Updated: Nov 28, 2022
This post by Istvan Soos originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question "What advantages are there for starting your own business?"
There's a story described in Napoleon Hill's book "Think and Grow Rich." This story is used in the book to represent one of the main ingredients on your path to achievement — a burning desire to succeed.
The story also tells you how it is to be an entrepreneur. Here it is:
A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy's country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, "You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice—we win—or we perish!" They won.
Being employed is like going to battle but not burning your ships before the battle. You always have something secure, and although maybe you would wish to achieve even more, you just think about your backup.
You still know how much money you will make at the end of the month. Besides some stress at your desk, you don't have to worry what you will eat or do the next day, week, or month. Many times this backup will also break your dreams.
Still, not everyone is built to become an entrepreneur, and it is also not recommended for everyone.
If you open your business, chances are that even if it goes really well, you become the slave of your own business.
It takes a lot of nerves, passion, time, and the way to glory is full of sacrifices:
You don't have a fixed schedule and you will learn on your own just how much your personal motivation affects the success of your business.
You might lose some friends because you just don't find time to see them, or when you finally have some time, you wish to rest (same applies for family).
If things get bigger, you might develop some paranoia regarding the people who surround you and whether their interests are also in your best interest.
You might get to the top and still feel alone.
All these and many more put aside, there are some great advantages to starting your business.
You are the commander of your own battle in the way of self-achievement.
You get to decide each step, learn about calculated risks, and know when and how to take them.
You will newer feel so close to death OR more alive than while being a full-time entrepreneur.
You will learn how to read people, how to invest in them, and how to choose your friends, partners and employees.
You will learn that you cannot satisfy everyone.
You will start analysing everything from a business point of view and leave your feelings aside.
You will be able to give back, to improve, and to grow yourself by growing others.
Just don't forget that you are still on a battlefield. Entrepreneurship and business really are just that: a battle where precision, timing, strategy, critical thinking, team and resource management decide your future. In the end, there are lessons you learn by having a business that no school or job will be ever able to teach you. (You'll also get used to sleeping less than others, which means you're using your time more efficiently than them.)
Conclusion: Owning a business is like going to battle every day without having any way to retreat. If you like adrenaline, uncertainty, and wish to grow something bigger, then try it.