Over 100 people were laid off on the same day I was—and that was just one day! There were other similar sized layoffs in the months before and after I was let go.
And when it came time to decide who stayed and who was let go, the key factors were what division you worked in, how long you had been with the company, and how long you had been in your group. Job performance didn’t matter. One of our best engineers was laid off a few months before the rest of our group was shut down.
Sometimes, in addition to layoffs, or perhaps in order to avoid layoffs, a company will relocate or consolidate different locations into a single location. You’re then presented with a choice: Disrupt your family and move (perhaps to someplace you don’t really want to go), or lose your job.
In many corporate jobs these days, most salary increases are tied to cost of living increases. So while it may look like you get a small raise each year, in actuality, you’re just “holding steady” as your wages and the cost of living increase by the same amount. Unless the company is not doing well financially, in which case your wage increase may actually be less than the cost of living, and your disposable income may actually be decreasing!
Lack of Promotions
The “cure” for stagnant wages is receiving a promotion. With a promotion comes increased responsibility and increased pay, although in many instances I’ve seen the “promotion” result in increased responsibility, but without a significant pay increase. In most companies, you eventually reach a point where it becomes more difficult to be promoted. After all, there is a limit to how many Vice Presidents, Directors, Managers, or even Principal Engineers a company needs.
Change in Environment
Sometimes you get lucky and have your “dream job:” You love what you’re doing, you love the people you work with, and you love the people you work for. All too often, though, I’ve seen that change in an instant. Your boss leaves or retires and is replaced by someone who is difficult to work for. You get a new member of the group, and he is disruptive and makes things miserable for everybody. Or the company reorganizes, and you get moved to a different group. Overnight, your dream job can turn into “the job from hell.”
What’s the Alternative?
Let’s contrast the above scenarios with owning your own company.
Granted, those same market factors that cause corporate layoffs can have the same negative impacts on your company: the economy may sour, and people may quit spending money; you may lose one or more contracts; you may end up totally misreading the market and release a product that doesn’t sell (although there are ways to minimize this risk – a story for a different day).
There’s a major difference between these two situations, however: when this happens in your company, no one is going to decide whether or not you keep your job. Instead, you have the power to decide how to respond. You can develop new products that your target market finds irresistible in the face of a souring economy. You can learn from your previous failures and develop new products or change how your market them.
So yes, when you own the company, you can make mistakes and encounter failure. But you also have the power to recover. As Christine Kane says, “What the corporate world calls failure, an entrepreneur calls ‘market research!’”
And as for location? Well, you’re in charge, so you decide where you want to work. As a full-time RVer running your company from your RV, you’re not stuck in one location. You’re free to move around and experience more of the beautiful places this country has to offer. Not many corporate jobs offer that perk!
Granted, it’s hard to get promoted when you’re the company owner. But as the company grows, you can hire people to do the work you don’t enjoy or aren’t great at—freeing you up to focus on the high impact work that you enjoy doing.
Finally, when you own your own company, you can decide to only hire employees that fit with you and your company culture. Even more, you can (and should!) establish a Book Yourself Solid® Red Velvet Rope Policy so that you only work with clients who energize you, excite you, and bring out your best work. Making sure you only have great clients is one key to continuing to enjoy your company. That’s why I coach my clients how to do this.
There are parallel differences to employment and self-employment
So which would you prefer? Should your income be based on factors over which you have little to no control? Or would your prefer to have control over your destiny?
And by the way, they don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. If you’re currently in a corporate job, this is a great time to start laying the groundwork for your own business. It can start as a “side hustle” and turn into a full time position in the future.
If you’d like to learn about how you can benefit from the security of owning your own company, give me a call!
Or: If you’d like to learn about you can create a company that fully replaces your corporate income, download the 6-Figure RV Lifestyle Blueprint. In it, I outline the exact steps you need to take to generate an income from virtually anywhere – perfect for those wishing to hop on the RV lifestyle!