Being in business for yourself comes with plenty of perks as well as challenges. As someone who has helped support her husband in his own small business for over two decades and is now embarking on her own small business venture, I would like to share some of the pros and cons that we’ve experienced.

Construction was a natural choice for my husband because of his experience and inherent talent and vision for layout and design. He is a fabulous finish carpenter as well. Not one for the cubicle or corporate lifestyle, the decision to work for himself in the construction industry came with little to no question. So began Olson Construction, LLC. Home remodel, his emphasis for about ten years, presented challenges that differ from those of the more commercial work that is his bread and butter these days. For instance, finding clients was completely up to him during his home remodeling days whereas being a vendor for various companies in the commercial construction field, the work comes to him.

Regardless of the industry, some of the pros include:

• The ability to make a larger income rather than having a cap on income when working for someone else.
• The many tax benefits and write-offs of having our own business, especially since we run it out of our home.
• The availability to spend time with family (one of my husband’s biggest takeaways – he was present during kids growing up years.).
• Freedom to travel when we want.
• The pleasure of working alongside his sons (our oldest son used to work with him while our middle son works with him currently).
• The freedom to work in an industry he enjoys.
• No threat of being laid off or downsized (though still subject to economic highs and lows).

But small business ownership isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.  Some of the stresses and challenges we experienced include the following:

• The need for capital to run your own business.
• The irregular income. (The lack of a steady income made budgeting and paying the bills very challenging at times, especially before the business was established).
• The stress of being solely responsible for originating your income (as opposed to having regular employment at a “job”).
• The challenge of balancing business responsibilities with the duties of household and family while home schooling, nonetheless! (As the bookkeeper/administrator, I found achieving that balance stressful. There were many days I felt spread too thin).
• The burden and responsibility of paying our independent and subcontractors (and when they’re your sons, it’s even more stressful).
• The risk of not getting paid by those who hire us. Depending on the industry you’re in, there are ways to get paid up front. The construction industry isn’t generally set up that way. (Sadly, we did experience non-payment on a rather large job. Though we didn’t ever get paid, we had the challenge of still providing payment to our independent and subcontractors. We lost our shirt on that one).

Of course, the types of small business pros and cons and their magnitude depend on the structure of your small business and the industry you’re in. As I launch my own Virtual Assistant and Content Marketing business, my pros and cons lists will look different from the ones above.  Small business ownership requires creativity, grit, drive, and determination. It can provide you with the opportunity to create a sustainable income while doing something you love and having the freedom to live life on your terms. Just remember to inform yourself about the challenges you may face so you aren’t surprised or don’t grow discouraged.

Author:  Dana Olson | Mother, Business Owner, Grandmother and Blog Writer


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