Many of us dream of breaking free from the 9-5 grind, being in charge of our own destiny, and being entrepreneurs. Managing a business, whether home-based or otherwise, inspires thoughts of freedom, financial security, living the ultimate lifestyle, and most of all, ‘making it’.
For as long as I can remember, my wife has wanted to own a small hotel or bistro by the sea. She dreams of the oceanfront sunrises, the walks along the beach, and maybe even having a small boat for weekend fun.
I can never quite find it in me to spoil her dreams with reality, so instead – I’m taking ‘pen to paper’, and maybe she’ll happen upon this article (in an anonymous email sent to her inbox next Friday morning after she’s gone to work?)…
You know I’ve run a few restaurants in my time, and you know I hated every minute of it. You might recall that I spent most of my time stressing over staff, food safety inspections, broken freezers, pest control, and kitchen procedures. I knew that if those boxes weren’t ticked, we were halfway out of business. In the same way, the driving instructor knew our daughter would burn her clutch out within 2 months, I too know that you won’t be strolling blissfully along the shore, contentedly ignoring reports from your wait staff for the third time that week that a customer complained about seeing a cockroach scuttling across the floor. I also know you then won’t be able to sleep until you’ve arranged your pest inspections and treatment. And once that’s done, I know you’ll take to the un-named online review site (that may or may not rhyme with ‘help’) to see how much damage was done by the crawling terrors. And, once you’ve breathed your sigh of relief after you find your reputation still intact, your kitchen hand will text you to tell you he won’t be in tomorrow… or ever. And that will be the third one for the month.
In closing, my dear wife, please consider the idea of us taking a two week holiday by the sea, rather than signing up permanently for hell by the sea.
For anyone else considering making the leap into business, know this – it’s true that you are in charge, in control and no longer answerable to a boss. You will decide when you work. You will choose if you freelance independently or build a business that requires staff. Being free from corporate pressures can be a beautiful thing, but be prepared for the rarely-spoken-of another side of the coin – the client and customer demands, paying your staff, hiring your staff, firing staff, being on top of the accounting, managing sales and coming to grips with marketing your business. But it’s also true that you will be entirely responsible for your income – or lack of it – your pension, your healthcare and all of your financial affairs, along with that of everyone who works for you.
Research the industry you want to work in, the skills/certifications required, the investment you’ll make, and don’t take the leap until you’ve had meaningful conversations with those who have gone before you. If it’s a restaurant you dream of starting – go and talk to a restaurant owner and ask their honest and candid advice. You’ll get it. The internet can be your friend, but you cannot get the same value online as you can by sitting down with someone who’s lived the life you intend to live.
When you’re across the details of the challenge ahead of you, you’ll want to make a plan. Accurate planning means starting with a timeline of everything you need to do and organize before you start your new business, and turning that timeline into action steps. Delve into the details and the nitty-gritty of the business model and leave no stone unturned.
Ultimately, your ‘why’ will drive you. It will drive you into business, and it will drive you out of business. If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ll burn. Every successful entrepreneur is driven by an all-encompassing passion. I too dream of walks along the beach and want to be in total and ultimate control of my life. I have dreams and desires and I wish to fulfill them as much as I wish for my children to have a good life. But… why?
If your ‘why’ is strong enough, it will guide you through the would-be failures around the corner.
Don’t let the necessary minutiae prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Put the kitchen staff, the pest control, the food hygiene and the chopping board colors on your to-do list, then free your mind to spend time on your business strategy and growth.
Then, when you’re walking the beaches and eating at the bistros, you’ll remember that it was you who made it possible.
This content is sponsored by Jim Bevin.
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