Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Your Marks, Get Set, Start-Up

I think I can summarize this in a few hundred words.  Starting your own business is everything you have heard it can be.


Several years back I worked for a large company, which I still work with actually, and the idea of starting my own company never, for a second, crossed my mind.
Then I worked somewhere less ideal and the idea began percolating.

What if I did this on my own? At first the thought was so perfect I wondered why no one had thought of it before? If you don’t like your job, quit and start your own business. No…quit and build an empire! Then I took a quick look around and saw the business landscape littered with corpses of event companies, boutique PR firms and every other start-up you can think of.

I did not jump into this rashly. I thought about it long and hard. I would be trading the relative security of a steady paycheque to go out on my own. I would not be accountable to one boss or maybe two anymore, but to as many bosses as I had clients.

I would not have to commute but I would have to get myself up every day and be ready for anything. I would not have to sit through pointless meetings, although those meetings do help to provide some structure to your day.

So what did it? What made me finally jump out the door and hope the guy on the ground had packed my parachute properly? Two things. I wanted to spend more time with my son and I wanted to be in a position where I took out what I put in.

This is not for everyone. There are stretches where there is little work and therefore little pay. There are times when cold-calling or cold-emailing potential clients is mind numbingly ineffective. It gets scary when clients have different payment schedules and you go weeks without an invoice paid.

But it has been worth it.

When I send out an invoice, no matter what the amount, I take a lot of pride in knowing I, and in turn the Razor team, did that. No logo, no one building the company for years before did it.  We did.

In the end the two most important things about starting your own business are discipline and drive. When times are slow, you shouldn’t be golfing or watching movies all day. Always have a couple of business books on the go. If you have free time, pick them up and start educating and motivating yourself. You should also be researching what your competition is doing, what accounts they have been winning and going after new business - all the time.

So far I can say it never gets less scary, it never gets less fun and it never gets less rewarding.

I always take heart in knowing that even though CEOs at Fortune 500 companies fly in corporate jets, it’s not their name on the plane.

But if you start your own company, it could be.


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