Sole Proprietorship: Is It For Me?

When you are first starting a new business, the learning curve can be pretty steep because you are solely responsible for everything in your business.  I’m going to speak in relation (as I usually do) to starting a window cleaning business.

There are different steps and phases of starting up a window cleaning business.  In the beginning you are one person running a business and there are various pros and cons to being a sole proprietor.  How can you know if it is wise for you to choose this path or not?

I’m going to share various pros and cons (in my opinion) which can hopefully help you make the best decision for you whether you decide to start up a sole proprietor type business or not.

My suggestion is to read the following pros and cons as if they were the opposite (a pro as if it is a con and a con as if it is a pro) and see both sides of the coin in every situation.  This is powerful in getting past any fears and helpful to taking action toward your goals and dreams regardless of your fears.

Sole Proprietorship: Pros and Cons

Con: In the beginning of a business start up, it is slow and hard to get rolling if you have never done it before.

Pro: You have complete creative control of how you want to structure your business. You can create your schedule, your time off, your own website, YouTube channel, online promotion, the tools you want to buy, work uniform, etc.

Con: You may not make a profit for the first few years as you reinvest a lot of income into more tools, new equipment, supplies, work clothes, a work vehicle, etc.

Pro: Depending on where you live the tax laws usually allow for significant tax advantages for sole proprietors such as business write-offs,etc. (Please see a certified tax accountant for advice on the subject.)

Con: You may not know what you need to do in the beginning of starting up a business to get it rolling and producing an income for you.

Pro: You can learn what you need to do to get your business rolling and producing an income for you and your family. As you get better at creating more business, you may begin to really enjoy the process of challenging yourself to grow your business.

Con: As a sole proprietor, everything in your business is your responsibility at first. You are responsible for finding new clients, maintaining your automobile, communicating with your customers, creating a website, getting business cards, doing your taxes, managing accounts, purchasing tools, supplies, and equipment and the list goes on and on. This can change over time as you grow your business though.

Pro: You have more time freedom when starting a small business. You can choose: when you show up for calls, your quitting time, to have weekends off, your vacation times, etc.

Con: You will have slow times when there is no business coming in and no money either.

Pro: Knowing this in advance, you can set money aside now for those lean times of year, so that you can enjoy your time off rather than stressing over lack of money.

Con: You may be in debt in the beginning and go in and out of debt at slow times of the year.

Pro: You may get some large contracts and be able to pay off all debts very fast in a relatively short period of time.

Con: The work may be pretty physically hard when you are just getting started, if you’ve had a lot of time off, and if you haven’t done this kind of work before.

Pro: You will get stronger, more skilled, and faster the more you do the kind of work you’re doing.

My Advice to You

I could have gone on forever with this list.  In the end it is ultimately your decision to become self employed and begin to work at building a business you can be proud of or not.  The choice is yours.

All I know is I could not stand working for other people’s companies any more.  I needed a change.  I wanted to start my own business and create something I could be proud of and deliver exemplary service to people in a state of gratitude.

Depending on what your situation is, I would encourage you to start your own business.  You may be working at a job you can’t stand or maybe you love what you do and you want to start your own business doing it.

No matter what your current situation is, know that it can change for the better.  If you decide to do this, know that there will be challenges and potential set backs.  When you view them as opportunities to grow as a person and live a life you have always dreamed of you can overcome any challenge life may present you.

I believe (as a sole proprietor running my own business) that the pros far outweigh the cons for starting your own business.  If it’s something you love to do, every con can be turned into a pro when you see it as an opportunity for personal growth.

Has this article encouraged and/or inspired you in some way?  Do you have any pros and/or cons you want to share?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.  Please hit one of the share buttons if you enjoyed this page.  And as always, thanks for reading. The world is your oyster.  Now go get em!

William King

William currently lives in the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada with his wife Natasha and cat Noah. He has been cleaning windows professionally since 2004. William has worked for multiple window cleaning companies as both an employee and a subcontractor until he committed to building his own business in 2012. His business has grown since to provide a very nice income for the family. Natasha manages the office and accounting of the business as it continues to grow. With 28+ years of experience in the cleaning industry, William's intention with this website is to share his experience and knowledge with people who would like to learn how to create their own window / gutter cleaning service business.

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3 Responses

  1. Oly says:

    hi william, i’m self employed and building an art gallery business that i can be proud of since i’m an artist. this post is great info telling enterpreneurs about sole proprietorship’s pros & cons. thanks 🙂

  2. Angelica says:

    Interesting list, however I would much rather go for a LLC so you can protect your assets in the event your business goes south. Good post!

    • I agree with your recommendation. A new small business may not have the initial capital to pay for the proper structuring of their company at first and this can change over time. My personal approach is working with what you’ve got and scaling up your business as your funds and credit allow it without going into major debt. Excellent advice for someone who has the funds and wants to protect personal assets. Thank you for sharing Angelica! 🙂

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