This is how it can all get started..... You are an awesome plumber/carpenter/writer/engineer/etc. and you’ve been working for a company while learning your craft. You have been working for the company for a few years. It’s going OK, you make a decent wage, but now, you’ve got this niggling feeling in the back of your head that just keeps poking and poking…. And each time it pokes it makes you ask yourself… “Why am I working this hard for somebody else so that they can make a fortune on what I do?”
Finally, on a Sunday afternoon, while you’re out driving with the family (in your 1993 Dodge Caravan) the owner of the company pulls up beside you at the lights (In his brand new $120,000 pick up truck with 2 Jet-Skis on the back). He smiles and waves graciously and sincerely and you both leave this shared moment as the light turn green
I am not working my a*s off for another month for this company so he can buy himself another truck, another cottage on a lake and spend half his winter in the Bahamas
SO, YOU DO IT….
3 weeks later, you pull the pin on your safe, predictable job and you leap off the cliff into self employment and start your journey as an entrepreneur. Well done. How hard can it be?
Well… not so tough (at first). Your neighbors have been asking if you could just help with “this” when you have time. your buddy and his wife have been waiting until you had time to do “that”. So, you wander over to both, with your new business card in hand, and you let them know you are now in business.
You tackle those simple jobs and you get paid – Maybe not as much as your old company would have charged, but you gave them the “good guy-buddy deal”. Perfect. Two days later the phone rings and it’s a friend of the neighbor who could use you for a few days…
AND NEXT THING YOU KNOW…
You are off and running! And then you’re running….and running…and running. You haven’t had 30 seconds to do any of the BUSINESS work. You have no accounting system set up, you have no GST number, you’re not sure what its costing you to do these jobs, you think you may need to hire somebody, the phone won’t stop ringing, you’ve got a mound of returns that you can’t manage to organize, you haven’t invoiced in 3 months (because you know it will be 5 nights till 4 in the morning to do it), you can’t plan a weekend off, you’re not sure if you should sponsor a hole in the golf tournament, your kids can’t quite remember who you are……
AND THEN YOU REMEMBER…
You are a plumber. You are a great plumber. But, those two facts in NO WAY make you a business man/woman. And that is perfectly fine. But without realizing, you start out thinking that, by some divine right, you should know everything about running a business. You won’t. You can’t.
GET HELP RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE
NOTICE: the following two paragraphs are a) unabashed b) self-serving c) wise
Start by hiring a business coach/consultant/mentor. They are proven business experts. They can get you started off on the right foot… set up the systems, procedures and strategies and keep you on the right track. They can be the ongoing resource when you run into issues, have questions, need a nudge or a crack on the knuckles.
Set yourself up to be an AWESOME master of your craft with a life outside of your work. I can almost predict that, if you are young, you will tell yourself you can manage ALL of it by yourself. Well… you might be able to manage it (kinda) on your own for a while, but I guarantee that the stress on you, your family, your relationships and your cash flow will eventually cause you to buckle. There is no need for that to happen. The cost of that help is peanuts, in the grand scheme of things, for the peace of mind and confidence it will provide.