My cheek to the kitchen floor I said, “Dad. There’s a metal thing hanging down here. Isn’t that what you’ve been looking for?”
My dad, also on his knees, extracted his mid-section from between the washing machine and the wall. He looked slowly at my mother and then to where my finger was pointing. “Yeah, that’s it,” he calmly said.
In the next three minutes, he was able to complete the job on which he had already spent an hour.
My dad was not a prideful man. He accepted the obvious truth when he saw it, regardless of the source. Today, if I were a 10-year-old little helper and my dad was a professional businessman, I’d say, “Dad. Independent business , isn’t that what you’ve been looking for?”
He’d extract himself from between his job and his financial obligations. Then he’d look at my mother, look at where I was pointing, evaluate the subject, and then say, “Yeah, that’s it.” Then he’d take action and work over the next five years to do what he hadn’t been able to do in the previous 30.
Job’s fail 98% of the time. People come out at the end of a 40 year career either dead or broke – or both. Most people stay in that system because it’s all they know. Our parents told us to get a good education, get a good job, and then work hard. That advice starts the wheels down that road. Then we get a paycheck and security, and translate that into debt and obligations. From then on there is never a time when we think we can break the cycle of paycheck-obligation in order to start a business – even if we were so inclined. It takes repeated corporate beatings to precipitate an eye opening.
There are times, when our economy slumps, that a great awareness takes place. Like a bear awaking from a winter’s nap, professionals rub their eyes and realize that they can, rather need to, get out of their redundant, sleepy day and make some serious changes. Often, these people are forced to review their options. The job they considered secure was considered excess in the eyes of their company. These mid- to late-career professionals have finally experienced this type of loss enough times to be ready to make a career adjustment. Like the bear emerging from his cave, he is focused and determined. He has a hunger that will be fed through the product of his effort; effort that is in distinct contrast to the long winter’s sleep of a job.
“We’ve all talked about going back to a ‘corporate’ job. The thing is; this is a great life. Why would I want to give it up?” asked Jennifer Overholt, an independent consultant. Working for yourself is empirically and intuitively the superior choice for creating a living when compared to a job. The joy of the independent “is in the work they do and in doing it without the burden of managing anyone but themselves. They own what they earn, but more importantly, they own their decisions.” I will not detail the woes of the economy, the fickleness of corporate leadership, or the constraints of a job. I’d rather stay focused on the positives of working independently, while showing you how to overcome the weaknesses of this approach.
I have spoken with thousands of people who dream of being independent. They want to join the estimated half a million annual home-based business start-ups and 8.6 million independent contractors nationally. Most are coming from high level positions in business that demand extraordinary hours and effort, frequent travel away from home, and a limited income. Granted, for most of these people, $200,000 defines limited income. They were looking for the antithesis to their current situation. In general, they wanted to control their schedule, work near home, have unlimited income potential, and the security of not having a job that is kept at the pleasure of their employer.
Simply the opportunity to take this step is something most professionals miss during their job-hibernation. People without a college degree start over 71% of businesses . People with a higher education, years of earnings and experience, and family stability should be leveraging those attributes to craft the exceptional life they want. They are infinitely more qualified to run a business properly when compared to a high school educated, blue collar worker. Our white-collar wearing peers, however, often ignore this truth because of the habit of a job, a substantial income, and insufficient self-esteem that won’t allow them to risk their security on their own abilities.
One of the weaknesses of an independent business is that it does primarily depend on the abilities and efforts of the owner. More importantly, however, it depends on their determination combined with their abilities. There are two different issues here, abilities and determination. You can control both.
Is Your Education an Advantage?
Your education and experience are advantages to you because you have a larger foundation on which to place new information. Accepting that, when you choose a business , opt for something in which you already have abilities, or which you can learn effectively, very quickly. Don’t try to learn a complicated product or service while you learn how to run a business . You need to be able to focus your effort in the moneymaking activities and necessary administrative procedures that your business demands.
Your determination needs to be like the hungry bear’s. You have to remove failure as an option. If the bear fails, it dies. You’ve never had to persevere as you may have to in your own business . Losses typically come out of your personal pocket, off of your dinner table, out of your children’s college fund. You can’t syndicate the decision making or responsibility. Stress is carried on the shoulders of perseverance like an overweight child. The rewards you are looking for are ONLY available for those who will shoulder that burden over time.
Ownership. Do it or Stop Complaining.
For some of you, ownership is a foreign concept. You’ve always worked for a company who owned something. You always looked at the owners as the fortunate people who make all the real money while you do the hard work for a set salary. Here’s a secret. Owners ALWAYS take risks and make investments BEFORE they make the real money. The owners of the company you work for spent money and did work BEFORE you were hired. They risked the loss of that money and time BEFORE they saw a return. They had anxiety over their decision to leave their safe paycheck behind BEFORE they made their business work. You have the same choice before you now. You must decide to persevere.
Even your effort alone cannot guarantee success. You need funding. It is always intriguing to me to speak with someone who is a high-level professional who doesn’t have the funding to start even a modest business . To independently start a home based business it is going to cost $20,000 to $50,000. These self-professed successes can’t pull that money out of a liquid investment to make a start. Most are struggling financially, even after a decade or more in a high paying job, and yet they still thrash about with the decision to go in a different direction. I’ll spell it out again – Jobs don’t work. The proof of this lies within their own experience and they continue to resist seeing it.
