Is Owning Your Own Business Worth It?

I try to avoid writing too much about being an online entrepreneur. For one, there are plenty of people writing about it who are much better than I am. Even after being at this game for nine years, I still feel like a newbie most the time.

I also try to avoid hyping entrepreneurship too much. It’s incredibly hard work to get established, there are no guarantees of success and you’ll face tons of discouragement. There are many less dramatic professions which nobody hypes, but many people would be happy in.

Those caveats aside, I can be honest: the decision to start my own business was easily the best decision I’ve made in my life. No other decision really even comes close.

I loved building it when it was just an idea, and I love running it now that it is my reality. I’d like to write more, but it would end up sounding like a Hollywood cliché, so I’ll leave it at that.

No, my experience isn’t universal. I was successful; many aren’t. It’s a virtue of the selection bias that I get to tell you I’m happy with my choice, but the disillusioned former entrepreneurs don’t have a soapbox to balance my rhetoric.

I can’t tell you to start a business, or even whether you should. But if you feel the uncontrollable urge to go out and create something in the world, you should at least be serious about that desire. That means being aggressive about learning as much as you can about what makes it possible for some people to succeed at it.

The $100 Startup

My friends Adam Baker and Karol Gajda have put together an amazing package of resources for entrepreneurs, in support of Chris Guillebeau’s new book, The $100 Startup. It’s been a frenzied discussion all over the blogosphere, so you’ve probably already read about it.

The book is included, and it takes an extremely pragmatic approach to running a business. Chris actually went out and selected over 2000 actual lifestyle entrepreneurs to interview about their success. It’s about actual people, not abstract theory.

I’m already biased on this issue, so I decided to affiliate with Chris, Adam and Karol to help promote the package here. If you buy the package through my link and email me the receipt, I’ll forward you a copy of my book—Think Outside the Cubicle, which is aimed at productivity for entrepreneurs.

The offer is time-limited since an unfortunate artifact of the book publishing process is that the lifetime sales of a book depend heavily on its initial promotion. If you want to get the offer you should take advantage of it now, since the discount is incredibly steep for only a short time window.

I can’t tell you what your experience will be. But as I look out from my window onto one of the most beautiful cities in the world, working only on projects of my own desire and having nearly complete freedom, I realize how different my life could have been if I hadn’t taken that chance.

  • paurullan

    Thanks for the comment Scott. I have been deeply thinking about this lately as I have to decide in beginning a Phd or get into the industry.

    Your words greatly resonate in my head, so thank you.

  • Elaine Enlightening

    I am in the process of selling my franchise to embrace being my own boss. So I certainly resonate with your article, Scotty. I am ready to let go of the training wheels now that I have tuned in with my life purpose. It’s great to see you and your friends providing value to budding entrepreneurs.

    I have joined, with my coach/mentor, “The Pajama Party, The Joy of Making Lots of Money Working From Home In Your Pajama’s.”

    It’s nice to back to your blog, it’s so refreshing.

    Thank you, Elaine

  • Amelia

    Hi Scott,
    I am a newbie at owning my own business (5 months in), and I have been assisting my partner who has been running his own business for over 5 years. In response to your blog title, I say yes, owning your own business is worth it, but only if you’re prepared to pour your heart and soul into it. If you’re being kept up at night because you’re so excited about what you have planned for the next day that you want to start it NOW (it’s nearly 5am local time and I’ve been up all night working on my newest project; lucky I can go to bed whenever I choose!), then yes, you have a fair shot at being successful in owning your own business. But entrepreneurial life is not for everyone either. There’s only one way to find out tho!! ;o)
    @paurullan My advice to you about the PhD, is similar to owning your own business. If you can’t stop thinking about your topic, then go for it. If you’re only half interested it’ll be a long and painful experience. I started a PhD and never finished because I never found the right subject matter that kept me interested enough to complete my thesis.

  • Momekh

    To do all the things one can do, one needs time. You’ll not find the time in a 9 to 5. It’s that simple.

    But yeah, I have the Only72 sale too. Most of the stuff is very good. Although I await the hardcover by Chris.

    Glad I found your blog, Scott (via Corbett’s podcast).
    Peace! 🙂

  • dan banov

    After retiring and getting over heart by pass and cancer for a second time, I wanted to get into business just for the fun of it after teacher business for a number of years. I started with 0 savings. My book: Wealth creation is easy-I made a million in 4 years using credit cards.

    The question is do you want someone to make a profit using you as one of their resources or do you want to use other people’s resources for your benefit.

  • Gwen

    Scott, you are so inspirational and I am a subscriber to Chris Guillebeau’s blog and bought the $100 startup which I recommend to anyone.

    Paurullan, you echo my feelings and where I am in life exactly. I too am/maybe/probably/not sure contemplating going on and doing a PhD or just going on with my idea to do my own business/startup. But the way it looks, doing my startup looks more rewarding and fulfilling. I think we are accustomed to thinking the more education you have the more successful you’ll be. And getting back into academia used to be that route. But as times are changing and people are self educating (thanks to the internet)for needed specialty niches for industry, I think the time to be multi-talented and creative is going to be the more valuable asset. Maybe I answered my own conundrum. But my heart/gut instinct is telling me the creative entrepreneur is the safest bet and learning for your own enjoyment or life enrichment would be just for that purpose without trying to seek the comfort of another company’s funds for security for that end.

    Thanks Scott for all you do!

  • Bucky@ FreeWebsiteTips

    Hi Scott! I would like to encourage those thinking of starting a business. I have been “on my own” for over 30 years and I love it! Keep your eyes open for opportunity. Too many get tunnel vision and fail. Be ready to change course if necessary. Life is fresh and exciting! Be encouraged!