Employee or entrepreneur?By Randell Tiongson on December 12th, 2016
Question: Five years ago, I started an online business on Facebook while holding a full-time job. In the last year, my online business grew faster than in previous years, and I dedicated most of my time after work towards the business. I usually sleep way past midnight now. At the same time, my full-time job is stable and pays well.
This is my dilemma: should I be a full-time employee or a full-time entrepreneur? With the demands on my time, health, and overall well-being, I have to choose, sooner than later. Thank you po, sir Randell. —Kris via e-mail
Answer: Hi, Kris! That’s a very good dilemma to have as you’re in a stable place financially. You have the option to choose. While you’re financially stable, I understand where you are coming from. Your passion, maybe, lies in the online business.
But at the same time, you can’t disregard the security and stability full-time employment offers you.
Below is a checklist I made to help you determine whether you should be an employee or an entrepreneur:
Be an employee if:
- You don’t have a safety net, yet you have multiple responsibilities.
If your emergency fund is insufficient, you are still paying down your debts and loans, and you have a family to care for, then employment would be the better option. Entrepreneurship is very risky at the start and you can’t afford that with the responsibilities on your plate.
- You prefer working at a set time instead of being on call 24/7.
If you’re the type who stops thinking about work the moment you close your laptop, then the traditional 9-to-5 suits you better. This allows you to focus on your hobbies and passions after working hours.
- You’re prepared to experience income swings.
If earning six digits one month and then zero the next will give you a heart attack, then employment is the better choice for you. In entrepreneurship, your income will be fluctuating.
- Your workplace offers flexible working opportunities.
Some companies allow you to work from home and will even pay for the furniture for your home office. If your company is like this, then this kind of employment will give you the environment of self-employment with the stability of a full-time job.
- The income from your side business doesn’t exceed your salary.
Unless you have a large safety net, never quit your job if your business doesn’t bring in more money than your full-time job. When computing for this, also take into account how much you’ll pay for insurance costs and taxes which your employer does for you in a full-time job.
Be an entrepreneur if:
- You thrive under pressure.
Unlike a full-time job where you earn according to the number of hours you log in, in a business, you earn according to the amount of work you put in. If you thrive under pressure and are always looking at how you can improve and grow, being an entrepreneur may be your calling.
- You’re a risk-taker.
From getting potential clients to increasing your revenues, entrepreneurship is a very different environment compared to full-time employment where you do the same work and earn a set income every month. If you live the high-risk, high-reward mantra, then entrepreneurship is for you.
- You’re a ‘jack of all trades’ rather than a specialist.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re the marketer, the finance and sales person, the HR officer, and the business development expert all rolled into one. If you love continuous learning and self-development, being an entrepreneur is the right fit for you.
- You can be your own salesperson.
To keep your business alive, this means marketing and selling your business to potential clients. If a room full of strangers excites you, then you have the blood of an entrepreneur who can garner clients and customers with your networking savvy.
- Your revenue continues to grow and you have a loyal customer and/or client base.
If you are in this situation, then you know it’s really time to jump.
At the end of the day, this is one of the key factors. Before you jump ship and become an entrepreneur, make sure that your business is stable and continues to grow. This is your bread and butter, and you’ll need the business to still be alive decades down the road to meet your needs.
Kris, hope these checklists help. This is no easy decision. Both options (employment and entrepreneurship) have their own pros and cons. Both options can bring you success and joy. It all depends on your present condition (current finances, responsibilities, etc.), your risk tolerance, and what your inner self is telling you. I also recommend you pray about this big decision of yours — clarity always comes from the Lord.
God bless you as you determine your path!
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