To be an entrepreneur or stay in corporate – what’s your personal poison?

Designer at work

Some people have a great idea they want to see through, some could think of nothing worse than going out on their own. Today, the word entrepreneur is the new black and we are talking start-ups all over again. I’ve seen several cycles through my career and worked with my first entrepreneur in my early twenties.

There is nothing more exciting than building something from the outset or growing by yourself. The joy (and isolation) of looking at the board in the mirror every day is both empowering and lonely. While the media is building it as the cool and current thing to do, it doesn’t suit all of us. So how do you know it’s for you?

If you are thinking of going out on your own – congratulations! You have courage and guts – grab the day! But before you do, this may be what the journey looks like.

Life in a Corporate
  • Should be safe so no need to worry about risk
  • Guaranteed pay
  • By working for a known recognised brand, people may know what you do
  • The buck, on the whole stops with you and others
  • You have process, history and a set way of doing things
  • You have a set course of career advancement
  • Secure holiday and sick pay
  • You fit in and toe the company line
  • You should have the technical tools you need to do the job
  • You are surrounded by people who can provide advice
  • You are part of a cog of a substantial wheel.
Life as an entrepreneur
  • It’s anything but safe and risk is something you have to think about
  • Cashflow and money will be become a permanent part of your life and way to live
  • It gives you independence, flexibility, autonomy and hell – you can break the rules
  • The buck stops with you – company mistakes are yours and company successes are yours
  • There is little process and you can and will change your mind
  • You may not get that holiday break and you will work when you are sick
  • You may not be able to afford the best technical tools you need to do the job
  • You will want your team to love it as much as you and join you fully engaged on the train ride
  • You will constantly look for the right people to join you whereas in the corporate world it was never your problem
  • Next to staff, clients will become the most precious thing in your life
  • Your family will start to live your work
  • You need to surround yourself with good people to ensure you get good advice
  • You are a substantial cog in that wheel

Today, the typical entrepreneur is about 40 according to the Kauffman Foundation Study and older in the US where the average age is 55-64.  Evidently, it’s never too late! And just when you have gathered maximum wisdom.

I love my life as an entrepreneur and the fact that I have had my own business and built my own brand. My Father had his own business. My Grandmother and Great Aunt founded a school. It’s a good feeling to be the boss in terms of the decisions I can make about my life and the lives of others. Growing young people and seeing them through to maturity must be one of the greatest honours.  Business ownership is tough, taxing, un-relenting and rewarding.  But I never had to ask permission to watch my children’s school days and can run my daily schedule, on the whole, as I want it.

If you want to run your own business start by talking to those who do it. An eye opener from someone who has made the transition is invaluable.


About the author:

Sharon WilliamsSharon is a pioneer in the Australian marketing and public relations agency industry. She is a CEO, Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor. Under Sharon’s leadership and entrepreneurial flair, Taurus is now recognised as one of Australia’s highest profile agencies, offering unparalleled levels of service to global corporations including Advance, UTS:INSEARCH, Appster, Napoleon Perdis and Clean Up Australia.