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Which is Better: Working a Job vs Owning a Business?

8 min read

For the longest time entrepreneurs and employees have conferred about the benefits of their choice of profession. For decades they have indulged in fruitless debates aiming to establish the supremacy of one over the other and the job vs. business debate has lingered on. We say fruitless because, in all honesty, the whole idea is quite subjective as each side has strong reasons and opinions to follow the path they do. 

For example, an employee may have chosen the safety of a stable job after having a rough experience with entrepreneurship or by seeing the financial plight of someone who had chosen to walk down the path. You can never completely say which school of thought is right as both of them have numerous benefits and disadvantages at the same time. 

The Advantages of Working a Job vs a Business

Aristotle once said that “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”. The advantages that a job might have for you is something we will talk about in a bit, but it’s important to mention that the real advantage is when both sides benefit equally from a collaboration. No doubt money and paychecks are significant but it’s also imperative that you don’t lose yourself in work. Having said all of that lets see why some people might prefer the corporate 9-5 job rather than starting up their own business.

Stability 

Waking up every day at the same time and ensuring that you are at your desk at 9 AM sharp might seem very monotonous and un-adventurous but it still makes a routine. Having a job is ideal for people who live off a 5-year working plan, people who like to have all things planned out and have their life’s blueprints always on display. Most jobs are contract-based and unless you mess up pretty bad or your company goes bankrupt there is little reason to worry about a fall off .

Fixed Income

Be it an investment banker or an editor at a press or even a Managing Director, all these big roles come with a handsome and increasing number of zeros on the paycheck. If you are the person who has your whole month’s finances planned out you would definitely prefer having a job that hands you over the product of all your hard work on the 1st of every month.

Limited Work Hours

No matter how frantic your day might be, 9-5 is still a countable number of hours. You might be expected to work tirelessly but the limited and fixed work hours will not just help you maintain a good work and personal life balance but also give you ample time to explore and do things that you enjoy doing. 

The Disadvantages of Working a Job vs a Business

Alright, time to flip the coin and have a look at the bit darker side of having a job vs a business. Now, the disadvantages are not there to make you doubt and condemn all the reasons you’ve drawn up to convince yourself that it is the thing for you, but being aware of them does help you navigate your career in a more practical way if you know both sides of the story well enough and make a conscious decision about it. 

Individual Recognition is Hard to Achieve

So, you may be the kind of person who ‘works for the cause and not applause’, you may not enjoy being the center of attention all the time, but being recognized and appreciated for your honest efforts is the kind of reinforcement each one of us needs and craves. Corporate offices can often put you in situations where your due appreciation and limelight is stolen from right under your nose. You may pitch in an amazing idea or turn in an incredible report to your immediate supervisor only for him/her to present it to the higher-ups as a work of their own. We know that that’s not always the case and there are a lot of people there with strong morals and work ethics but one has to consider all possibilities. 

Limited Income – Salary ± The Bonus

We spoke about how it’s a good thing to earn a steady income over the years but for someone with a business acumen, the zeroes may seem limited. Why stick to a 5 or 6 digit salary when you can make a lot more by selling off your original ideas and products (i.e. own your own business). 

You May Not Always Enjoy the Work You are Assigned.

It is one thing to be paid good and it’s a whole other to have fun while doing it and learn something out of it. With a job, you don’t have the liberty to do the things that please you. Yes, you might come across assignments and projects that inspire you and make you cherish them while they last but there are others you do just out of obligation and that, unfortunately, does affect the value of your work as well. 

You are Always Replaceable

No matter how hard you work, or what brilliant degree you hold, or how many years you’ve spent in an organization, the sad reality is that nothing would ever guarantee that you are irreplaceable. This is one of the strongest points of the job vs a business argument. There are dozens of brilliant minds out there who are ready to swap places with you. You are valuable only as long as you are bringing in the benefits for the company.

The Advantages of Owning a Business

Ah, the talk of the modern world! No matter what field of study you choose, or what degree you graduate with if there’s one thing that can be made out of it it’s business. I for one have seen Public Health experts trying to wrack their heads every day and come up with some elaborate strategy to make it into a business, imagine the health of the masses and business, but hey it’s not all that bad. Business, by no means, means that you are objectifying things, business is a process where the consumer and the seller both mutually benefit from the product in this case, health.  

You Are Your Own Boss

Now that’s the best part. As stable and non-risky as your job might be it’s not as good as being your own boss. No one has the liberty to tell you ‘you’re fired’. Well, that’s only if you are willing to bust yourself off while trying to kick start your startup.

The Vagabond Life – Travel

Usually, Business dealings involve quite a bit of travelling. Your potential investors might be in another state or you might be planning to spread your wings to other cities or even countries. Crossing borders is usually a thing all businessmen look forward to.

Be a part of all Functions of Business and Not Just One.

Contrary to the job, a business helps you to explore and work in all the different functions of the business. You get to work with your marketing team and brew up some classical strategies to reach out to the target audience while your HR might concurrently need your help with resolving an employee’s conflict or deciding which candidate to pick or which one should receive the bonus.

Flexible Hours and Flexible Income

Another bright prospect of being self-employed is that you get to decide what time you walk and what time you leave. Income is also unpredictable and with a good spirit, you can always hope that your initial investment will be multiplied manifold.  

The Disadvantages of Owning a Business

Yes. The big, shiny world of an entrepreneur has its shortcomings too. Let’s have a look at them together. 

Risky

Starting your own business is not a game for the faint-hearted. In fact, what they say is the bigger the risk, the bigger the chance for reward. Business often requires you to take a leap of faith and cross the self-made borders of caution and practicality. 

Demanding in terms of Time and Energies and Priorities

Yes, you may get to choose your own timings but it often means working way more than an average employee. Remember what the infamous superhero, Spider-Man quoted his uncle saying? “With great power comes great responsibility”, consequently greater responsibilities require more time and energy to be invested.

Pressure of Succeeding

According to US statistics, 22.5% of businesses fail during the first year. Now that’s a huge amount of pressure. You have to constantly be on your toes, both mentally and physically. The pressure often also takes a toll on your personal life, your relationships and even your health 

Job vs Business: Comparing the Two

Both business and job come with their own set of pros and cons but deciding what to do ultimately depends on where your heart really lies. However, it is important to know that there’s always a chance that despite all your efforts you may not succeed. It all really depends on the market. Recession may strike and you may end up losing your job or the demand for your product may diminish or a number of other reasons may cause the international market to crash affecting your business but that’s all part of life. What’s important is that you learn to keep fighting. That’s what makes life and work interesting and worthwhile. 

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Written by Spencer K.

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