Things are changing fast. Many of us find ourselves struggling to achieve half the things our parents achieved at our age… or similar. The talk about financial prosperity has become that much more important to younger people.
I strongly believe that owning a business is important in helping us meet our long term financial goals. If you haven’t thought about owning a business or having a side-hustle, this post aims to show why you need to seriously consider it.
But why am I talking about business all of the sudden? Chalene Johnson, author of PUSH, once said in her podcast – Self/Personal development eventually leads to business development.
This has been true for me. My whole journey revolves around my aim to make my business ventures succeed. The blog articles are based on my experiences and discoveries around this pursuit. So nothing fundamentally has changed about my writing.
However, I thought I would share with you some of the important reasons that got me to think seriously about pursuing business several years ago.
1. Substance is more valuable than certification
Degrees and certifications don’t hold as much value as they once did. A large number of graduates with degrees or higher, find it difficult to secure jobs today. Obviously leading to the conclusion that it is not just the degree/certification that is responsible for the few that end up actually getting employed.
But instead of waiting on chance, the right connections or just plain waiting… we (the employed and unemployed) have the option to pursue business.
We look for jobs because we need to make a living… or money… alongside other reasons. Obviously it is also possible to make money on your own with a sound business. But as a person who transitioned from the employment world to starting my own business… I had to always keep this one truth in mind:
The world does not reward you for what you know but that which you do with what you know.
Ask yourself questions such as “what challenges do I and some of my friends face daily? What do the people around where I live find difficult? What service or product would solve these challenges… while saving me and my friends some money?”.
These types of questions will often get your mind working on seeing opportunities that you once thought never existed. They are the engines that start a lot of businesses on the path to success.
Best part about it, you need no degree to solve such issues.
2. Job security is a myth
When a SEASONED employee is asked what is the scariest thing about being a business owner. You sometimes get the response: “Failing. What if the business doesn’t work out? What then?”
When a SEASONED entrepreneur is asked what is the scariest thing about being an employee. You often get the response: “Having only one source of income. I have 100 clients. Each client is a source of income. I’m working on retaining more. If I get dropped by a client, I just have to find out what I did wrong and work on getting 3 more.”
We do not have control over our stay at someone else’s business unless we own significant stake in it. I used to believe that there was a universal formula for “securing” a position at someone else’s business. But there really isn’t.
Situations could arise that are out of your control that result in the business shutting down or you being let go. And because you were not the owner, you could do nothing before or after that situation played out.
With a business or a side-hustle, you are in complete control of your business’ (and your own financial) future. If you make a mistake… it’s on you. If you win… it’s on you.
The obvious goal is to make sure that you never stop trying to figure out how to keep winning.
Not all of us have a detailed plan of our future. If I asked you when you planned to retire and how much money do you predict you will have by then… I have a feeling that this will be hard to answer.
But for argument’s sake, if you took how much you made today per year, and multiply it by the number of years till you retire, how much would that be?
Now, take into account your yearly consumption habits (multiplied by the years to retirement) and subtract that from the amount you calculated previously.
Whatever you have left is still not realistic.
We need to include inflation. The price of goods and services will go up.
Do you have or plan to have children? We need to include their education and up-bringing.
That means your yearly consumption will inevitably go up.
At some point, the decision to increase your income will have to come up. Because with a growing family, needs grow.
Do you have a home to call your own? Or do you plan to rent all the way to retirement?
Factor all that in and anything you think you will need or own.
And whatever amount you end up with, is your rough final figure at retirement.
It is time to figure out how much of that retirement you will be consuming yearly for the rest of your life.
How many years can you live comfortably on retirement while still keeping inflation in account?
Hopefully, for the rest of your life. Give or take 20 years?
If it’s significantly lower that. Then you might be forced out of retirement.
Unless you are a great stock trader and have been investing for a long time or… own a business… things will get pretty tough financially without a well thought out plan for your entire life.
4. The most important gifts you can leave your children
You know the troubles of finding a good job despite being qualified. What are you doing to ensure that your children survive a time when this same challenge faces them?
