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I’ve been replying to a lot of Public Relations (PR) requests on (HARO) Help A Reporter Out for my shop, Affordable Coin Shop. Matt Alderton, put out a request asking, “Should You Start Your Own Business?”
I’m writing an article about business ownership for a national trade association’s quarterly magazine. The article is all about people who spent years working for other people in their profession until they finally decided to go out on their own by establishing their own firm. To help me write the article, I’m looking to interview small business experts and advisors — small business consultants, authors, academics, partners (e.g., accountants, banks, attorneys, etc.), etc. — who can share with me, based on their experience working with entrepreneurs, what the risks and rewards of business ownership are, as well as common misconceptions about business ownership, resources available to new start-ups and best practices/advice for succeeding. No phone pitches, please.
I try to keep my replies short, but this topic is so hard to keep it short. In truth though, I don’t think every idea is a great business Idea. You have to do your research which is vital for any business to survive. Below is my response. Feel free to comment, I’m not easily insulted so don’t feel like you have to be on eggshells with your answers. Also feel free to give your own response to this question as well as any tips you’d like to share! (PS: Thanks!)
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people and companies over the years, but it was those horrible ones that made me want to be my own boss. Many times it felt like I busted my butt and only my bosses reaped the rewards. Granted a few of them reaped their well-earned reward for cutting corners by being fired or demoted.
When the opportunity arose to work as a business owner with my family I jumped at the opportunity. Sadly being partners with family has its ups and downs. Society seems to have this image of business owners are all super rich, don’t pay their fair share in taxes and will screw over employees in a heart beat. Since my parents had been entrepreneurs most of my life I knew better and what some of the risks were. The risks I knew I’d be taking were possible lulls in a business where sales are not so high, funding, getting loans, employees (which we never did acquire any) and sometimes forcing yourself and your family to go without just to make things run. The risks of doing business with family/partners I didn’t foresee were conflicting personalities, dictatorship and inequality in authority, as well as pay. We made a lot of mistakes, but the largest one was a plan for what happens when 2 of the 3 partners gets sick.
Since my parents got sick I am now in business for myself. Now all those risks almost sound bad enough to not want to start a business but the freedom to make one’s own choices far outweighs all that. It’s allowed me to set my own schedule so I can spend time with my family. Although having to restart from nothing has been hard it has also allowed me to do events and participate in helping others in my community. Sadly working for others never really allowed me to make those choices without consulting a manager first.
If I was to give advice to others starting up, I’d say if you’re partnering with someone always have written agreements. Get some basic business training and development systems. DON’T be a workaholic, take time out for yourself. It is ok if you didn’t finish it today but don’t procrastinate.
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