Great entrepreneurs and business owners agree – it’s definitely a lifestyle, not a job. The risks of owning an enterprise are far outweighed by the fulfilling rewards which come rolling in when it works out. There is tremendous satisfaction seeing a personal brain-child develop towards its full potential.
Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Lebo Gunguluza, Wally and Debbie Fry and George Sombonos – these are famous international and local entrepreneurs who have become household names in recent years. All had unique methods, different inner circles and varying networks of support and opposition. All succeeded, however, in creating something worthy. Is it possible to become part of this seemingly exclusive club?
Ordinary people achieve extraordinary works of innovation and wonder through determination, talent and a pinch of luck. Why should we take an absurd risk to achieve a dream where so many have failed before us? The short answer: because it may be the reason for which you were created.
“There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, What if you fly?” ― Erin Hanson
Here are six benefits of owning a business and taking on an entrepreneurial lifestyle:
First and foremost, entrepreneurs and business owners develop the satisfying ability to be flexible with time and lifestyle. Yes, it requires immense amounts of will power, hard work, commitment and self-motivation to succeed on your own, but it is worth it. Business owners choose how to spend their time, for the most part. In all honesty, flexibility may be the number one reason to start a business.
If the top priorities are family, leisure and work, in that order, a successful entrepreneur may eventually develop this desired schedule. Working for somebody else, with more rigid working hours, however, makes flexibility an impossibility. There is beauty in choosing a lifestyle over a job, tailored to the dreams you are building over a lifetime.
Entrepreneurs carry more weight on their shoulders, because, to use the poker expression, they are “all in.” The benefit of this total commitment is total reward when the profits roll in and success ratings skyrocket. A salary is a stable monthly income, but it is also limited to the contractual obligation between employer and employee, with little to no room for growth.
As business owners, profit share options are unlimited and the earnings potential is highly attractive. As the boss, it is also your choice how profits are distributed, utilised or retained in the business, allowing creative flair and customised business models to flourish along the way. Of course, the opposite may also be true as a business owner’s collateral or debt commitment increases, but failure and mistakes should be viewed only as stepping stones on the path towards financial freedom.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS), our tax authority, is a complicated organisation South Africans fear. Its purpose is to generate enough money to sustain the country’s government and infrastructure, without crippling the economy. Since SARS caters to 50 million individuals and businesses, it is understandable there are loopholes around every corner.
There are a thousand different ways to play the system for those who know how it works. The fact remains, however, that nothing is certain except death and taxes. Tax must be paid, or the penalties of noncompliance will place you in a precarious position with the authorities, if not now then at some unexpected future date.
As an entrepreneur, it is possible to use the taxation requirements to your advantage. Basically, using income before paying taxes places you at a distinct advantage above an individual employee. The employee needs to pay taxes before having access to only the disposable income which remains. Talk to a chartered accountant or tax consultant to customise business tax structure in an agreeable way.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.“ – Tony Gaskins
Security & Retirement value
An entrepreneurial venture is an opportunity to build a legacy. It is also a practical method of building wealth towards a long and fulfilling retirement. If a decent savings and investment strategy is in place, that is.
If the business model is viewed as a long-term project, with well-considered fail safes in place against tricky financial situations, it can ensure financial security, even prosperity, for you and your loved ones. An amazing future rides on great ideas which have been turned into thriving businesses.
Risk versus Reward
Warren Buffett once said of risk, “Don’t test the depth of the river with both feet.” Obviously, the extent of his own successful entrepreneurial pursuits should make us sit up and listen. Intuitively, however, his advice makes perfect sense – risk should be weighed by potential reward (and the potential to crash and burn).
It is well known that higher risk often leads to higher reward, but a balanced approach with a back-door escape route is recommended for business ventures, especially where debt is involved. Ask the right questions when it comes to putting up collateral, committing to partnerships, leveraging an already indebted set of books and following well-meaning advice. If you are going all in, are you truly prepared to lose it all if the ship goes down?
“An entrepreneur is an innovator, a job creator, a game-changer, a business leader, a disruptor, an adventurer.” – Richard Branson
Lastly, business owners have the capacity to help others to share in their success. Jobs are created, skills are transferred and ideas are born. Business owners have the choice to run ethical, environmentally-friendly enterprises which reward hard work and challenge complacency – that’s special!
Lives can be changed when greed is abated. Not everyone has entrepreneurial talent, but then again not every entrepreneur has great business sense either. We need each other and the world needs healthier communities, too.