Unless the quality of education goes up significantly… unless the rate of growth of institutions goes up significantly…. Unless the number of businesses providing jobs goes up significantly… our children, who are a part of the ever growing population, will be faced with a problem a lot worse than what we had to go through.
But what if you had a business that you took over 15 years to slowly grow?
Could you not pass down that knowledge of what-to-do and what-not-to-do to your children while they are still young? Could you not teach them earlier on financial literacy and independence? Wouldn’t you be in the best position to encourage them to do business because you will be able to catch serious mistakes before they happened?
What about you as a child?
Wouldn’t you have loved to know about business and entrepreneurship…. say before college? Do you think you would have ended up in a much different place than you are in today if you had knowledge of how a business actually worked from watching your parents run one?
We can’t go wrong in arming our children with the knowledge to make money at an early age. It can even be argued that showing financial discipline at an early age can save them from running into debt related issues later in life. But that’s just one example.
5. Today… the odds are in your favor
Despite me sharing what may seem like scary scenarios if you are completely new to this topic, I just want to remind you that despite how hard things may look in business…. We have access to knowing how to succeed at it.
It would take people a fortune to learn, establish and grow a successful business in the past. But today, we need not enroll into college to learn about business. We can actually learn business from where you are supposed to learn about business:
From the business owners themselves… on YouTube, blogs…
We don’t even need serious capital to establish a store front. You can open a business page on Facebook… have a website…
Do we need extra-ordinary marketing budgets to spread awareness for our business? No. All we need is to pay attention to what people are tweeting about and answer back. All we need to do is create a YouTube video describing just how easy it is to use our products/services. All we need to do is be available on WhatsApp to answer any questions anyone might have about our business/side-hustle.
We live in the best time of our lives to start businesses/side-hustles because the internet is still very young and not everyone has discovered it’s true power with respect to business. All we need to do to learn or know about anything that could help our business grow is … Google.
At an extra-ordinarily low cost.
But of course… something about it being low/cheap/free… doesn’t attract most people to it. But that’s because those people aren’t thinking like business people. At least not yet. Do you have any idea how businesses try to minimize costs of operation?
Anyway, just think about this for a bit. This point is the most significant of them all.
Whether you have been thinking of starting a business or already have something on the side, this was just to rekindle your desire to make it grow. We are at a time when things are moving way too fast for some us to make sense of where exactly we will end up in the near or distant future.
It is important to have a solid plan for the rest of your life. I also feel that you need to make sure that you get involved in business a lot more. Because then you will have access to freedom and opportunities denied to many.
But I would like to say that you should think about a business as a long term investment. People give up on business after just the first couple of years because they expected to be owning jets and traveling the world by then.
Some go through that. Actually few go through that. The rest have to be patient but ACTIVELY build on their business every day.
Businesses and side-hustles do not grow on their own. They require maintenance. They require you to actively feed them. They require you to take them from level to level over time. A business is a reflection of the care given to it by its owner.
There will be ups and downs but it is your job to navigate it through the obstacles that it is sure to encounter.
Lastly, it might seem like I’m suggesting that you go out on your own, but you don’t need to necessarily tackle this entirely by yourself. However if you do chose to team up with people, just make sure that you and they have significant action to contribute towards establishing what you plan out.
It is important that you surround yourself with practitioners in the world of business. Theorists should come at a much later stage. Action brings results early. Results that tell you what you need to improve on.
To aid you, seek the council of those that have gone before you. I say this a thousand times, but someone somewhere out there has written a book, blog post, published a video, podcast or social media posts about what you are trying to find the answers to.
You can follow them and interact with them online today because of the internet. If you take these types of associations seriously, you will naturally be influenced to think like how they think. They say that you are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.
I hope I’m becoming like the people I intentionally follow who I look up to :).
Anyway, this has been a slight detour from what we normally talk about but I felt I needed to share this. Any student of business success knows that I have barely scratched the surface. There are tones of business books out with more concrete action points on how you can begin building a side hustle that you can comfortably retire to one day.
Hope it made sense to you :)