Employee to Entrepreneur
Where were you before you started your business? Well, if you’re like most people, you were working for somebody else, right?
What were you doing? Probably technical work, like almost everybody who goes into business. You were a carpenter, a mechanic, or a machinist; a bookkeeper or a poodle clipper; a drafts-person or a hairdresser; a barber or a computer programmer; a doctor or a technical writer; a graphic artist or an accountant; an interior designer or a plumber or a salesperson.
But whatever you were, you were doing technical work. And you were probably really good at it. But you were doing it for somebody else.
Then, one day, for some reason, something happened. It might have been the weather, a birthday, or your child’s graduation from high school. It might have been the paycheck you received on that afternoon/month, or a sideways glance from the boss that just didn’t sit right. It might have been a feeling that your boss didn’t really appreciate your contribution to the success of his business. It could have been anything, including an encouragement from the most talented and blessed group of men called MOV; it doesn’t matter what. But one day, for somewhat vague, or very clear, reason, you were suddenly stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure. What?
And from that day on your life was never to be the same. Inside your mind it sounded something like this:
“What am I doing this for?
Why am I working for this guy?
I know as much about this business as he does. If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have a business. Any dummy can run a business. I’m working for one.”
And the moment you paid attention to what you were saying to yourself and really took it to heart, your fate was sealed. The excitement of cutting the cord became your constant companion. The thought of independence followed you everywhere. The idea of being your own boss, doing your own thing, singing your own song, became obsessively irresistible. Once you were stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure, there was no relief. You couldn’t get rid of it. You had to start your own business, the so-called ‘side hustle’.
In the throes of your Entrepreneurial Seizure, you fell victim to the most disastrous assumption anyone can make about going into business. It is an assumption made by all technicians who go into business for themselves, one that charts the course of a business – from Grand Opening to Dramatic Liquidation -the moment it is made.
That Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work. And the reason this assumption is ‘fatal to your resources’ is that it just isn’t true. It is made out of naivety, out of inexperience.
Technical skill alone doesn’t run a successful business. So, what makes a successful business? Opinions vary greatly on this one and each business is not exactly the same as no two individuals are the same.
This is what I know: successful businessmen fail less than they succeed, and failure won’t and don’t stop them from succeeding, and they understand that failure is unavoidable. Failure means making a bad decision that makes you lose money or something of value. Success is making sure your failures don’t keep you down forever, by preempting and mitigating (lessen the impact) them accordingly, and having the courage and humility to try again and again after each failure. Even the righteous man falleth seven times… st least.
Hence, the closest thing to success is failure. Make failure a yield sign and not a stop sign, a u-turn zone and not a dead-end.
But remember, there is a price to pay, one way or the other.
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