Ever since I was young, my father has always instilled to me the wonders of being an entrepreneur. “You need to manage your own business, Bonita,” he said. “No matter how high up the corporate ladder you get, if you are an employee, you still have to answer to your boss. He makes all the money, while you get all the scraps.”
Ironically, I actually ended up climbing up the corporate ladder.
I was fortunately hired by a leading IT company, which led me to switch to a leading investment bank. I didn’t make a lot of demands and had a great relationship with my boss and co-workers. Consequently, by the time I was 28, I was already making upwards of USD 100,000 per year exclusive of bonuses.
All I had to do was show up to work, do what I am good at, mingle with talented and competent colleagues and get paid a lot of money doing what I love. I had 21 days of leave which I can never finish and the respect of my co-workers around the globe.
What’s not to love?
Stupidly, I didn’t know how good my gig was until I quit to get my MBA. To be perfectly honest, I still count leaving my wonderful job at investment banking for my MBA as one of the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.
After my MBA, life moved me to being an entrepreneur. When I married my husband, his family gifted us a small business enterprise, to which we’ve managed to develop and grow with much difficulty.
We started off with 11 stores and doubled it. We had just enough working capital to last us a month and a half, and depended on family loans to keep us afloat.
Being an entrepreneur was not fun. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. In fact, people who do not have the risk tolerance and capital should NOT be an entrepreneur!
And yet, so many people want to be an entrepreneur. The interest of being an entrepreneur is enough that there is a magazine that tots the wonders of being your own boss and getting rich while you’re at it:
This is how much it’s not fun being an entrepreneur is.
On the 15th of every month, I pay the rent. I pay around Php 30,000 to Php 80,000 per month on rent, and this amount goes up at least 10% per year. How anyone can afford rent nowadays is beyond me.
I also pay the office staff and sales staff twice a month. This doesn’t include remitting their benefits which can cost a pretty penny depending on the number of staff you hire. This by the way is fine by me since they worked hard for it and deserved every penny they get. But yeah, settling the payroll still hurts even though you know paying your staff correctly and fairly is right.
Business permits is around Php 10,000 to Php 20,000 per permit. Count the number of stores we have and that’s a pretty big number.
There’s still the income tax, VAT and all other business obligations that you still have to pay. If your business is legit and not under the table, this amount becomes very significant.
Cost of goods are rising due to the weakening peso. Gas prices are going up due to the excise tax and the weakening peso. That means, transportation expenses will climb significantly, but I cannot increase my product prices too much so there’s that.
Competition is getting higher. As the years go on, more and more competitors join the race. Every time a new competitor opens, our sales go down a bit.
What’s worse is that despite all your sacrifices, you will still get staff complaints and customer complaints. Despite all that you do for them in paying them correctly, there are still some staff who won’t be happy and try to sabotage your business operations because they can.
In other words, it’s getting harder to be an entrepreneur. We can’t just quit halfway. We really have to keep on going despite all the challenges knowing that there are a lot of people depending on us for livelihood.
Back when I was in the corporate world, I would earn a lot of money just for being me. Like seriously, my salary being a corporate slave was 10x my current salary, and I earned that money day in and out without fail.
Sure, anyone can easily be fired, but I was then very competent and literally unfire-able. Of all people, I was not afraid of losing my job. My bosses love me.
Now, I am earning less money, deal with a lot more headaches, and have to constantly worry about my business.
Money wise, it’s definitely not equal. While my business earns more money as a whole, I had a lot more payables so only a little is left. Whereas in corporate life, my entire salary is mine to enjoy, the money I get here in business is still not enough to pay for my home’s association dues.
So entrepreneurship is really not for everyone.
Think very carefully before you cross that bridge. Because at the end of the day, you may think that you’re winning, only to find out that maybe, you’re really biting more than you can chew.
I can afford to lose money in business. My mother and my in-laws can still bail me out, and technically, we don’t have a lot of expenses.
However, not everyone can gamble their life savings.
So before you take that leap, think very carefully. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, nor is it for everyone, so do pray hard before making that gamble.
Have a good week ahead!