Security is a very tricky word, one we often associate with “safety”, and yet are willing to sacrifice our freedom, power and happiness for. How many times, I have sat across talented, hardworking, capable individuals desperately wanting to leave that stable job to finally start up their own venture, and they are terrified. Understandable by all means, and I have certainly been their myself.
But the one question that always comes up is “how am I going to leave a steady paycheck for this insecure situation of having to find my own clients and what if they don’t come?” Then there are the worries over how I will support my family, keep a roof over my head, and not miserably fail in front of the world. Good question and an important one to consider and strategize over.
But here’s the thing: while there is no question that a steady paycheck is comforting, a stable job is not necessarily more secure than being an entrepreneur. Why?
You don’t control the security in your stable job as much as you think.
Working in a good company, being a high performer, and having a great relationship with your coworkers will certainly help you keep a job. But it does not protect you from the many other things that can lead to losing it like an economic crisis, a bad boss, downsizing due to any number of problems with the company as a whole, or troublesome politics and team dynamics.
You are not the boss and will never be privy to all the critical information that affects your job security, which means your security is limited. There is information flowing and decisions being made over your head that you will never know, but will impact your position and your satisfaction and effectiveness within it. Not to mention that if you are actually not happy in your current job, which is the case for many, the damage that does to you on a daily basis and your loved ones, and the constant anxiety and stress it creates, is the ultimate loss of security. The problem is that for many, these are “familiar insecurities” they continue to deal with creating a false sense of security. Because after all, there is that regular paycheck.
On the other hand, being an entrepreneur is not nearly as insecure as many think. I’m by no means saying that anyone should or could be an entrepreneur, no more than anyone of us should be a doctor. But well-equipped entrepreneurs who are ready to do what needs to get done, despite the ups and downs, have actually more security than anyone else.
Why? Because they actually have the freedom and power to control many more of the factors that determine their job security. No, they cannot control an economic crisis or other such global situations. Neither can they fully control their clients and employees. But they can make choices that only those at the top of a business can make, and that are key to ensuring whether the business fails or succeeds.
Here’s how successful entrepreneurs do it:
1) They have and continuously grow a solid expertise and experience in their field of business.
Whether you are venturing into a new sector or starting up in your own, being a true expert, thought leader, and innovator ensures that you can make intelligent decisions about your business, regardless of what’s happening in the rest of the world. You can anticipate new trends, let go of antiquated ones, and continue to optimize and create quality products and services that deliver excellent results.
2) They have an effective and continuously active commercial engine.
You do not have to be sales genius to capture business. You just have to thoroughly understand your clients, create marketing and sales strategies that are effective for you and in your sector, and put them into action in a disciplined and ongoing manner. This means having the patience and effort to build a solid, trusted network of contacts, clients and collaborators, and take the steps to cultivate those relationships over long periods of time. This also means that you have the power and judgment to let go of those who do not work for you or your business.
3) They are constantly communicating, both within and outside of their business, to make the most of sharing knowledge and learning and developing their own and their team’s leadership.
Many problems, both in life and in work, come from poor or lacking communication. Something isn’t working and we often don’t want to address it for fear of conflict. But if you train yourself as a good listener and can create a practice of open and honest dialogue with your employees, clients and anyone who impacts your business success, you will ensure to have less blind spots and the opportunity to address and resolve issues that might lead to your business failure.
4) They know when to ask for help and invest in the right resources to make good decisions and actions.
However excellent you might be in your chosen profession, there are many more skills and functions necessary to run a successful business. You don’t need to be an expert in all of that, as important as it is to keep improving your business strategy and management abilities. The key is to have the foresight and confidence to find quality experts to help you (HR, legal, marketing, technology, finance, strategy, teambuilding, etc.) to ensure your business continues effectively. Many entrepreneurs are scared to do this thinking they should be able to handle it on their own, and this becomes their undoing.
5) They create time and space to cultivate a critical thinking and strategic mindset and strengthen their psychological and self-leadership skills.
A common mistake with many entrepreneurs is that they just launch into operating without doing the proper due diligence around bigger strategic questions like “what is really important to our customers right now?”, “where can we provide value where our competitors are not?” “how can we test our offerings before we invest heavily in producing them?”. That, and the other necessary practices, tailored to your specific needs, that can help keep you motivated and your head in the game. A business is only as strong as the entrepreneur behind it and that means a lot more than just executing on daily tasks.
6) They keep getting up, working, and changing as needed.
With any kind of crisis or anxiety, the key to relief and resolution is action. That does not mean drastic, thoughtless action, but there is always something you can do to research more, test something out, have a conversation, learn from another, etc., that will help you ensure the proper direction for your business. And intelligent, meaningful action, however small, helps us feel productive, capable, and more secure.
Security is not a situation, it is a discipline. Because all situations are subject to change and dependant upon factors beyond our control. What we can control, is what we choose to do, day after day, to get there.
What has been your experience? Send us your questions and comments.