Entrepreneurship. Is it in you?

I saw something on the news today that struck me as a little odd, despite the current state of the economy.  The reporter covering the story remarked that it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have or if you have decades of experience; all types of people are in the unemployment line, and there are no job openings for them.

This revelation wasn’t exactly surprising; I know the jobless rate in Kentucky is 7.6%.  But it did leave me wondering why more of the people with multiple degrees and years of experience don’t start their own businesses.

I realize that it isn’t that simple; I thought business ownership would be easier than it has been, in part because I thought I would be keeping a full-time job until I obtained enough clients on the freelance side to go completely on my own.  As a direct result of the forced change in that thought, I now lack my own start-up funds, and any sensible bank lacks a reason to believe I would be able to repay a loan.

While some may have the same financial problems, others are receiving generous severance packages or early retirement packages that would go a long way towards starting a business.  Their problem, then might lie in any number of things, like age, health concerns, personal issues, etc.  But I believe a big reason so few people start their own business is because of the other things they lost with their job besides the paycheck: a sense of comfort and security, and the luxury of having to be responsible for self only.

It’s difficult to make your own decisions, and everything about your business–its name, logo, services, pricing–is up to you, the owner.  Most of us are used to walking in and having the minutia that we take for granted already taken care of.  Someone else has thought to get a tax ID number, register the business name, order supplies, set up a workspace, determine the target customer, market to that customer, decide the best method for obtaining payment from that customer, and decide how to pay everyone who had some hand in making that customer happy.  Even if you have a sole proprietorship, thinking those things through and making those types of decisions can be tough.  You may price yourself out of your target customer’s range, or make your prices so low that no one takes you seriously or it’s impossible to make a profit.

As with the rest of life, you learn from your mistakes as an entrepreneur.  I just wonder what kind of state our economy would be in right now if more people could consider starting their own business.

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