What is one of America’s biggest promises; anybody can own his or her own business. All you have to do is be willing to work hard and have a good idea and you can own a business. Our country is full of people turned entrepreneur who have made that promise a reality. It doesn’t take a lot of money or a new building or a warehouse full of inventory, or a fancy business plan, or legal papers of any kind. Anybody can do it with just a bit of initiative and hard work.
I know from personal experience that it can be; we have owned five small businesses. Only one of them did we go so far as to make it a legal LLC (Limited Liability Corporation.) The only reason we did that is because we naively fell for someone’s explanation that we had better do it. For the most part all you have to do is tell yourself you are in business, hang out a plaque and go to work. This was told to me by the very first attorney I sat with even before we had any businesses going.
The rewards are great even though the challenges are plenty. You really don’t need a lot of investment up front, other than your soul, but you will need some capital. Capital can always be a problem. It may be difficult to scrape together enough money to make your first mailing or to get yourself to your first client’s location, but this certainly will not be the hardest thing you encounter. I seriously think you can get something off the ground with as little as $250.00.
There will also be a big obstacle to overcome when it comes to locating your next customer. By now you have a mailing list and have made a couple of contacts but suddenly the demand for your services seems to have dwindled. What do you do? How do you find that next lucrative contract? Where do you look? This can be hard, but there are harder things coming your way believe me.
The allure of owning your own business is enough to make most of us chase it until we finally catch it. Sometimes we don’t really know what we are in for, we just know we are tired of working for someone else and we want to work for ourselves for a change. That knowledge is enough to set most of us out on our paths until we find our true destiny. Much of the time however, we really don’t have any idea what our true destiny should be.
We, my wife and I, have owned our own business for ten years now. When business started slipping we started looking at other things we could do. We found several other small businesses that required next to nothing to start and we kept going. It still was not enough to replace what we were making when our first business was in its heyday, so I had to go to the public sector and join the ranks of the employed once again. Even this wasn’t devastating.
Losing our own business, the one that gave us so much for at least eight years running, was very difficult. It was hard to see our own business gradually diminish into nothing more than a sideline. But we had a good run that made the loss not the hardest thing to endure in owning a business.
When we look back and consider everything, we realize the hardest thing about owning our own business wasn’t having to buy our own insurance or not having any paid time off or even having to work more hours than you would ever consider working for anyone else. No, the hardest thing about owning our own business, we believe, was bringing in a large amount of money but realizing that a lot of it had to go right back out in expenses, to support our little company.
Our business was a consulting firm. I had to travel to my clients to service them. We advertised that we paid our own expenses to help bring the business in. That worked and we got quite a bit of out of state business. We didn’t plan well enough and it ended up that the expenses would sometimes drain our earnings. We gradually made changes and added minimum numbers of days to go certain distances but still the expenses of owning your own company can be very high.
No longer do I question any service company’s rates because I now know what is behind them. I believe everyone should go into business for themselves sometimes, for at least a year. If for no other reason than to get a feel for what it really does cost for some of these service people we so easily shrug off, to bring their services to us. That has to be the hardest thing we encountered, is the great expense it takes, just to support a good business.
Would we do it again? You bet we would and we continue to do so. There are many hardships and heartaches involved in owning your own business, high expense is perhaps, the one most devastating. But, there are also many rewards. The rewards far outweigh any hardships. If you get the opportunity, take it and run with it. The experience will be worth it. You’ve worked your entire life, isn’t it time you became your own boss?