Corporate America or Entrepreneurship? What’s right for you?

This week my Facebook feed is filled with images from “upfront week” (the week when networks unveil their new programming to the advertising community).

Former colleagues of mine are snapping selfies with celebrities and reconnecting with old friends over steaks and red wine. It’s got me a bit wistful.

It’s also got me thinking about my many years in corporate America vs. my recent couple of years as an entrepreneur & business owner. It won’t come as a surprise to any of you when I say – both have their pros and cons. It’s really what YOU need to feel fulfilled as an individual that informs the right choice for you.

So if you ARE considering a move – either from owning your own business to switching to a more traditional job… or if you have been in Corporate America and are thinking of making the big leap. Or if you are somewhere in between, with a Corporate job and some side hustles… this topic is for you.

In today’s blog I’m going to break down the pros and cons (as I see them) of the traditional corporate path vs. owning your own business.

Ironically, the pros are usually also the cons.

CORPORATE AMERICA

PRO:
You are part of something bigger and you get to work with interesting people.
(and you may even get to go to the SAG Awards or X Games in Aspen with those interesting people!)

CON:
Interesting people means politics, conflict, and ego. And the “something bigger”, might not be fulfilling for you individually.

PRO:
Everything works. Big companies are machines and everyone has their individual role, and if the company has been around for a while, it may even be a very well oiled machine. Process and procedure, while boring, also make life (and your job!) easier.

CON:
Everything works because your company is a machine. That’s a bit grim, if you ask me. Because if your company is a machine, you may end up feeling like a cog in a machine (hopefully a valued cog, but a cog none the less). And jobs and roles can get very “siloed” and disconnected from the larger purpose. Which isn’t very rewarding.

PRO:
You can hide from your kids at the office, and quietly enjoy a cup of coffee.

CON:
You don’t get to see your kids as much as you’d like.

PRO:
Money
You are paid a set amount every two weeks. Probably via direct deposit. You have benefits. You may even have an expense account! It’s so much easier to “spend money to make money” …when it isn’t your money!! When you own your own business, you notice every penny you spend.

CON:
Time
Your time is not your own. In Corporate America, you are probably working more hours than you should, and there’s no way in hell you can sneak out for a yoga class at lunch, even though you’d like to.

OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS

PRO:
Time
I take a 4:30p yoga class because I can. I spend plenty of time with my kid because I can. I’m the boss. And as the boss, I give myself permission to work when I want to work.

CON:
Money
I’m not making as much money as I did in sales. Yet.

PRO:
Everything is on you.
You are the CEO. You get to make all the decisions. There are no politics or red tape to navigate. If you want to do something, or if something feels right to you, you just do it. And when you are successful, the results are all because of your hard work. That feels amazing.

CON:
You are also the janitor. And the salesperson. And the admin. And the accountant. You do everything. Until you are really cranking, and can hire some support staff, it’s all on you. I mean, everything. Down to ordering the muffins for your meeting or designing your business card. Don’t get me started on accounting.

PRO:
Freedom. If you own your own business, you decide how your time, energy, and resources are spent. That feels great.

CON:
Because you work for yourself and everything you do contributes to your own bottom line (not to mention success), you care very much. It’s hard – if not impossible – to “leave it at the office”. So are you really free? It helps if you love what you do, because when you work for yourself, you never truly clock out.

There are many more pros/cons that I could tick off, but these are the biggies, as I see them.

Bottom line:
Life is full of trade-offs. Can we have it all? Probably not. So what do you need more of right now?

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