Starting a Business Vs Remaining an Employee: Which Is Riskier?

Starting a business is definitely a risk. But so is remaining an employee. You just don’t always notice it.
Your continued biweekly paycheck is no sure thing. It’s important not to put all of your financial eggs in one basket, especially a basket as precariously positioned as the national unemployment rate.
As a salaried employee, it’s easy to become complacent. But don’t let your biweekly paycheck lull you into a false sense of security. That paycheck could stop at any time. If you’re thinking of your employment as a rock-solid fact, you’re doing yourself a disservice as far as getting an accurate picture of your risk.
There are risks involved in being an employee.
If 100% of your income comes from one single source, what will that do to your family’s finances if that source runs dry? Starting a business is a great way to take your destiny into your own hands.
As an analogy, consider your investment strategy. A diverse portfolio is a strong portfolio — if one of your investments tanks, it’s not going to cause you to dip into your retirement funds in order to survive; you’ll be buffered by your variety of other investments, and your investments will begin to even out again.
It may be valuable to think of your salary in the same way. If you lose your job, without additional sources of income, it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to stay afloat.
But I’m a great employee — no one is going to fire me!
How many people caught up in the foreclosure nightmare of recent years though this exact same thing when they signed on the dotted line?
Even if you, personally, are confident in your relationship with your management and could never see yourself being laid off or fired, there’s another risk involved here: the future of the company itself. In the economic upheaval of the times, depending on the size and level of establishment of your organization, your company may suddenly find itself struggling to stay afloat (despite your individual dedication to helping it succeed). In other words, it’s hard for management to retain a valuable employee like you when there’s nothing to manage.
Starting a business doesn’t have to mean quitting your job.
Diversifying your income means just that: diversity. What are your personal strengths and skills? If you’re a graphic designer, consider starting a business on the side that you can manage during nights and weekends. If you’re an English major, consider freelance editing. You might even consider taking some classes to gain knowledge and experience should the unthinkable occur.
If you can build some individual credibility in your field on a freelance or part-time basis, you have a safety net to fall back on if you should suddenly lose your job. Without a second option, you could suddenly find yourself at square one.