Everyone Isn’t Meant To Be A Business Owner–And It’s 100% Fine

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All you need to succeed as a business owner is passion.

It’s easy to start a new business, all you need is an idea.

Anyone can start or run a business.

Starting a business can solve your money problems.

Here are a number of businesses you can start over a weekend.

Screw the 9 to 5.

Cubicle life is for losers.

These are just some of the false narratives or bad takes out there.

The internet is full of resources, especially for people looking for advice about being a business owner.

Some are good while others…not so much.

There are sites dedicated to broad topics.

There are sites that are dedicated to specific niches.

There are sites that are excellent resources for the experienced as well as the newbie business owner.

But, there are also some that give shoddy advice from people who have no business–no pun intended–giving advice.

Not Everyone Is Meant To Be A Business Owner

What You Never Hear/Read About Being A Business Owner

Exhausted female business owner doing closing work for her café.
Being a business owner is tiresome, requires most of your time/energy, and is not close to as glamorous as you may see on social media or blogs.

So, with all of this information out there, why is it that people looking to start a business still overlook the same basic principle?

It’s likely one of two reasons: people just don’t want to think that it applies to them or the folks that write about business topics assume that it is common knowledge.

What is this thing that seems to be so important that I’m even writing about it?

The answer is simple:

Anyone CAN start a business but not everyone SHOULD!

You would think that everyone knows this already, but it’s really not as widely known, or understood, as you may think.

Why else would such a large percentage of businesses fail within the first five years?

Why else would people lose their homes, families, or entire savings throwing good money after bad to support a failing enterprise?

The qualities possessed by a business owner in any given area are certainly important components of business success, but the truth is:

Some people are meant to be an employee rather than the boss.

Normally, you would think that the problems with running a business come from inexperience, trying to wear too many hats, failing to put the emphasis on the bottom line, forgetting things like legal issues, or not understanding taxes.

But those are normal things that can be resolved with coaching and time.

I see it every day: clients who get glowing reviews from customers on their work, but whose businesses lose money year after year.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a florist, a musician, a graphic designer, a dry cleaner, or any other profession:

Not everyone is meant to run a business.

Having Talent/Love Become A Business Owner

Happy smiling couple grilling in a park thinking about being a business owner as a chef
You can have a love or talent for something, but that doesn’t mean you are ready to become a business owner doing that particular task.

Some of the people have trouble closing sales.

Some have issues collecting outstanding invoices.

Others have trouble balancing their time and other interests.

Some waste money on poor marketing decisions.

Many people just don’t seem to “get it”:

Being good at something is one thing while building a successful business around it is a completely different story.

There is something that successful business owners have that can’t be quantified or even described other than labeling it as the “x-factor”.

It’s something that goes beyond passion, or a specific talent.

It’s a painful reality for the would-be business owner.

In fact, even if you do have success in one business, that doesn’t mean you will be successful in any venture or industry, regardless of how much passion you have.

Check out the next section for more detail on that point.

If you’re  into reality shows, you probably see it all the time and don’t realize it:

  • Restaurant Impossible
  • Bar Rescue
  • Car Lot Rescue
  • Kitchen Nightmares
  • Hotel Impossible
  • Mystery Diners
  • Restaurant Makeover
  • Salon Takeover

These shows all feature businesses that for one reason or another are failing and need rescuing from professionals in the field and they only exist because of this concept that not everyone is meant to be a business owner.

Almost all of the people showcased had a passion for their business but what they didn’t have was a clue about how to actually run the business.

It took an expert to come in and essentially put everything in place, and the owners were merely left to manage going forward.

Hell, even Gordon Ramsay’s biggest pet peeve is the phrase “anyone can own/run a restaurant.”

Being “Successful” In One Business Doesn’t Carry Over

Prime restaurant space for rent for potential business owner
A business owner can find success in landscaping for example but that doesn’t mean they will find that same success in a different space like food service.

In fact, even if you do have success in one business, that doesn’t mean you will be successful in any venture or industry, regardless of how much passion you have.

The world of sports ownership is the perfect example:

  • The Maloof family is wildly successful in the casino and development industries, yet after purchasing the Sacramento Kings failed miserably at running the franchise.
  • Stephen Ross built his fortune in real estate and is currently taking tons of heat for his failings as the owner of the Miami Dolphins.
  • Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder made his money in marketing and communications (he owns Dick Clark Productions) but has had 6 winning seasons and won 2 playoff games in 18 years of owning the team and has had several negative encounters with fans.
  • Donald Sterling, a real estate billionaire and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has the reputation of being the worst owner in sports with his team being the losingest team in professional sports under his ownership.

Some people may try to argue that even the worst sports teams are valued very highly.

They fail to realize the fact that it is the success of the whole that brings up the perceived success (and values) of the individual teams.

And there are more components to the “team valuation” equation such as licensing deals, advertising income, revenue sharing, stadium & cable television ownership & income, etc.

This type of false equivalency isn’t limited to the sports world.

There are plenty of “celebrities” who think their fame and money will translate to success as a business owner in other areas like:

  • Restaurants
  • Clothing lines
  • Gaming companies
  • Tourist Towns

You can read all about these celebrity business failures for more on the specifics.

So, the next time you see someone unthinkingly throw out the idea that a business will solve your financial problems, or that it’s easy to start a business if you have a passion or are skilled in a particular area, take a moment to think about all of the things you were just presented with.

It’s easy to say that starting and running a successful business is easy, but it takes more than simple words to do it.

It’s even more poignant if you want to be able to pay yourself!

Qualities Of A Business Owner

Young Caucasian girl looking in the funhouse mirror seeing herself differently.
It’s important to do an honest assessment of your skills–just because you want to see yourself as a business owner doesn’t mean you should be one.

