All of the business magazines talk about how being an entrepreneur is so "in vogue", it is now studied at the best universities, oh and us Mom's that want to run our own business, sista' pleeeze! We are growing in leaps and bounds - they say that the numbers are too large to measure. More times than not, when I meet someone and tell them what I do they go, "Oh my gawd I would love to do that."
So.....with the week I just had, I thought that I would tell you what it is really like to run your own business. I would like you to think long and hard about what it takes to run a business. See if you really want to do this:
"I would love to be in charge of my own destiny"
Really? Ya, that is what I thought when I started JPD...in fact I like to say that when people start quoting self help books, Tony Robbins or any of that super age....cra........stuff. Being in charge is great, however you are in CHARGE with a capital "C". You have to decide what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. You may have to figure out how to get sales, how to build a website, how to fix a printer, who to call when your garbage cans are stolen. You and only you get to be in charge - I don't know about any of you out there but I am already in charge at home....sometimes I would like to NOT be in charge. Some days it would be nice to let "the man" write me a check for my work, pat me on my head and send me home on Friday. As an entrepreneur I don't REALLY leave work on Friday......ever.
"I would love to be the one who makes ALL the money"
Um......well who doesn't want that? I mean, okay so that is NOT what it is all about, but for argument sake let me address this comment. Unless your company is totally funded (and if your company IS, please tell me all about it, 'cause that is not the case with me) and you are taking home a HUGE salary you are going to make sacrifices - maybe not monetary ones, but sacrifices none the less. Even IF you take a pay check, you will be working LONG hours and long hours equal.....about $2.45 an hour. You do NOT get to work 9-5, you will not take long fun lunch breaks, you will NOT relax on vacation and you will NOT make tons of money while you are starting, growing or working IN your business. You may make tons of money later on, but at what cost? What sacrifices are you willing to make? What is your family willing to risk? Willing to sacrifice? Trust me, there will be sacrifices.....
" I would LOVE to come and go as a I please, you have SOOO much freedom"
Yes........that is right I just lolly-gag in around noon, take a long lunch at 1:00 p.m. then cut out early for a mani-pedi, golf lesson, massage, possibly a nap in the break room or gee a shopping spree at Neimans (is that what they call it?). Okay, I do have the freedom to leave early, volunteer in my children's classroom, go on SOME (not all) field trips, and use the photo copier at my free will. But, but, BUT....screw the however - I then make up for it ten-fold. I work weekends, I work nights, I work mornings or I answer emails in traffic, I take my lap top on vacation, I check my blackberry when I am in bed with a 102 temperature, I check voice mail while driving to a field trip (okay not the driver, not the driver). My freedom comes at a cost, and I am always attached to my business - you have to be.
"Wow it must be so exciting and FUN, you are like famous!"
Pssstttrrfffoooooo........excuse me, while I spit my drink out all over the person that just said this to me. First of all, publicity IS great, and it does help your business grow, but don't believe the hype. In almost five years in business I have sort of found it just feeds the ego of the owner of the business. It does validate the business, however it takes hard work and lots and lots of sales to put food on the table. And let me address that FUN aspect, being in charge is not always so much fun. I get to make the bad decisions too. I get to decide when to let someone go, I get to decide when to not do something, and I get to decide to what to do next. If I make a bad decision I get to own it, I have to be the one to explain myself, or uh fess up, or eat crow - I do not get to hide behind a manager - I do not HAVE one. And if letting someone go is part of the day's agenda - guess who does that person's job? Guess who cleans up the mess? Guess who gets to be the bad guy......er gal.
This is not complaint or a rant post, or a "poor me" - this is MY life, and I chose it. Running your own business and being run-ragged by your business are two different things. I do not know who does NOT live in their business. Though we did move it out of the house close to two years ago and that does change things a bit. However, it is like the college student that left home, but still comes home to wash clothes, grab some food, sleep on the couch, get money for tuition, rent, books and then ask to borrow a $20. That college student may weigh 175 pounds, be 6 ft tall and 23 years old, but he will always be my baby - no matter how far away he lives, or what he does. That is my business - it is mine - and it will ALWAYS be a part of me.
So - does this still sound like fun to you? Does this still sound like you want to roll up your sleeves and jump in? Are you salivating at the mouth and saying, "sign me up!"? If so - then good for you, that is great. I have to say, I never knew that running my own business would be as hard as it has been. I did not even think about these things.....I was that person that said those silly things to other entrepreneurs. So, good luck - you GO girl! Call me in about 4 years though, and tell me if I was right, okay?