Are you the right sort of person to have your own business?
Only you can answer that question. But here are some pointers to help towards a decision.
Running your business is scary. It’s not like having a job, with set hours and a set pay package with annual holidays. The buck stops with you. If something doesn’t work, it’s your fault. And if you earn less than planned, you only have yourself to blame.
If you’re thinking of going it alone because you will be master (or mistress) of your own time, I urge you to think three times: you will find yourself working long hours, with unbelievable extra stress. There will be so much to do and achieve on top of the ordinary demands of your personal life.
Business always has its ups and downs. It will take time to establish; some enterprises can be up and running quickly, but the majority will take two or three years to come to full fruition. I recommend taking part-time employment at first – or even volunteering opportunities, preferably in your field. You never know what might come from opening yourself out to help others, even if you’re only doing it because you cannot find gainful employment. You might like to check out a little story I wrote last year: https://jbwye.com/2016/01/22/do-people-matter/
I mentioned Dreaming in my first blog of this series.
This exercise is an important step, and sadly, in view of time constraints, I often have to leave it out in my mentoring work. I love helping people to dream in a constructive manner. I appreciate that some people are more natural dreamers than others, but I’m going to take you up this path anyway.
I want you to forget about your business idea (I will address this subject next time).
Think of yourself – your own personal aims and objectives. Life is easy when your business is booming. It is during the disheartening down periods – when your customers are few, your debts rising, nothing is going right – that you need to dig deep and answer the question that will inevitably crop up:
“Why Am I Doing This?”
It is to pre-empt this important question that the exercise of dreaming is vital.
It stands to reason that if you don’t know where you’re going – or why – you’ll never get there.
Forget About the Money
Your first step is to examine yourself. Forget about your business for a moment, and focus on your person needs and wants. Forget about the money – that is merely a means to an end. The important question is: what do you want to do with that money you hope to earn?
Everyone is Different.
If there were no barriers, what would you like to do, be or have? Feel free to let your hair down and your imagination run riot.
- Want a home of your own? Most people would go for that. Where would it be – city, or country; how large/small would it be; a cottage, or a flat, or a country mansion with sweeping gardens. Look around you, do some research. Find something which takes your fancy, and picture yourself living there, the furniture you would have, what you would do with the garden. Then write down your plan:
o Ask the price, in current day terms.
o When would you want to buy it? (Here, a certain amount of realism is required). – In three years’ time (2020) or five years (2022), or even ten (2027)? It is important to write down the actual year.
o Then do your sums. Divide the cost of the down-payment by the number of years you have set as your objective; then divide that sum by 12, and you have broken it down to a more feasible monthly figure.
And you can always change the Goalposts!
- Or perhaps you might aim to go somewhere – travel abroad? Which country, which town, for how long; what time of year would you go; which year? Do your research, pour over the brochures, and divide the cost, in current terms, by the timescale. Write it all down.
- Maybe you could do something for your family – like I did. I wanted to give my grandchildren the opportunity to broaden their minds, go travelling by themselves (or with a friend) in the period between leaving school and settling down. Have a gap year.
Pie in the Sky
Fifteen years ago, that seemed like pie in the sky. I was in a new country without a job, but I thought that £1,000 would be useful for each grandchild (and I have seven of them) when they reached a certain age bracket. I wrote it down, even though I had no idea how I was going to find the money. And, do you know – already five of them have claimed from the Granny Fund, which has grown with the years!
The secret is to build a list of ten dreams. Put a cost and a time frame for each. Prioritise them. Write them down, as I recommended for your Business Plan previously.
And then put the list in the bottom of your in-tray. Revise it at least once a year.
You’ll be surprised how many items you can cross off and add on over the years.
Another of my dreams those fifteen years ago, was to write a book, and have it accepted by a publisher. Impossible, I thought … but I am delighted to announce that I have since written three novels, the last of which will be launched on 30th March this year.
You can subscribe to my Newsletter HERE, to learn more.
See you in two weeks’ time, when we will return to the subject of a Business Plan, and the importance of identifying what you want to do, and how to do it.