I heard this comment at a National Speaker’s Association meeting recently: “Being your own boss is the hardest way to make easy money.” Boy, that is the truth!
I speak with people all the time who 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 it 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 (more on that here in my post “Are You Cut Out To Be Your Own Boss?”).
- 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.
I agree that it is difficult to make ends meet. The reason is because people do not want to offer loyalty when they purchase any product or service.
In the USA, people have the grab the cheapest product/service attitude and they do not care about the person that gives them the service. Same is when for example you go to Target stores and the clerk is also not giving a damn about the customer.
The way to change this is to form communities that resemble the Amish culture where there is sincere concern for the well-being and the survival of your friend or your client for that matter.
As Jesus advises: Love your neighbour as yourself.
I do catering in the Berkeley, California hills
It’s a mentality today, people want success without the effort and it just doesn’t work that way.
Successful people work twice as hard and they don’t quit when opposition raises it’s ugly head.
I love your first ‘thing to consider’ – your personality. Some people just naturally will do what it takes to be a success – work long, hard hours; learn new skills; sacrifice whatever necessary. Others just won’t (or can’t) do that.
It’s best to know yourself before starting the adventure of being your own boss.
I agree, Heather, some people simply have the best personality-style to be self-motivated and self-employed. Jeff Herring once said, “Internet marketing is where you work 18 hours a day so that you can make money in your sleep.” 🙂 He’s not far off the truth. We all want the short cut, the magic bullet. And there ARE things that make owning a small business easier, but much of it self-employment is about perserverance and the willingness to fail and try again, learning as you go along. It doesn’t hurt if you LOVE the work you do, too!
So true. I think of America as the “quick fix culture.” I’m a psychotherapist in the midwest and am interested in coaching others in their business adventures as well. Whether it’s emotional, relational, or work related, almost anyone has wanted quick relief at one time in their life. Being thoughtful about one’s options and choices takes time to marinate, fine tune, and put into practice.
On things to consider, I also found having additional (and flexible) income sources at the beginning of buidling my business really helpful. My expectation at the beginning was that it was going to take some time.
I think the word “marinate” is an excellent description of that part of the process, Marci. 🙂
I believe one of the biggest challenges for small business people is, they are product centric; they have a widget (good or service) that they want to sell.
It is often a better idea to find a need to serve. My first sale manager used to say, “Find an itch and scratch it!” Find a void and fill it, or find a want/need and serve it. That is usually better than trying to convince the world that you have the best recipe ever for chocolate-chip cookies.
And, solving a problem is much easier to test market, than promoting the newest widget.
You are 100% on target here, Tom. Just because a business owner loves to knit hat for the dog doesn’t mean others want to buy hats for their dog, too.