Self Employment: The Hardest Way to Make Easy Money
By Karyn Greenstreet
copyright © 2006, by Karyn Greenstreet. All rights reserved.
I heard this comment at a National Speaker's Association meeting last month: "Being your own boss is the hardest way to make easy money." Boy, isn't that the truth!
So many people I speak with dream of becoming self employed and starting their own small business. Don't get me wrong: being self employed is the best lifestyle I know. It has a huge range of rewards, from flexibility to independence to self-responsibility. I'm completely in love with being self employed and wouldn't exchange it for a corporate job for a million dollars! (Okay, truthfully, if you want to offer me a million dollars a year in salary, I'm willing to entertain a discussion.)
But self employment is hard work, plain and simple. After carefully studying and working with people who start their own businesses, my best estimate is that it takes at least a year to make a serious profit, and often it's more like two years. I have yet to see a "quick fix" for small business marketing that will land a lot of cash in your pocket in 30 days. If your business structure and administrative process are not firmly in place, you'll crash and burn eventually. If your business strategy and plan are not fine-tuned, you'll spend an extraordinary amount of time running in circles trying to find the right customer and the right product or service to sell them.
So why do people look for (and purchase) products and services that promise a quick fix to their ailing small business? In the question lays the answer: they want a quick fix to the pain. Don't we all?
Running your own small business is a marathon, not a sprint. Stop trying to sprint your way to your first million without a firm foundation under you. Remember, marathoners train all year long for just one marathon; they don't wait until the month before to begin preparing.
Things to consider:
- Make sure you have the personality to be self employed.
- Make sure you have enough money to finance your dreams, and a good financial plan that tells you when you'll actually start making a profit.
- Invest money and time in sound, effective marketing strategies and do them every month, rain or shine.
- Have a written business plan and a business strategy, even if it's only three pages long.
- Test your marketing ideas, your product ideas and your service ideas to make sure you've got everything on target.
And finally, have a marathoner's attitude: the finish line does exist, just over the next hill. Believe that you will make it to the finish line, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other and maintain a positive attitude.