Even though the economy is challenging, you might be looking to change your career. Maybe you’ve even thought about opening your own business.
I’m with you. But tread carefully.
Common wisdom can be both helpful and dangerous.
For example, it tells us that most small businesses fail because they don’t have enough cash flow or are under-capitalized.
That’s true and helpful. If you understand that, you’ll take steps to make sure you have enough working capital and start up capital for your business. The last thing you want is to start up a business and end in trouble looking for business debt relief.
But other common wisdom is false and extremely dangerous to the health of your business.
What is the most dangerous advice?
Do what you love
Why is this such a terrible idea?
Because it encourages you to think of your business as anything but a business.
When you think this way, your business becomes your passion. Your art. Your love.
You might love giving haircuts but that doesn’t mean you know how to run your own hair salon. It doesn’t even mean you’re a good barber.
You might love playing guitar, but there are plenty of starving musicians who can’t manage their own lives let alone a music store.
Do you love reading? Does that qualify you to own a book store?
I have seen more people fail at small business because they Ã¬did something they lovedÃ® rather than for any other reason.
Am I saying you should continue doing something you hate just because you make good money?
Am I saying you should abandon your dreams?
Not in the least.
I’m saying there are alternatives.
I’m saying dream big, but be practical.
Keep your eyes open and be realistic. If the universe tells you something, my advice is to listen.
Turn that (false) common wisdom into something powerful and productive.
Instead of doing what you love, love what you do.
Find something in what you do that you love.
Let that part of your work be the expression of your true self.
If you are a lawyer, but would really rather be an artist… Can you find something about the way you practice law that is artistic? I’m sure it’s not that tough.
Or… Can you find a way to be the legal representative for artists?
I met a man who was a wonderful CPA, but he hated it. Let’s call him Jim.
He was bored to death and was desperate to find a better job. But he was cursed with being really skilled at accounting. To make matters worse, he made a great deal of money at the same time.
While he couldn’t stand auditing or doing tax returns, he loved giving strategic business advice to business owners.
He looked for interesting small business ideas but had no idea what business to open.
Then he realized that he should become a business consultant. That way he balanced his skill set with desire to be creative and resourceful. He maintained his tax practice but built his consulting business slowly until he could focus most of his efforts doing that.
Can you leverage your current job and skill set into an area you enjoy?
You may or may not be able to do this. Not everyone is in a position to do so. I understand that.
If you still want to pursue a small business in a brand new arena, go for it. But make sure you are going to love the entire business, not just a small part of it.
For example, when you open your own shop, you’re going to need to do budgeting for your small business. You’re going to have to track your receipts and spending. You’ll need to learn about health insurance. How do you feel about managing people? You’ll have to be a good manager too.
You see, my experience tells me that there really is no free lunch.
Some people will tell you they are blessed. They say they love everything about their jobs. The rest of us are honest – we realize we have to compromise. Find a balance between career satisfaction and financial security.
If I’m right, if we do have to compromise anyway, why not compromise doing something we know we are good at?
I am absolutely convinced that you can find something to love about your work no matter what it is. If not, I’m sure you can leverage your skill set into something you can enjoy.
Do you agree? How have you handled this dilemma?