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320px-Hochosterwitz_01052004_04A follow up to last week’s post, and roughly a third of Chapter One of our Small Business Survival Guide, SBT brings you the answer to the question posed last week:


So why do people pursue the foolish pursuit of business ownership?

After working with hundreds of people who took the plunge, some common traits appear.

  • “I hated my boss. Well, actually I hated all of them. Figured best thing do was be my own boss.”
  • “I was getting sick and tired of building someone else’s kingdom and then watching helplessly as they screw it up. Time to build my own.”
  • “This idea is going to make me a ton of money. More than this white collar crap.”
  • “Don’t want to stick around here and wait to be laid off. Better to make my own way.”

Truthfully, none of those is an unhealthy motivation. Interestingly, I’ve never encountered an owner who declared, “I want to build this business to change the world.” Hell, even the non-profits we work with don’t talk like that. It’s usually more personal than that, like “it frustrated me to no end to see how these companies just go waltzing into another country thinking that they are somehow doing them a favor.”

I fell under the ‘build my own kingdom’ category … and my reasons haven’t changed much over the years, even after personally undergoing the six-levels of hell outlined earlier. But more on that later.

So what if you decide that you aren’t cut out for this?

First of all, don’t be too hard on yourself. Doing anything amazingly well to support yourself is rare and commendable, regardless of the pecking order.

Secondly, if your current situation is so bad that it inspired you to pursue entrepreneurship then just redirect that momentum into one of the following:

  • Get out of the office and into the field. Mike Rowe, the host of the wildly popular Dirty Jobs, started a national campaign to convince parents to encourage their children to skip college and go to a trade school instead. I must admit after watching his TEDx talk, I considered jumping ship myself. And then I quickly remembered that I have pursued skilled trades before – to be blunt, it was embarrassing.
  • Get out of the field and into the office. Go back to school and tackle something mentally challenging for most. Engineers, computer programmers, nurses, doctors will always be in demand. Why? Because that stuff is hard.
  • Find a new job. Try something new. One of my happiest jobs was managing a kitchen clean-up crew in high school. Dirty, hard, sweaty work, but I loved it. Wouldn’t want to do that forever, but I still find myself plowing through a pile of dishes to clear my head when the computer screen starts to erode my soul.
  • Beg for your old job back. Humbling, yes, but sometimes the prospect of the pain and suffering of owning all of your own mistakes makes the reality of working in an environment where someone else pays for them less foreboding.
  • Go on welfare. Not ideal, but some people are just not cut out to work for a living.

Still think you are cut out for this?

Fine then. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Stay tuned!