I left a corporate job to launch my own business so you might believe that I’m a fierce advocate of running your own business over having a job. Obviously I thought it was the right choice for me. However, I don’t think it’s the right choice for everyone. Yes, running your own business might lead to more money, more flexibility, and a chance to fulfill a passion. But an office environment offers camaraderie and resources that shouldn’t be overlooked. So it’s not a given that running your own business is “better” than a traditional job or a better choice for you. So before you quit your job, here are 5 reasons why having a job beats running your own business:
You can focus on doing, not selling
I find a lot of entrepreneurs pick their business based on something they like to do – e.g., the person who likes to teach starts a training business. But to get the business off the ground you need to spend the majority of time on sales and marketing. Many businesses never get traction because the entrepreneur doesn’t sell enough and instead just focuses on doing the work (till it dries up!). When you have a job, you can focus on the doing and let the sales department sell.
You might have more work/ life balance in a traditional job
It’s a myth that running a business means you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Because you are in charge of your business, there is more to do. Because your cash is only what you sell, you are even more beholden to clients than in a traditional job. Yes, in a job, you will get fired eventually if you don’t serve your clients, but there is a buffer there from the structure and other staff the company has built around you. If you’re in a job and need more flexibility or balance, don’t assume that entrepreneurship is the answer. Work on negotiating for flexibility or setting better boundaries.
Sometimes salary is your biggest asset
Yes, the statistics point to entrepreneurs as a group out-earning employees on average. But corporate executives can absolutely out-earn business owners depending on size of company, geography, industry, and other factors. Bankers, for example, do just fine aligned with a firm. Do you really think the average banker at JP Morgan Chase will be better off raising capital to go out on her own? So before you jump on the popular thinking that entrepreneurship is the only path to riches, look at your earning potential as a good old-fashioned employee and make a calculation that is customized to you around the prospects for the business you would build instead.
Water cooler talk is underrated
It’s easy to poke fun at the annoying office colleagues you no longer have to deal with when you leave the corporate culture. But many of us have found good friends or even significant others at the office. I’m really good at keeping in touch, but it’s not the same dynamic to catch up over lunch every once in a while, instead of seeing people day-in and day-out where there’s time to chit chat about last night’s close game or who’s binge-watching what. When you leave a job for a business, you leave behind the bad and the good.
Do you really want to clear paper jams?
As a business owner, in addition to selling being the bigger focus of your work, you also become the paper jam clearer and toner replacer. You are also the social media strategist, PR rep, copywriter, bookkeeper, and much more. There are a range of responsibilities from the mundane to the highly specialized that become part of your world as a business owner, which could be delegated if you just had a job.
I am so tired of people making others feel bad or less qualified when they’re in a job rather than starting a business. Entrepreneurship can be great, but so can having a traditional job and career. I’ve done both and love and respect each for different reasons. Don’t be bullied into thinking one is automatically better than the other. Traditional employment has its perks and advantages over entepreneurship.
A version of this post originally appears in my leadership column for Forbes.com.