Is your earnings potential limited by your company's salary structure? Do you yearn for flexibility in your work life and possess a burning desire to control your own destiny? "Yes," you say? Then now might be the time to switch from HR employee to HR business owner.
Points to Consider
Being a business owner is not for everyone. Chrystine Heier, co-owner of Group Insurance Solutions Inc. in Needham, Massachusetts, recently left her position at a national benefits consulting firm to go after her dream of being a business owner.
Although Heier enjoys the challenge of being a business owner, she recognizes the downside. "Instead of having a single boss to report to, you have several: Your clients and business partners," Heier says. "The distinction between work and your personal life blurs. Your income is not as steady as it was when you were a traditional employee."
Julie Laufer of Boston-based Laufer and Associates recommends having six to 12 months of operating and working capital in the bank and a well-thought out business plan in your desk drawer. Heier advises, "Consider your business plan as an ongoing work in progress. Revisit it and rewrite it on an ongoing basis."
You just can't plan for everything. "Computer viruses occur in spite of firewalls and antivirus software," says Laufer. Her company has stepped up its marketing efforts and increased computer security to meet unexpected challenges.
Martha Livingston, principal of Recruitment & Retention Solutions in Concord, Massachusetts, who enjoys being surrounded by people, did not foresee how isolating life would be when she exchanged the corporate world for the world of a business owner. She makes it a point to network and sets up appointments outside her office. This strategy has helped her overcome some of the loneliness she had been feeling.
Letting go of control is a challenge for new business owners, who tend to want to do everything themselves. "To grow, you must learn how to let go, delegate responsibility and allow your employees to make mistakes," says Heier, who works daily on improving her delegation skills.
Owning your own business can be a roller-coaster ride. But if you're ready for an exhilarating journey, now is the time to give it a try.