Getting back to basics: is starting a business the right choice?

Two young boys at lemonade stand

If all of these posts were to end up as a book about starting and running a small business, I feel like most of the posts up until now have been about the middle chapters. Maybe I assumed, perhaps correctly, that the people reading this would be in the middle of running a business, and looking for some insight. Even more likely, I’ve been writing about where I’m at, and hoping it applied to someone else too.

I would like to go back, at least today, and write a bit of the foreword to this theoretical book.

Here’s the scenario. You just got home from a long day of work as an employee of Company Z. Maybe you spend your days behind a desk, or maybe you’re out there getting your hands dirty. It doesn’t really matter. The important detail is your frustration. You don’t feel appreciated, respected, or properly compensated for all your hard work. Your boss is clearly an idiot, and you know that you could do this 10x better if you were in charge.

Wait a second…that’s it! Forget working for someone else. You’re going to start your own version of Company Z. Why should you help someone else get rich? You know the job just as well as anyone else, so why can’t it be you driving to work everyday in the fancy car your boss owns? Why can’t you be the one taking long vacations, and paying people minimum wage to do the work for you? Problem solved; you’re going to quit your job and start your path to success.

Whoa! Hold on for just a second. Before you go and do something crazy, take a step back and really think this through. You are not the first person to feel this way about your job. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised it 75-90% of employees out there feel something like this on a regular basis. Of those frustrated employees, a small percentage decide to go for it. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of those entrepreneurs create a successful small business, and achieve their goals.

The problem is that being able to make widgets does not mean you can run a widget making business. Even if you’re the best darn widget maker there ever was, it’s not going to save you from the stark truth; making widgets is only one aspect of running a widget making business.

Since this is my focus, I’m going to assume you are wanting to run a business with a very small team, either in or outside of the home. If that’s the case, you are no longer just a widget maker. Just to name a few, you are now the…

  • receptionist
  • human resources manager
  • bookkeeper
  • advertising department
  • sales manager

Depending on the size of your initial team, you may get help with one or more of these titles. Unless you’ve got a trust fund or a venture capitalist at your disposal, you’ll be running this business solo until you can afford some help. So, the question isn’t whether or not you’re a good widget maker, it’s whether or not you can also be good at these other jobs. That’s going to be the difference between growing your small business, and asking your old boss for your job back.

Homework:

If this is the stage you’re at, here’s your homework assignment.

Read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. You can get it in many formats. My links are affiliate links, but feel free to find it on your own too. I’m sure even the library in your town has a copy.

Paperback: Amazon
Audiobook: Audible
eBook: iTunes icon

Michael Gerber - The E Myth Revisited

 

Maybe read it twice. You’ll learn about the entrepreneurial seizure, which is what Michael calls this sudden impulse to go out on your own. If, after reading this, you realize that you’re better off being an employee, then you just avoided a huge disaster. On the other hand, if being an entrepreneur still sounds like the best idea, then keep checking back here for more ideas. More importantly, feel free to share your ideas and experiences in the comments, through social media sites I visit, or by emailing me. Check out the contact page to find ways to stalk follow me online.