I’ve thought a lot about risk lately. Being formerly in the corporate world and finding it more and more perilous, I chose the entrepreneurial path and now believe I should have started sooner. Once we reach a certain stage in our careers, what is riskier—staying in corporate America, or starting to build something on our own so we have greater control of our future?
My spouse has a corporate job with benefits, which has allowed us to begin entrepreneurial ventures to help reduce risk in the future. We both know that if you’re not in the C-suite by 50, you’re likely not going to be in middle management at age 60. Thinking ahead for that contingency and investing in passive or semi-passive businesses that can ramp while keeping our day jobs have been a strategy for us.
I am preparing my children for a working world in which they may never have a W-2 job whether it is by their choice or not. If they are in a general field of work, they may be replaced by software or may decide to sell their services via a freelance site like UpWork or Freelancer. We could soon be in a world where only specialized workers get a W-2. I am trying to prepare them for the gig economy while learning it myself and answering the question: Which is riskier? Trying to cling to corporate jobs that last fewer and fewer years as big companies cannot adapt to a faster-changing economy, or investing in yourself as a solopreneur, business owner or franchisee?
What about the risk of staying in a job that is frustrating, time-consuming and stressful, due to the perceived risk reduction of a steady paycheck? Is it worth risking your mental and physical health, or is it less risky to pursue a better lifestyle where you control your schedule and can have more time for family, wellness and life pursuits? More enlightened corporate executives consider making some short-term investments in return for a better daily existence.
Ideally, you build your side hustle while keeping your day job, until the side hustle replaces your current income, then you can scale to build wealth, retirement and college savings. And you can substantially reduce risk in this process through education and due diligence. And like all other things in life it feels less risky as time goes by and you get better at it.
What do you think about risk – is it riskier to start your journey today or defer it until later? I would be pleased to hear your views.
Irving Chung is a Franchise Consultant with FranChoice, the premier national network of franchise consultants. Irving helps candidates explore franchise ownership to determine their criteria and helps them find the “best” franchise. Learn more about Irving at BigConsideration.com.
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