Business is and never was for the faint of heart. Most small businesses don’t make it. 20% fail in the first year, 30% in the second year and 50% by the fifth year, and 70% have failed by their tenth year.
With all that bad news and the statistics against you, why would you even want to try it? The short answer is that small business owners are cut from a different kind of cloth.
Without hesitation I can say that every foray into being an employee has failed miserably for me. I am a hard worker, usually self-motivated, insist on doing a good job, etc., etc., but I have a fatal flaw….I like to do things my way.
I learned early on that there was more than one right way to do things. My father always thought his way was the only way (which is probably very typical). Being an employee means doing things the way your boss says to do them. That just never worked very well for me. The wheels of progress can turn very slowly. When I see a way to make something better, I want to fix it and fix it right now! I don’t want a meeting, long discussions, debate, checking in with management or any of that. When I see what needs to be done, I want to get there ASAP.
All of that makes me a terrible employee but good at being self-employed.
And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My father was self-employed so I grew up seeing the struggles and the freedom of working for yourself. Being self-employed means working constantly while at the same time being able to take a day off whenever you like. Well, kind of. There are no PTO or sick days so no work means no pay. I like to come and go as I please. Probably no one will ever push me harder than me.
There are certain things that you need to succeed. I call them the three P’s.
- Patience – Success will take time and push you to your limit. A lot of businesses fail because people give up too soon.
- Persistence – If you take no as the first and final answer, then self-employment is not for you. Every no is one step closer to finding a yes. Most people see why something won’t work. I seek to find reasons why things will work.
- Perseverance – Being self-employed can mean a great deal of anxiety, worry, and even suffering. Are you willing to go without and make sacrifice to make your business work? If you are not, then you should probably keep your job.
I have not been good at the three P’s at times. Most recently I started a T-Shirt and Hat company after getting a licensing deal with Riversong Guitars. I really thought it would just take off and fly. That did not happen and I almost gave up.
A couple of days ago two large orders came in breathing life into this little enterprise. It just reminded me about the three P’s. Now is the time to dig in and try a little harder.
The three P’s apply not only to business but to many things in life. The only thing that guarantees failure is giving up! As long as you hang in there and keep trying there is always a chance to succeed. Never give up.