Saturday, April 25, 2009

One of the few?

Just read “Self-employed go back to the boss” in the paper today and found some of the issues highlighted interesting. Here are some choice quotes:

 

“For seven years, he battled to keep his … afloat. It was an around-the-clock effort.”

“He was struggling to make ends meet, to find reliable workers, and to strike any sort of work-life balance.”

"I'd been trying to do everything myself.”

“said he would never again try to set up his own business.”

“He was turned off by "having to chase work, being able to deliver quality work but having people call you up and say 'I've got a quote from some cowboy across the road for half that price -- how come?"”

 

Sound familiar? If it does you’d be interested to know that the guy in the article ran a windscreen business but I have heard almost exactly the same quotes from people in IT. In good times it is certainly much easier to run a business but when things turn tough then you’ll soon find out whether you are running a business or simply enjoying a lifestyle.

 

When I talk to people and say that I work in my own business they automatically assume you make oodles of money (which you don’t) and you don’t do much work (which isn’t right either). It is only those who have run their own business that understand that it comes down to hard work. However, you gotta enjoy working hard or else being in business for yourself just doesn’t make sense.

 

Most people who run a business probably never should. They simply believe that because they are good at something that will automatically translate into self-employment. Generally this is far from the truth since running a business is about so much more that just being good at one thing. You usually have to do EVERYTHING even if you don’t like doing it, which unless you are disciplined will mean you are going to struggle like the person in the article.

 

My advice would be to start by reading something like the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. This book is a MUST READ for anyone who is self–employed. Next, I would suggest that you start looking for people with whom you can talk and discuss ideas, including issues you are struggling with on a regular basis. To be a success in business you need to build a network of people whom you can turn to for advice, work or simply to lend an ear. Finally, you need to run your business like a business and not simply as a hobby because in the end, if you want to make a living from it your business will have compete with every other business out there.

 

These are just the first steps you need to take if you want to run a successful business in my experience. Failing to do so is not going to guarantee you’ll fail but is going to make it much harder than it could be. So seek out information from successful business owners and thinkers. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice because you’ll be surprised at how many are willing to help.

 

Only the businesses who are working on their business rather than in their business these days are generally going to come out the other side of these recessionary times. Ask yourself if you really want to run a business and if the answer is yes, then run it like a business!