There are three types of people who start, or attempt to start a new business. They are:
- Those who have a dream, haven’t done their research, and ultimately end up losing their house through the pursuit of the impossible.
- Those who start what might be a decent business, but subsequently take a paid position with an employer, opting for the perceived safety of corporate life.
- Those who do their research, work hard and with imagination, and ultimately reach their business goals and the lifestyle of their choice.
It’s difficult to be too condemnatory of anyone in the first two groups, mainly because it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. However, those in the first group often cause distress to those they purport to love by putting everything on the line. They aren’t so much “those who have a dream” as “dreamers”, which you’ll note is slightly different. You can see them on a certain TV programme. Having invented the widget that will change the world they fold like cardboard boxes when questioned about the financial model upon which they’ve based their futures.
I’ve been there myself. I worked unpaid for almost 18 months for a small company with a unique proposition. It couldn’t fail, and the proposition was truly one of a kind.
The reason it was one of a kind is that there was no market for it.
It took me five years to clear my debt. I had been a dreamer. Lesson learned.
It’s Number 2 that poses one of the biggest threats; going into business believing there’s the potential safety net of a j.o.b. lurking in the background. I shudder to use the “J” word. It smells of repression, control, pressure to deal with other people’s mistakes, and little stakeholder interest.
Those of us who have chosen to work in an environment we’ve created for ourselves must realise that the world of j.o.b.s doesn’t really exist. It may in a parallel universe, but that mustn’t concern us. We must work at the apex of the Big Top, sixty feet above the hard, sandy floor. No security; no fall back. Not even a slightly damp Li-Lo. We are responsible for creating our own living, and there will rarely be anyone else to blame or thank.
Only by developing this relentless focus can we succeed in business. Forget all thoughts of alternatives and move on in our quest for self-employed Nirvana. Become a Number 3.
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