Q: What is the biggest perk of owning your own business?
The following answers are provided by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
1. Lifestyle of Choice
Some people value creative freedom above all else. Some value work/life balance. Still others have their eye on the big bucks. For me, success is the ability to be picky about the projects I take on while still making enough money to pay the bills…all on a part-time schedule that leaves time for myself and my family. Entrepreneurship has made that flexibility possible.
– Steph Auteri, Word Nerd Pro
2. In Good Company
In the corporate environment, you often have limited control over who you work with or for, and it can be draining at best. The hands down No. 1 perk of owning my own business is working with only the best people. Surrounding myself with great people impacts my life even beyond working hours — no more dreading Monday mornings or that client call in the afternoon!
– Kelly Azevedo, She's Got Systems
3. Flexibility Is King
The biggest perk of owning my own business is the flexibility. Having two young children, the ability to work non-traditional hours is invaluable. It means I can attend a recital from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and work an extra two hours at night, when most corporate employees are watching American Idol.
– Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
4. Surrounded by Great People
Traveling to conferences and events around the world, and interacting and engaging with really smart, passionate people is a fantastic perk for entrepreneurs who are outgoing and love traveling. Every person that you interact with has an interesting life story, an experience, or a valuable insight — try to find out what it is.
– Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa and 99designs
5. Moving the Office Whenever I Want
When I worked out of a cubicle early in my career, I used to daydream about going down the street to work from a coffee shop, just to change my scenery and stimulate my creativity. Now, I can work anywhere with reliable Wi-Fi.
- Allie Siarto, Loudpixel
6. A Chance to Shape Society
Owning my business gives me a concrete way to change the things I don't agree with in society. Corporations have a responsibility to the people who help build them. I pay the entire health insurance premium for my employees, let those traveling spend an extra day in the cities they visit so they can see the world, and make sure that I manage the workload correctly so they all go home on time.
– Vanessa Nornberg, Metal Mafia
7. Complete Creative Rights!
For me, a big value in owning my own business is all the work put into is mine :the designs, website, packaging — everything you see, I had my fingers on and thought of. Coming from and still being part of the creative design world, it's sometimes a frustration when asked to "make the red more red" in a design. Owning is sort of a therapy session.
– Jerry Piscitelli, Portopong LLC
8. Freedom of Thought
I cannot play an instrument, sing, or dance well. I use entrepreneurship as my art of self-expression. It allows me to be creative and challenge myself to create something of value that the rest of the world will love.
– Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers
9. Immeasurable Personal Growth
A mentor of mine, Dan Cohen, recently described the personal growth changes in other young entrepreneurs he's known as "growing in dog years." It's a true statement, and I can say my ventures have forced me to grow and adapt incredibly fast to a variety of challenges and situations.
– Matthew Ackerson, PetoVera
10. Red Sox Games!
The biggest perk is that I can go to as many day sporting events without getting approval from a boss. I can also get up as late as I want and work until 4 a.m., with nobody to complain about my "weird" hours.
– Patrick Curtis, WallStreetOasis.com
11. What a Ride!
I always say that running a startup is like a roller coaster. The highs are really high, and the lows are really low, and it all comes down to you. I love that. Not everyone does, but I do.
– Lauren Friese, TalentEgg Inc.
12. Existential Joy
When you are running a startup, you learn a lot of skills quickly and feel challenged every day. At a regular job, it's easy to get bored or just get by with little effort. Not so at a startup. The biggest perk I feel about owning my business is the feeling that I am living to my potential. When you live to your potential, you feel an existential joy in your life that is so satisfying.
– Eric Bahn, Beat The GMAT
13. I'm Building It for Me
Working for someone else means that everything you do goes to make their company better and more sustainable. You may be improving your odds of having a job in a few years, but you aren't really building a future. But every hour I sink into my business goes toward creating something for me. That means I'm better able to take care of myself and my family and to live the life I want to.
– Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
14. Passport, Please!
I sometimes take for granted the fact that if I want to leave on a trip, I don't have to ask anyone's permission. I remember back to the times when I worked for someone else, and I would have to fill out forms and ask permission, and then await approval from upper management. I felt trapped, suffocated and limited. Now, I don't have to ask for any permission. I just book it and go.
– Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr
15. Freedom of Time
While I work harder than most people I know in traditional jobs, I have way more flexibility and freedom than they do. If I want to take an afternoon off to go golf, I can. Or if I want to take my business with me and work from Thailand, I can do that too. Owning my own business has ensured I don't have to sacrifice lifestyle for a paycheck.
– Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC