The American dream has always been built around innovation, ingenuity, and hard work. These days it seems like more and more people are living the American dream by opening up their own business or franchise in their own special niche. Some of the newest niches include specialty gyms such as Curves which caters only to women and offers a convenient thirty minute work-out for a hectic day, Molly Maids, a franchise cleaning service, and Maui-Wowi, the latest in the recent smoothie boom brought on by the tasty Jamba Juice. Other niche markets include pet services, personal assistants (not just for high-powered execs anymore), and home decorators/interior designers which shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Trading Spaces, and the entire HGTV cable channel have inspired.
Even young adults and teenagers are becoming more entrepruerial. Many of the big money making websites today like You Tube, Google, and Amazon were thought of and designed by young college students. Perhaps the best thing about setting up a website is that it can be a considerably low-cost and DIY kind of business. There is potential for great sucess and great failure as well. There’s no guarantee that your website will become the next Ebay.
While the internet has drastically reduced the start-up costs for owning your own business a majority of people still take the traditional business route with a brick and mortar start-up. The unfortunate thing about running a business outside of your home is that the original investment capital is usually huge. Franchises make the logistics a little bit easier but charge a huge fee for their packaged name and services. Working out everything by yourself can be daunting but also more cost-effective if you think it through thoroughly and make the most of your money. The fact that so much start-up capital is necessary to start your own business is probably why most first-time business owners are middle-aged or older. Young people simply don’t have the work experience or the money to start their own business. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, I’m simply pointing out that most first-time business owners are well into middle age.
The age factor brings up an interesting question. Is it worth it to slave away at a job you hate so you can save enough money to start your own business that you love twenty years down the line? Is twenty years of monotony and torture worth it? Or would you be better off simply following what you love right from the get-go? I have a friend who’s dream is to own a bar and he would be an amazing and excellent bartender and owner. However, he first plans to go to med school and become a doctor for a few years before starting his own bar. Is it worth it to be a doctor for so many years before really doing what he loves to do? Or should he maybe start as a bartender and work his way up to manager and save his money that way? He’ll gain the expertise as well as connections but he might not ever be able to afford his own place as soon as would on a doctor’s salary. Which is the better road? Choosing to delay the dream is what most people do. Most people choose practicality. In fact, most people are discouraged from following their dream. How many parents say to their college student, “You wanna be a painter? That’s great! We can’t wait to see what you do!” Instead most parents encourage and pressure their child to get a more “practical” job… a “real” job. Afterall… bartenders don’t have degrees… why would you ever want to own a bar?
That’s the choice. Follow the dream? Defer the dream? Which in the end pays off the most, in financial terms and in terms of emotional and mental stability and happiness? Leave a comment and tell me what you did and if you’d do anything different.