The Real Risks and Trade-offs of Setting Up Your Own Business

22nd February 2015

Posted In: WMB Advice | Your Business
Rosemary Delaney

I have always stood firm that setting your goals and committing them to paper will take you quite a distance on your journey to success. One of the necessary evils of entrepreneurship is to focus on the financial side of things, sometimes to the detriment of your vision. This lack of strategy is more prevalent in an environment where business is hard to come by and even harder to get compensated for.


The following list describes the main risks of entrepreneurship, according to my experience:

1) Time – this is one of your most valuable commodities. You will learn to think smarter and value what little time you have for leisure and your loved ones.

2) Money – expect to pay yourself a pittance for at least three to five years. Yes, you can have a fantastic business plan with a nice salary detailed, but when push comes to shove your remuneration will fall way behind other overheads.

3) Security – it is one of the most naked moments of your working life when you leave as an employee to launch into entrepreneurship. Becoming an entrepreneur is like bungee jumping without the elastic cord.

4) Pension – you know you want one; you know you need one. You may already have one from your previous life. However, pensions are one of many perceived luxuries that get bumped to the bottom of the list. There’s one certainty if you don’t have a pension – your later years won’t be all that golden.

5) Fear of failure – like a hangover, the fear comes, plays havoc with your head and leaves you feeling exhausted. Avoid at all costs.

6) Lost identity – entrepreneurs live the dream 24/7 which means that you are likely to become a total bore about your business. For the sake of your relationship, ensure your partner is totally on-board and laid back to boot.

7) Personality switch – unlike identity loss, you will go through phases of personality switch. This is where you are expected (or even forced) to take on the persona of Cinderella when at home (all scrubbing and cleaning with a ‘no show’ from your fairy godmother); editor- in-chief Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada (all hiss and no humility in the office when things go wrong); and Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction (you know you’ve no interest in having an affair but you still want to boil that rabbit!). Yes, you have to be all things to a lot of people as you multitask. Once you’re aware of possible negative outcomes, think more along the lines of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally – fake it and you’ll sail right through!

8) The myth of the finish line – what finish line? As you start to invest sweat and tears into your business, you do so with the false belief that there is an end to your journey. Indeed, you believe that your pot of gold will appear way before your grey hair as you meticulously plan your exit strategy. Don’t be fooled as, once you start your journey, endless challenges and opportunities will present and the finish line will become a small dot on the very distant horizon. Let’s face it: retirement is for bankers, politicians and lottery winners.


This is an extract from Rosemary Delaney’s book Women Mean Business: One Woman’s Journey into Entrepreneurship.