You had decided to start your own small business because you are the “best” in what you do for living , than anybody else around. That’s great and I am happy for you , but before you put add in news paper saying : “John Smith landscaping” owner operated , I suggest you think a little bit about yourself and yours personality . The “wrong” estimate of yourself can easily turn in a “nightmare” and it can happen sooner , than you think. Let me explain…..It is different if you start to run your business as an Entrepreneur or owner of a “trade” . Phone call about your add will come in no time , that’s the easy part , then the very first client will show his yard , start complain about the current Lawn Care service and its “outrages” prices and asks what can you do for him . Wow , what an opportunity !!!! You “under bid” the price , next day you make the yard look like a million dollar bill and most likely don’t make a “buck”. It is the first customer and a “show” yard for any future ones , so who cares . It is a good start , Right ? Of course right , if you are proud of your “trade” , there is nothing else you would like to do for rest of your “misserable” life more , than digging a holes for plants and on the morning of Thanksgiving Day ride your lawnmower around your client house because his “spoiled” daughter is visiting from college and his even more “spoiled” wife is making a welcome party for all the snobs in the beautiful neighborhood called “Gated Community”. I can very easily imagine the client will politely ask you to be the “parking” man for the evenning , not that he does not know , you have your own kids and would like to have the dinner with them , on the contrary , he knows that the $ 20.00 tip you’ll get extra, will pay for the “lunches in the school and you have no other choice , than to take it . And you know why ? Because the very first happy client most probably supply your list of clients with all his friends and you have to “serve” him well , otherwise he call his buddies and the next day , you have no clients at all . Again , that’s nice a dandy , as long , as you don’t mind on your “thombstone” words like : ” Here lays John , the hardest working man we knew , died in the middle of his beloved “friend” and client “flowerbed “.
In case , somewhere in the back of your head entrepreneurial spirit is hidden and you just don’t know about it yet , you had just signed your own “death sentence” and escape of the “death row” will cost you everything you “work” for so far…I am not necessary talking about money here , I am talking about the disapointment , when you find out , that the clients , for years calling themself your friends and telling you “Sure we want to see you succeed” , at the moment you send to do the job one of your well trained emloyees , start calling you : Where are you ? I hired you , not some “strange” guy and I need my “hedges” trimmed NOW!!!”
I experienced that feeling , realized I still have a dreams and in order to save them for myself I had gathered the “courage” one day and just told them : “I am busy thinking about the future of my business and I never really liked to trim the “hedges”anyway. If you don’t like my guy , hire somebody else!!!” “what is wrong with you , do you call “Michael Dell ” when your piece of “crap” PC breaks down??”
I got fired , and you know what ? I feel relief and I knew ……….the entrepreneur “monster” has been reborn . “Gosh” , that felt great !!!
In this story , I did not suggested how to prevent that situation , I trust , you are able to figure it out for yourself and also because , there are alot of people happy and very successfull in being the best in what they do for living , doctors , lawyers , dentist , web designers , gardeners , plumbers . carpenters , they enjoy it and make a pretty good living and that’s good . I am just not completely sure , if they ever get to really feel the magic of being an entrepreneur . I know , I would not.
P.S. From being a “friend” , I had become an arrogant “son of a b..” to some , but in order to keep the story fair , I must say , there is one exception, from client-friend our relationship evolved to friend-investor and I am always prepared , when his beautiful family needs to have yard makeover for party , to call one of my best emloyee to do it and when not busy “thinking” , sometimes I still do it even myself , just to remind to me , that I used to be the best in what I did for living and nothing is going to ever change that………However , being an entrepreneur is a way of a lifestyle for me now and when you make things right , you can make a pretty good living too..
When I walk on the evening through the city streets and see a guy in a “Columbo” style overcoat all smiling and talking to himself , while sitting on the curb of the walkway , I like to ask him : “Who are You??” If I hear an answer : “I am just a dreamer” , I give him my card and tell him : “Good , keep dreamming , when you get ready to turn your dream to reality , give me a call , I see , If I can help you anyhow…”