Entrepreneurship – Look Before You Leap 23

Have you alentrepreneurship[1].jpgways dreamed of being the one that makes all the decisions – the one that calls all the shots? Are you tired of working for someone else? Before you take the plunge and jump into the deep end of the pool have you done the market research – put a business plan together – and really thought it through? Have you thought about the impact it will have on your family and your personal life?

Before you quit your job and strike out on your own you might be interested in my answers to a series of questions I was asked by a former business student of mine. I hope my answers provide you with some valuable insight into what it takes to be successful.

What made you decide to get into business for yourself? Timing – it really boiled down to timing. I knew I wanted to make a career change. I was beginning to feel stuck and unfulfilled. For me – it’s never been about how much money I made. Now don’t get me wrong – money is important – but if it’s your only reason for getting into business for yourself – then you’re going to be disappointed – especially in your first few years. Make sure you have enough money saved up to pay your bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over your head for at least a year.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting your own small business? I faced – and continue to face some of the same challenges everyone entrepreneur faces. Self-employed persons don’t have the luxury of a steady pay-cheque coming in. That puts a great deal of strain on your personal and family life. Everyone must give up something to get something. You need to decide what you and your family are willing to give up so that you can live your dream. Everybody needs to be on board. You need to be committed to doing whatever you need to do to be successful. If you and or your family aren’t willing to pay that price – then it’s best you stay where you are.

Any lessons learned that you can pass on to anyone wanting to start their own business? You need to be really passionate about what you are doing. You need to be prepared to work 80 hours a week for very little money. Have a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend money you haven’t generated yet. Find your niche Become an expert in something not a generalist in everything. What do you know or what product are you selling that someone else will pay you money to learn or have?

Food for thought: The two major reasons businesses fail are (1) Lack of management skills – and (2) Lack of financing. Most businesses fail within the first three years of start-up. (When I say most I mean over 90% fail) We have a tendency to overestimate revenue so divide your sales projections by half and run it by those numbers. You need to live and die by the numbers. Make business decisions – keep your emotions out of it. Always think worst-case scenario. That will help keep you grounded.

If I haven’t talked you out of getting into business for yourself after reading this article – then maybe – just maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make it to year five. I’ve been self-employed since 1998 and I’m still having fun. I wish you all the best.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit: https://briansmithpld.com

If They Could See Me Now

Choices 2Who Knew? Who knew that a high school drop out would become an award-winning entrepreneur, college professor, published author and a successful motivational speaker.   Certainly, not me – and likely not most of my friends and family. I was never a very good student. I was the class clown, always going for the laugh. I went to school to play sports, and when they took that away from me because my grades weren’t good enough – I quit – and got a job working retail. It was the sixties, life was easy. I was ok with hanging out in the slow lane, in no particular rush to get anywhere in a hurry. If you asked me back then what I wanted to do with my life I would have told you I wanted to be a musician or truck driver. I still think being a truck driver would be pretty cool.
#WorthRemembering … Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future if you change the here and now
If you aren’t happy with where you are – doing what you are doing – you have the power within you to change it. I truly believe that. For the most part, I am just like you. I don’t have super powers – I don’t have a magic wand to wave. I’m not any smarter than most. The only difference that might set me apart from you, is my desire to succeed at whatever the cost. I’m prepared to do whatever I need to do – to accomplish the goal. I believe that if it is worth doing – it is worth doing to excess. I think I inherited that gene from my Dad. He never did anything half-way.  He never let the lack of a formal education get in the way of achieving what he set out to do.
#WorthRemembering … Think it, Act it, Become it. When you change the habit you’ll change the result
What things are you doing right now that are getting in the way of you doing what you’d rather be doing? What do you need to start doing to get to where you want to be? What are you willing to give up to accomplish what you want to accomplish? If what you’re doing isn’t working for you – then you need to make changes. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. As Pete Drucker would say “Miracles are great, but they are so hard to come by.” Change is never easy.  Stepping outside your comfort zone is taking a leap of faith. Most people would rather back into the future. Most people aren’t comfortable flying without a net. If you are happy where you are – stay there. If not – it’s time for you to get busy. I guarantee you – you’ll amaze yourself.
Copyright (c) 2017. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced with permission.

Another Year Older – Not Necessarily Wiser

birthday-cake-2I gave up celebrating my birthday years ago. Once you reach my age, the thrill of blowing  out a bunch of candles looses its appeal. Besides, I’m so old you can’t get a cake big enough for all of them. I have my parents to thank for my good health because the only pills I take are vitamins. Birthdays for me are a time for reflection. A time to look back on the year that was and think about the lessons learned. I figure if you aren’t learning anything new you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to grow. It’s a time to plan for the year ahead. Life is a planned event. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. But mostly my birthday is a time to celebrate my accomplishments and think about all those things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:

  • A very special someone in my life who loves me – faults and all
  • Musical friends and the love of music.
  • What I get to do for a living
  • My son
  • My grandchild – who I get to hang out with
  • My ex-wife who is one of my closet friends
  • My siblings – Greg, Terry, Jerry, Randy and specially Laurie
  • Golf – playing and watching – but mostly playing
  • Movies
  • Red wine
  • Friday night date nights with my special girl Chloe
  • Quite alone time
  • Coffee
  • Spending time with the love of my life. Nothing in this world beats that
  • NFL football
  • College sports
  • A great italian restaurant
  • French fries with mayo
  • Hamburgers with bacon and cheese
  • Friends and family – too many to mention them all
  • Loving parents who are no longer with me but still watch over me
  • My girls – Minnie and Calley
  • Today
  • Tomorrow
  • Blue skies, green grass and sunshine
  • September weather
  • Four seasons, although I’m not really big on winter.
  • Being another year older – Not Necessarily Wiser

I could go on and on and on. I have a great deal to be thankful for. My life is still a mystery to me. There is no way I would have predicted being where I am at this juncture in my life. It’s been filled with both highs and lows. The lows have made me stronger. I know that there is nothing that I can’t overcome. The highs have taught me to be humble and not to get too full of myself.  Reality has a way of bringing you back down to earth.

What are you thankful for? In spite of all the craziness that is going on in your life, take a moment and make a list of all those things you are thankful for. You’ve got a lot going for you – you just may have forgotten them.

Copyright (c) 2016. Brian Smith – Voted Top 100 Leadership Expert, Management Consultant and Author. specializing in soft-skills training and leadership development. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit. https://briansmithpld.com