There are three types of people who start, or attempt to start a new business. They are:

  1. Those who have a dream, haven’t done their research, and ultimately end up losing their house through the pursuit of the impossible.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Please ask us any questions you’d like to or leave a comment on the form below.


2 thoughts on “Relentless Focus

  1. Jim Schwan says:

    There is no such thing as job security in working for others. That much comes to light as one gets older, and slowly you discover that there are younger people being hired to do what you do for less money, and sometimes longer hours. If you’re doing contract work, you don’t get the calls for the “good” contracts as often as you used to. And so it goes…

    Option 3 is at the same time the best way to go, but requires more of you. But in the end, there is no “Plan B”. Those who attempt to hold one in their back pocket will not be able to make “Plan A” work. You cannot serve two masters….

    1. Paul Dean says:

      Hi Jim. Yup – option three requires more of you, but gives you more back too. In the end, the rewards are directly proportional to the effort put in, BUT, there is a learning curve – a period where you’re teeing things up; learning new processes; getting to grips with marketing. In the end it pays off.

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