The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Published on Nov 18, 2009
Read 'Happily Jobless' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Do you ever feel like you're bombarded with messages that sound like the Stuart Smalley approach to starting a business; "You're good enough, smart enough, and darn it, people will like you!".... Um, yeah.
That's all nice to hear, but what about information addressing the real underlying thoughts of a lot of new, or would-be entrepreneurs: fear. It's quite scary to envision life without a job, or an income. Especially when it might not always be by choice. The official US unemployment rate passed the symbolic 10 percent mark jumping to 10.2 percent in October, the highest level in 26 years.
It's daunting when you hear the classic statistic "80% of new businesses fail in the first year...", and you may even be dealing with the fears and concerns of your family members along with your own.
So how do people keep getting over these fears? How come, in spite of all the stats and worries, people continue to start businesses of their own? I think some people are lucky enough to realize they are happily jobless.
Seriously. You need to get to a point where you relish in the idea of being jobless. And by "job" I mean the traditional corporate job as someone else's employee. Once you hit a place where you are unafraid to be without this kind of job a world of possibilities opens up.
First off you need to redefine the word failure. Take for instance an article I recently read by Steve Pavlina. He takes that old "80% of businesses fail" stat and puts a whole new spin on it—so do 80% of all new jobs. Think about it. How many people do you know that only stay at their traditional "job" for 1-3 years? If they quit or get laid off is it considered a failure? No. So why would you consider a small business that may only last that long a failure?
The other side of that fear-coin is the income side. That can be overcome with a high level of planning and discipline. The nice thing about starting your own business is it isn't something you suddenly spontaneously begin. You don't quit on Friday and wake up Monday with a new business (or, at least, you probably shouldn't). And even if you are laid off and find yourself as an "accidential entreprenuer", there are still ways to budget creatively with any severance package or unemployment funds.
To help assuage your fear(s) you should take the time to plan, research, and budget. Maybe you need to start saving up now, so you can start your business in a year. That will give you the chance to set up a nest egg to tide you over till your new business can make you some money. Maybe you create a plan where you will still be someone else's employee part time, while being your own boss the other half of the time, to accommodate your existing financial needs. If you are laid off prior to being able to save sufficiently there are several ways to find investment capital, as I've covered in a previous post. If you take the time to plan and prepare, the lack of money fear is one that can easily be conquered.
So I think to be happily jobless takes a bit of courage. And being courageous doesn't mean that fear is entirely gone. It means you find a way to face it through redefining success and proper planning, and then proceed in spite of it. Hmm, I guess Stuart Smalley couldn't have said it any better.