126: Can you find stability as an entrepreneur?

Leadership

Welcome friends to Episode #126 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. If you’ve been thinking about starting a side hustle or becoming an entrepreneur, one of the first questions that come to mind is, “Can I find stability as an entrepreneur?” We often worry about the risk of unpredictable income or the additional responsibilities required to own a business and we put the thought of doing our own thing for work on the back burner. Today, I’ll share with you why the answer to that question is yes.

I never thought I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I actually actively thought to myself when I was young that I never wanted to run my own business because I didn’t want to have that kind of responsibility. It just seemed to be too much. Why do it if other people will do it for you? You get to just do what you are hired to do and that’s it. Doesn’t that seem so much better than taking so much risk?

The reason why I ended up starting my own coaching business was because I didn’t find the opportunity to coach in my corporate work. There just wasn’t a coaching role. Also, since I would also be coaching on spirituality as well as business and work, doing it on my own would allow me to be more spiritual without creating any weirdness with others in a corporate setting.

Essentially, I wanted to do something my way and I didn’t see it available to me as an employee. I became the coach I wanted to have by my side on my own journey of going through the corporate world and then wanting to bridge the gap between meaning and success. I wanted to be inspired, solve the problems I wanted to solve in the world AND make money.

Entrepreneurship was a “how”. It wasn’t the goal. If you’re looking for entrepreneurship to be your goal, it might not be the best goal for you unless you truly desire to do all aspects of a business. If you’re looking at entrepreneurship as a means to an end – for example, doing the thing you want to do on your own terms – then you’ll likely be able to summon enough will and discipline to get through the things that you don’t love as much so that you can have the result you desire.

Either way, notice if you’re not seeing the forest for the trees here. If you’re looking for stability in entrepreneurship, you likely don’t love entrepreneurship for entrepreneurship-sake. That is ok. Usually, those who do love to start their own business are more likely to enjoy the highs and lows of the business. They might actually be bored if there wasn’t the feast or famine nature of the business. This doesn’t mean that it stays that way – it means that they are willing to tolerate it.

Separately, if you’re seeing you want to start a business because you know that it will give you what you most desire like a business doing the work you want to do in the world, but you feel like you wish it came with a steady 9-5 paycheck, this episode is dedicated to you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately as the topic of safety outside of material things and finding safety within has been much more on my client’s minds. While it is amazing for them to have income as an employee they also feel they want to explore the option at some point of entrepreneurship. 

Cutting out the safety net you thought was in being an employee means that you have to rely on safety coming from elsewhere. It’s not just employees who think this way. Entrepreneurs who have already started their businesses also struggle with safety. It’s not because they aren’t safe, but because there has been a philosophy embedded in our culture that corporate jobs are safe and that entrepreneurship is not.

Yet, all corporations and bigger businesses started off as small businesses with entrepreneurs. They might be at a different level of maturity where they’ve created systems and structures that support more stability, but it wasn’t inherently there when they came to be in the world. As they came to be bigger, they had to hire more people. If the business tanks, these people will be laid off. The reason we’ve associated safety with bigger companies is because of size, bigger things have bigger cushions, right? 

Usually big corporations will try to have income buffers through cash reserves in their business that allow them to be more flexible when there are downs in the business. They don’t want to lay off their people because the economy and business are often faced with cycles. Lots of demand and then less. Bull and then bear markets. Inflation and recession. You want to be prepared for when you need the people to be able to secure the demand and pay for employees while building cash reserves.

You can do the same thing as an entrepreneur. See the need to have cash in the business or access to capital to help float the months where there is little growth or higher expenses. You also need to be able to do whatever you need to do to keep the business going and to pay the bills. It’s really no different. Safety then, isn’t created by the job. It’s created by you.

Even if you had an employee job, you think about your safety net in terms of your own personal finances in case you don’t have a job. You increase how much you have in savings to account for the ups/downs and unexpected/expected job changes like layoffs. You can reduce overspending so that you can weather the storms. You can invest in things that have a higher return on your investment. You also need faith. Faith so that if you continue to show up, add value and be in the places where people need you, then your time and effort will come back in terms of resources like money or the right people who can help you.

The same thing happened to you when you didn’t have a job in college or graduate school and you were recruiting. Always not knowing until you knew exactly how it would pan out. Trusting that something will come through. Doing whatever you know to do to make money in the meantime and be valuable in how you help. Giving up on finding a job or creating money wasn’t an option.  Safety is knowing you won’t give up. That you can rely on yourself. If you keep trying to protect yourself from danger or risk, this will be something you do no matter where you go and what job you do or business you start. 

Here are some ways to create safety as an entrepreneur:

  1. Diversify your revenue streams
  2. Keep a cash reserve
  3. Increase your value by investing in yourself
  4. Adjusting your spend/expenses
  5. Recession-proofing your business (professional growth, differentiating yourself)
  6. Planning for slow or no growth mentally
  7. Creating access to capital
  8. Keep evaluating your progress to continue what’s working and adjust what’s not working

In summary, these are things that you will want to create for yourself no matter if you are employed by a company, self-employed or looking for employment. This is how you become resourceful, which means knowing how to find more resources. Notice there was not a specific number that creates safety for you here. Many people think, “When I have xyz number in the bank, I will feel safe” but what happens is that the goalpost keeps moving across the cognitive horizon. As an entrepreneur, you will expect moving goalposts in terms of numbers but safety is your ability to know that you’re playing a game and to not lose yourself in what was meant to be a method for helping you grow and do the work you’ve wanted to do in the world.

If you’re ready, I invite you to join me for Spiritual Achievement coaching. Figuring out what’s next just got easier when you have a roadmap and tools to help you dig deeper into your own journey of self discovery. Find out your blind spots and what your gifts are – get coached to a deeper level than you ever thought possible. This is what’s waiting for you. Reach out at www.mayempson.com/contact, today.

That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.

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