Recent graduates are facing the best job market in recent memory. The unemployment rate is at historic lows and many employers have openings they can’t fill. The average starting salary this year is just over $50,000, according to a Korn Ferry study. Still, this doesn’t mean that all graduates should strive to work their way up the corporate ladder. There’s another option: starting one’s own business.
What entrepreneurship offers
The number one reason traditionally touted for going into business is being your own boss and having control over your life. This sounds great but small business owners like me know it’s a fallacy. Being your own boss may sound nice, but most owners toil long and hard with great uncertainty (you can read about the sacrifices of small business owners. Nonetheless most owners I know wouldn’t abandon being their own boss and go to work for someone else.
For most small business owners, entrepreneurship is a state of mind and a lifestyle preferred over working for someone else. It means taking responsibility for your own life, providing for yourself and your family, keeping promises to your staff that you’ll meet payroll on time and offer them a good future, and helping customers and clients deal with their needs and problems day in and day out (regardless of what’s going on in your life).
Options for would-be entrepreneurs
There are many ways to become your own boss:
- Develop a business concept. If you have a great idea, you can run with it.
- Buy a franchise. Someone I’ve known for a long time, FranchiseKing, can help you find the right match for your talents and money.
- Buy out or into an existing business. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel but simply hook onto an existing one. You may be able to become a co-owner in an existing business or buy one from an owner who’s looking to retire.
I have two additional thoughts on entrepreneurship as a career path.
First, entrepreneurship matters to the U.S. economy. The Center for American Entrepreneurship cites three crucial reasons:
- Improving productivity
- Spurring innovation
- Creating jobs
Second, it’s worth nothing that hiring projections for recent graduates dipped slightly this year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Who knows what the future will bring? Job openings could disappear as unemployment spikes. Being your own boss means no one can fire you.
As Steve Jobs said: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”