Shifting Gears – The Journey from Full Time Employee to Business Owner

Anithya Balachandran | March 14, 2022 | Life

We all know Confucius famously said “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” but how viable is this sentiment? Can you truly love your profession so much that you never feel the weight of it? Many professionals have asked themselves this question over the past few years and as a result we have seen a great wave of change, where people quit their jobs to set up new businesses. Let’s delve into the potential reasons why people decide to shift gears.

The most glaringly obvious and compelling reason is the power in being “your own boss”. The desire to have control over your career is especially the greatest in employees who are stuck in a toxic work environment. People quit their full-time jobs in pursuit of a much more lenient workflow, one where they have the agency to decide how much work they want to put in on a daily basis. However, this idea can be quite misleading. In being “your own boss” you may free yourself from a rigid work structure, however, the amount of responsibilities increases as well, as the future of the business is dependent on you. Whereas, in a corporate environment the fate of the company is not predetermined solely by your work.

Professionals often take the plunge into setting up their own businesses after the bludgeoning epiphany that their full-time job isn’t remotely what they are passionate about. When we are first asked in life what we wish to be when we grow up, most of our answers are (delusionally) ambitious. We often don’t become the rocket scientists, fire truck drivers, supermodels or movie stars that we envisioned ourselves as. However, we reach a point in our careers where we reassess the jobs that may pay our bills but leave us feeling hollow. Once we reach this realisation, the motivation to work dwindles and the desire to turn passion into profession increases. With the ever-growing existence of startup companies, angel investors, preferences given to independent businesses, the switch from a full-time job to starting your own business isn’t as daunting as it would have been two decades ago.

I spoke to Mohit Kumar, Director and Co-founder of 3DWare, a company that manufactures industry grade 3D printers to understand why he quit his job at a leading automotive company to start his own business. “The conventional model of working 9 to 5 didn’t suit me as I am most productive when I work at my own pace. That combined with my skyrocketing interest in the world of 3D printing, it just made sense to start something of my own. But the effort and resilience required in setting up your own business is something that isn’t spoken of enough. When we first started, people were hesitant to commission us to build 3D printers for them since we were new to the industry. It took a lot of time and effort to develop this trust. Our first customer happened by chance. We helped a jeweller fix his European machine and eventually he trusted us enough to commission us to build a 3D printer for him. It was a huge learning experience as we learnt two things in the process of helping him. First, we understood that there was a massive gap in the market as these European 3D printer manufacturers didn’t have a customer support service for clients post the purchase. Secondly, we learnt how to fix what goes wrong with a 3D printer and it helped us to better our models. All the effort was worth it when we made our first sale. The joy of your first sale is incomparable to any other. Also, another important factor of having your own business is that your growth isn’t limited. In a large company you are replaceable and your growth is always dependent on someone else” he said. 3DWare is now into its 8th year of operations and has installed 250 3D printers in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Dubai, Germany and Slovenia.

Now, let’s take a look at an alternative perspective. Whilst many businesses are born out of the need to pursue passion, many come into existence for the sheer necessity of greater financial comfort. One of the financial benefits of working for yourself is that there’s no limitation to how lucrative your venture can be. Your business could grow to be a valuable asset with consistent effort especially if you are able to identify a gap in the market and fill it or, even better, create a new need for your product or service.

There is no doubt that the journey from being an employee to a business owner is a tumultuous one but, more often than not, the roller coaster nature of this journey is worth it as you are able to create something that is truly yours. The job designations that were once coveted now appear lacklustre in comparison to building something from scratch. When you merge the growing feeling of working for an initiative that has arisen from your passion and the general public’s increasing awareness of supporting independent businesses, the shift could almost be deemed inevitable.

Words by Anithya Balachandran

Photograph by Michael Cavén

One thought on “Shifting Gears – The Journey from Full Time Employee to Business Owner

  1. This articles describes the thought process behind becoming an entrepreneur. There is one very important element one should consider is the success benchmark which varies from person to person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like