By Nellie Akalp
The last bites of Valentine’s chocolate are gone. All the red and pink marketing have disappeared from store shelves. But it’s not too late to give yourself a lasting Valentine’s gift by starting a business. Have you dreamed about running your own business? Carving your own path? Is there a product or service or market that you’re passionate about?
Then maybe it’s time, maybe it’s your time, to love what you do.
Starting a business is ultimately about love… not the romantic love we celebrate each February, but a different kind of love that entrepreneurs feel for their business, their customers, and their lives.
As the CEO of a small company that helps entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground, I have the incredible fortune to work with countless budding and talented business owners. While the markets and motivations differ from entrepreneur to entrepreneur, some form of love is usually at the foundation of each new business.
Here are four things that entrepreneurs love most about starting and running their businesses:
1. Personal Fulfillment:
Yes, running a business is hard work and starting a business from scratch is even harder. But in this case, the adage ‘love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’ holds true. Running a business is the most fulfilling pursuit that most entrepreneurs have ever discovered.
When you own a business, you’re no longer putting in long hours for someone else. You’re working for you. That’s a fundamental shift. You now chart your own course. You make the decisions that affect your future, every single day. Most importantly, you get the feeling of satisfaction that comes from building something from the ground up and taking it to new heights of success.
As an entrepreneur, you’re now working on your own terms. Forget about cubicles, corporate drudgery, or having to follow some arbitrary schedule. You don’t have to ask permission to take a late lunch or pick your child up early from school. When you run your own business, every day is truly your own. That’s not to say your days will be easy and carefree. But you can choose to spend your time in whatever way works best for you and your business.
3. Continued Growth:
In a traditional job, people tend to get pigeon-holed into a specific role or function. It’s far too easy to fall into a rut when you’re performing the same set of tasks and using the same set of skills day in and day out. Boredom will never set in when you own your own business. Out of sheer necessity, entrepreneurs need to wear many hats in the day-to-day operations. Each day will bring a brand new set of challenges and opportunities to acquire new skills. Variety is truly the spice in the entrepreneur’s life.
All too often, people are reluctant to jump into the entrepreneurial waters since starting a business is deemed too risky. However, in today’s economy, running your own business can actually be less dicey than the traditional career path. Instead of worrying about getting a pink slip or losing your job at age 50 and finding yourself unhirable, running a business enables you to develop valuable skills and build equity in your own company over time.
You can create a legacy for the future, and perhaps eventually pass your business down to your children. Or cash out, sell your business, and retire when the time is right. In short, even as an entrepreneur you can still create your own sense of security.
Follow your heart. If you have dreams of starting a business, make 2012 your year. It will be one of the most exhilarating, inspiring, and rewarding journeys you can take. What are you waiting for?
Nellie Akalp is a passionate entrepreneur, small business advocate and mother of four. As CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, Nellie helps small business owners form an LLC or incorporate a business to start their ventures off the right way!