This is where things get tricky.

Many people like to believe they are something they aren’t.

That includes having what it takes to be a good business owner.

For the record:

  • Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you should be running a business doing it.
  • Passion without direction spells doom for a business owner.
  • An idea without a plan for implementing it doesn’t do anything for a business.
  • Having passion without a skill will get you no place.
  • Being unable to give up control or trust others will get you an ulcer or worse.

So what qualities does it take to be a business owner?

Let’s have a look, starting with the one trait everyone loves to make being a business owner all about…

Passion + Drive/Determination

Having a love for what you do in life is an essential part of being a business owner.

Simply liking what you do is not enough, or else you would have remained an employee and not subjected yourself to the amount of work required to start a business.

You need to have the kind of passion that will enable you to put in the long hours and make the personal sacrifices necessary to get a venture off the ground.

Sometimes, it may seem as though more time is spent working than doing everything else combined.

There are times, especially in the beginning, when it may seem like you are not getting anywhere.

There are times when you will be putting more money into the business than you are bringing in.

Some days you may simply feel that all of your efforts have been for nothing.

Having the drive and determination to keep pushing forward in spite of the bumps along the way is key since those bumps are all but guaranteed.


A successful business owner is one who practices discipline and patience.

They understand that success takes work, and more importantly, time.

Nothing, aside from winning the lottery, happens overnight.

The line from the old baseball movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come” does not apply in the business world.

It takes time to develop a business model and business plan, implement a marketing campaign, and find the right people to work with and employ.

Even in the world of e-commerce, simply putting up a website is not enough.

All of this is of particular importance if you are bootstrapping, or are attempting to avoid taking on debt while growing a business.

Careful planning and budgeting are essential, but without the patience to work through the early stages, success will be difficult to achieve.

Fearlessness/Rebel Attitude

In order to be successful when starting a business, one needs to throw caution to the wind in some instances.

There will always be detractors, people who tell you that your idea cannot be brought to life, or that an idea is nothing more than a pipe dream.

Some people shrink at the first hint of criticism or doubt.

Others embrace it.

They use the negatives as a driving force and set out to prove the detractors wrong.

Being unafraid to fail, taking calculated risks regardless of what others might say, being a visionary and a leader in a given area or field are what these qualities represent.

Nobody ever succeeded by being complacent.

None of the innovations we use in everyday life were developed by those who took the cautious road or stopped at the first sign of doubt or difficulty.

Many of the most successful business owners are the ones who were bucking trends, daring to be innovators and leaders rather than followers, setting precedents, and daring to be different

Self-Awareness/Knowing Limitations

Nobody can do all things at all times, it’s just a fact.

It is especially difficult to do all of the things necessary to get a new venture going if you aren’t knowledgeable on the subject.

There are all kinds of software packages for developing business or marketing plans, LLC formation, etc., but sometimes you just need to know when to call in for reinforcements.

In other words, you need to outsource those tasks!

When it comes to some things like drawing up legal documents or installing computer systems it is best not to leave it to chance that you are doing things properly.

It is one thing to be ambitious and to attempt to do everything on your own, but it is another thing altogether to venture into territory in which you have no background, experience, or knowledge.

A successful business owner is like a great manager: they understand the importance of delegating and outsourcing certain responsibilities and procedures in an effort to not only achieve optimal results but also make the most efficient use of their limited time and resources.

Nothing is worse than wasting time (not to mention the ability to be moving ahead with the business and possibly missing out on income opportunities) trying to complete projects yourself that can be done correctly the very first time and within reasonable costs by qualified professionals.

For example, why waste your time running payroll when you can find a payroll processor that will do it all for you?

Why throw away hours a month that can be used for billable activities doing bookkeeping tasks instead of looking for a tax accountant.

Or spinning your wheels trying to figure out how to file taxes when you can hire a tax preparer?

Or continually looking up coding rather than hiring a website designer?

That is why they do what they do, and you do not.

Obviously, these are not all of the possible traits a successful business owner should possess.

These are just the most important ones.

And, from all of these points, it’s obvious that not everyone is meant to run a business.

The thing you need to remember is there are always negatives to any situation or opportunity.

Even if they’re not glaringly apparent or if no one talks about them much, they still exist.

You need to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and honestly decide if you’re the type of person who is best served by the employee-employer relationship.

A relationship with a clear structure, pay, benefits, etc., or if you can handle the workload and uncertainty of being the business owner.

There is absolutely no shame in being an employee.

I personally know a lot of people who refuse to leave their jobs because they get so much out of it that it would take forever to get back to that point on their own if at all…and it may not even be worth taking the risk.

Wrapping Up

Why am I telling you all of this stuff?

Am I trying to be a wet blanket?

Am I trying to be Mr. Negative?

Am I trying to create “controversy”?

Am I trying to steer you away from becoming a business owner?

No, no, no & no!

I’m telling you this because you need to hear it.

I’m telling you all of this because I’ve heard from so many people who read or heard all of those lines from the opening section.

I’m telling you because 99% of what’s out there is only concerned with selling the dream of making money.

It’s not popular to tell people both sides–maybe because it’s too real, or because it’s not sexy enough for clickbaity headlines.

The bottom line is that I want you to have all the information before you go ahead and make a huge decision.

And I want you to know that it isn’t the end of the world to remain an employee of someone else’s business and not want to be a business owner…regardless of what anyone else has to say.

Your Turn

Have you found out the hard way that being a business owner isn’t for you? What made you realize that you were better suited to being an employee? And if you did go back, do you find yourself regretting any part of your experience?

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