During the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t only our health that suffered: the economy and job markets were hit hard, especially in the UK and France. During the crisis, many people lost their jobs. Others found that during these times of increased introspection, they realised that they wanted to change their career.
Any of these situations could be the perfect opportunity to start that venture into entrepreneurship that you’ve always dreamed of. However, in these uncertain times you may be wondering, should you start your own business? Or should you play it safe with regular employment? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each option.
Should you start your own business?
Deciding whether you should start your own business as an entrepreneur can be an easy choice for some, but less obvious for others. Below, we’ll review the main advantages and disadvantages of starting your own business so you can consider whether this is the right move for you.
Advantages of running your own business:
- You have the freedom to manage your own time. This is especially important if you have a family or caring responsibilities for others.
- You have a great sense of purpose: you know what you’re working for, and more importantly you directly reap the rewards of your hard work.
- You are empowered to make your own decisions.
- Because you can choose to specialise in something you care about or love, work will always be in line with your interests.
- There are many learning opportunities, as you discover and practice all aspects of running a business, from marketing and sales to accounts and project management.
Disadvantages of running your own business:
- There’s a lot of pressure to succeed.
- You expose yourself to financial risk, especially if your business requires a considerable initial investment.
- Workloads can get out of hand because the work never ends. You’ll need great prioritisation skills to keep your work from taking over your life.
- Responsibility is attractive, but it can also be scary. Every decision you make can directly impact your revenue and the success or failure of your business.
- Fear of failure is all too real. Entrepreneurship is an adventure where you must fail fast and learn to recover. It is through failure that you develop and succeed.
- Running your own business can be lonely. Many entrepreneurs miss working in a team with colleagues, especially when launching a one-person business. This makes it important to build a network of peers and join an entrepreneur community.
Should you pursue a career as an employee?
In the same way, working as an employee for someone else’s business has its own pros and cons. If you’re not sure if being an employee is what you want, take a look at this set-up’s main benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits of being an employee:
- Financial stability: you’ll have a regular paycheck, as well as benefits such as sick leave and advantageous maternity leave.
- Being an employee also comes with emotional stability. Usually, you’ll be able to leave your job at work and focus on your private life once you get home.
- Work time is usually regulated, especially in Europe where there are strict labour laws, so you’ll enjoy a predictable schedule.
- Companies give you a clear development path. Particularly in large organisations, there’s a ladder to climb and the rungs are already clearly laid out for you.
- You’ll have plenty of opportunities to build close connections with your colleagues and enjoy working in a team.
Drawbacks of working for someone else:
- Limited flexibility means you’re bound by time constraints. Work hours and time off is dependent on getting approval from your manager.
- You’ll have less autonomy. Employees are not always empowered to make decisions that make sense to you because you need to follow company strategy.
- Your career path can be hard to develop within big organisations. This may vary greatly as it depends greatly on company culture.
- Relationship management can be draining. Because you don’t choose who you work with, you need to put energy into adapting to others every day.
- A lack of purpose. Unless you work for a company whose mission you deeply care about, many employees struggle to find meaning in their work.
How to make your decision?
When deciding if entrepreneurship is right for you, it is important to think carefully about your work style. A useful exercise for this is to list your skills and what you like about work. List the deal breakers and what you’re not good at: these points will help you clarify your ideal direction. If you’re aiming for entrepreneurship, think about what you can outsource and what you need to handle yourself — does this work for you?
If you’re wondering should you start your own business, it is also important to think carefully about how your professional priorities cross over with your personal needs and priorities. There is no right or wrong, better or worse. Sometimes employment and entrepreneurship will suit the same person differently over time, as their personal needs evolve and change.
At EDHEC, our programmes are designed with both corporate and entrepreneurship in mind. Our professors, coaches, and experts have experience in both areas and can guide you to pursue the career direction that best suits you.
Whether you want to pursue your own venture, advance your corporate career, or leave yourself open to both types of opportunities, our online programmes will have something for you!