Funding is critical for all start up costs such as office space, equipment, inventory and advertising. It is just as vital to have money for the time period prior to becoming profitable. If this is not available from your personal funds, you must find an outside source. It makes sense that you want to keep your costs down while providing the product or service you envisioned in your business plan. “Operating out of the home has always been fabulous for me. It gives a business owner a financial advantage because it really keeps your cost down, and that allows you to funnel most of your cash flow into growth activities that matter,” says Sheila Lovell. Mrs. Lovell has already founded and sold one successful home-based business and is currently building and profitable in her second.
Financing is usually an issue, and the ability to work out of your home will drastically cut your capital need. If you choose a business that requires financing in the range of $70,000 the way Sheila’s did, you may find it difficult to go through traditional sources due to banking regulations and banker’s preconceptions of what a ‘real’ business is. According to a banker with Capital Connection, you will need, “to work very hard on a business plan that will document a company’s strengths and potential.”
A business plan is your road map to success. It should be as comprehensive and reasonable as possible in order to predict the time, costs, and effort that you need to outlay in order to become profitable. You must research the market, determine overhead, predict the product acceptance, and figure out how you’ll get the word out. The pleasantness of your move onto this new path is directly proportional to the amount of forethought and refinement in your business plan.
Business Opportunities and More
The dilemma now is that the knot in your stomach is balanced by the excitement in your mind. You know you have to put action behind the intellectual decision to start your own business , and you know it won’t be easy.
You can now see why the Business Opportunity section in USA Today is so large and why magazines are dedicated solely to the market of people looking to own their own business . The draw to these types of businesses is their turnkey nature. They are packaged so you simply need to add effort and it will succeed. These businesses level the playing field for everyone. Inc. magazine discovered that the “key difference between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs isn’t personality traits; It’s that entrepreneurs somehow have learned to take the steps required to set up a business .” Business Opportunities have done these start-up steps for you.
You don’t have to create a business or business plan from the ground up in order for it to be successful. You can evaluate the business plans of others, examine track records, and pick from among the best businesses in the world. It is perfectly reasonable for you to pay for and take what others have emplaced, and create a successful business from that point forward. The legitimate offers are designed to reduce the knot and increase the excitement.
Business Opportunities are businesses and business plans that have been developed through several different methods. Many have grown out of experience in the field, while others are created from a completely new idea.
An appropriate business for you will lower or eliminate the obstacles I’ve mentioned. It will train you thoroughly on simple, proven products or methods, perhaps some in which you already have experience. This will shorten the learning curve and allow you to focus on building your business and completing the administrative details that are always necessary.
In order to remove some of the stress of being independent, ongoing support and networking with peers is available. Overholt complained, “I had no one to bounce my ideas off of.” Typically business opportunities have a developed community of business owners with whom you can learn and grow. Terri Lonier, President of a consulting company warns, “A mistake many entrepreneurs and free-lancers make is thinking they can go it alone.” It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of community and support as it relates to business and success. I consider the high level of community that people experience at a job one of the major reasons why they stay in that situation. Even when times are bad, at least we’re all in it together. Support and connection will be a significant strength in a business opportunity.
Surprisingly Low Cost
The cost should be reasonable to start and maintain. The start-up costs of business opportunities have risen dramatically over the past four years with many starting in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Interestingly, some of the most powerful ones are still below $15,000, and the best one isn’t even a business opportunity, it’s a school. Beyond Business School, Inc. keeps its costs low while teaching people a unique method for successfully becoming an independent consultant. They have a different approach that I don’t have time to detail. They educate people in how to run their own business and give them the tools to do so, without limiting their products, services or suppliers. Pretty impressive model and one that is very attractive for the professional who wants to maintain control.
Even though the cost of a business opportunity will typically be much less than starting from the ground up, you still need to make a plan for cash flow. Also be aware of any additional costs you might incur to become profitable. For standard storefront type businesses the sell price is based on some derivative of the annual gross sales of that business . Purchasers of those businesses don’t plan on actually making money for two to three years. Evaluate the reasonableness of the business opportunity’s one-time start up cost based on a conservative estimate of your monthly earnings once you are up and running. A good rule of thumb is that they should be about the same.
Considering the benefits of lower cost, available expertise, and a short launch timeline, I consider business opportunities a rich field of choices for the person who is seriously looking to safely move into the ranks of the self-employed. The best advice I’ve seen for when and what type of business to start comes from Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Computer Corp. “I’m not really a market timer when it comes to entrepreneurship. I think you do it when it feels like it’s time to do it. … Find a really large market – or one that’s going to be large – that’s inefficient, and you come up with a breakthrough way of delivering value to customers that nobody has ever done before.”
Business Opportunities give you have a great chance for the life-style you desire if you are willing to put your education and effort behind a proven plan. When will you be a business owner?
To learn more about Brace E. Barber, please visit http://www.noexcuseleadership.com. To learn more about the recommended solution, Beyond Business School, Inc. Please visti http://www.beyondbusinessschool.org.