EXCUSE No. 2: Iím broke. We just
have enough to live from paycheck to paycheck.
None of us has enough money (and those
that do are often the stingiest in spending it). If all you have is
access to a computer and your good looks, you can still start your own
business. To make an extreme example, letís say youíre a heavy
equipment operator. A new bulldozer may cost upward of $150,000 so
you canít possibly start up as an excavation contractor, can you?
Well, yes, you can. You donít need a new bulldozer to be an
excavation contractor, you need a client who will pay you more to do a
certain job than it will cost you to borrow, rent or make payments on the
equipment you need to do the job.
EXCUSE No. 3: I have the ambition
of a three-toed sloth. If it werenít for the threat of complete
self-destruction at the end of each work week, Iíd probably never get out
of bed at all.
Of the three, this is without question
the best excuse, because in order to build a business large enough to
replace your job, you will almost certainly spend more time working on it
than you did at your employment. If ambition is your problem than
probably this is not the direction for you. However, I think youíll
find that working for yourself is much more rewarding and more interesting
than letting someone else call all the shots. You might just have it
in you after all.
If youíve been an employee all your life,
then the most important parts of gaining self-employment may be relatively
unfamiliar to you, that is, decision-making.
More Fun, But a Lot of
Success at being your own boss depends
very much on the basic decisions you make as you start up your start-up;
decisions, like, "what do you want to do in the first place?". Here,
you have to balance practicality with what stirs your soul, and I would
emphasis that itís most important not to let either aspect have dominance.
In order to promote success, you need to
spend your time working in a field that you find interesting, challenging
and fun. If you donít really enjoy what youíre doing, then you may as
well stay on the job you have now. On the other hand, you canít ignore
the fact that the path is littered with the dead corpses of young start-up
companies dedicated to the ownerís favorite hobby.
Maybe you love canoeing, but that doesnít
mean that youíll love manufacturing canoes, or that youíd enjoy running a
guide service, or thrill over publishing maps of rivers. Maybe youíd be
better off concentrating on a completely different field, and letting your
hobby remain your hobby.
One thing is certain though, if your
hobby is the basis of your new business, you need to make sure that the
business end takes precedence over the hobby. To oversimplify, if you
make doughnuts, you need to be sure you donít eat up all the profits; if
you want to move from being a coin collector to being a coin dealer, you
need to be able to purchase items that will sell, not the ones you want to
own the most.
you already have an idea for your new business, or if not, perhaps youíd
be happy to take the job youíre doing now for wages and convert it into
something you do for yourself. You already know how the job is done,
and you may have a few ideas about how to do it better. Maybe youíre
thinking that your area wonít support another egg-candling shop, but I
think youíll find that in many ways, competition can build up both
businesses. Notice how often auto dealers try to locate themselves
close to their competitors. Sometimes your rivals advertisements
will wind up bringing people to your showroom/storefront/website and
sometimes the opposite will happen, but youíll both do more business than
you would alone.
One more word about competition: while
this may not be true in big business, I think youíll find that in any job
you do well and diligently, your competition will not be a problem.
The world is littered with successful, but poorly-run businesses.
Just be sure your own work is done to the best of your ability and as
consistently as possible, and you can forget about the competition.
It could be that you strike out on your
own with a plan completely new to you, neither a hobby, nor a former job,
just a great idea. This is the stuff of which the American dream is
made. If this is the way you choose to go, you'll want to be sure
that you do all your research and try to be realistic about your
You may be ready to go
into business full-tilt starting tomorrow, maybe your great uncle died and
left you his doughnut factory, but more likely, youíll do well to start
out small and work up. This way, you donít need to quit your job or
make any major investments until youíre ready.
Starting small also allows you to get a
feel for your market; to try a number of different approaches, then when
you find one that works particularly well, do that again and again, while
always experimenting with other methods as often as you can dream them up.
One last word of caution, beware of the
human factor. If you choose a vocation that involves dealing with the
public, and virtually all of them do to one extent or another, you are
going to encounter some unpleasant moments. If you do business with 100
people, 99 of them will make you realize how glad you are to be in control
of your own life. One of them, however, will make you wish youíd never
been born. This isnít your fault, itís his, that one guy in a hundred,
but he is your problem and when you encounter him, just remember, you
donít work for this guy (at least not anymore) and, "Tomorrow", as the
enterprising Scarlett O'Hara said, "is another day".
I hope you choose to start working for
yourself and if so, I wish you the best of luck. Like anything else,
you'll have good times and bad, but you'll never be out of a job.
I've seen plenty of times over the last 30 years when, if I'd been one of
my own employees, I'd have considered letting myself go. Of course,
that's not an option.