Below is an article I was asked to write for a local paper:
“The owner of my company has no idea what he is doing!”
What’s the biggest difference between employers and employees? Experience? Education? Expertise? The true answer might surprise you: courage. Most employees are afraid to take the scary financial leap of faith that their boss took. And considering the overwhelming majority of the population isn’t willing to make the sacrifices needed to own or run their own business, the rank-in-file will naively hold to unfair misconceptions.
As an employer myself, I’d like to let everyone know that gutsy entrepreneurs can succeed, even in today’s business climate. Here are a few valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1. It is extraordinarily difficult to become financially rich working for someone else. As Americans, we are lucky in that we live in a country with a Gross Domestic Product that exceeds those of the next five countries combined. In December, I traveled across three continents and became very aware that no other country offers the same opportunities we have here in the good ole USA. If you are dedicated and willing to work, consider becoming rich while working for your favorite boss: you.
2. Estimate how much money it takes to run your own business, then double it. Felix Dennis, a famous magazine publisher, described how to get capital: inherit it, steal it, win it, marry it, earn it or borrow it. I certainly don’t advocate stealing it (and few of us are lucky enough to marry, win or inherit it), which means most of us must earn or borrow it. But never underestimate the financial requirements of getting a traditional business off the ground. If money is tight, consider a business that needs little startup capital such as a home-based or network marketing businesses. Using other people’s money means you play by their rules – which leads me to the golden rule: he who has the gold rules.
3. A partnership is like a marriage without love. While a good business partner can take a business to dizzying heights, a bad partner can send it into a death spiral. Draft a solid legal document that clearly states the terms, rules and expectations of the partnership. Nothing clouds the memory like greed and time. Spending $500 with an attorney now can save you years of heartache and precious financial resources in the future.
4. Darling, luck favors the prepared. Thank you Edna “E” Mode for that insight. Luck rarely finds those unwilling to take a chance. Sweat, passion and perseverance are the most important ingredients to “getting lucky.”
5. Take a leap and a net will appear. Don’t jump without a plan. But don’t wait for every light to be green before you pull out of the driveway.
Owning and running your own business isn’t always fun and games. Even the most prepared bosses encounter bumps along the way. But nothing of value comes without sacrifice and effort.
If you’ve got the courage, I strongly urge you to consider working for yourself. Words can’t describe the feeling of watching your business flourish.