Owning your own business is a dream that many people share, but it is one that many people misunderstand. Owning a business has all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood but it also has all the work and sweat of Dirty Jobs. Before you take the leap and spend your life’s savings on a “golden opportunity,” take a few minutes to read about the myths and realities I faced in owning my own business.
For the record, I’ve owned two very successful businesses. One was a shaved ice business in a college town, the other was a very large and thriving lumberyard in a much bigger city. I learned a great deal from both experiences.
Myth #1 – Life is easier when you’re your own boss and you own the business.
Reality – Nope. Not a chance. You become the face of your company. Anything that goes wrong, or that doesn’t go perfectly right is 100 percent your fault. You have to fix it. If one of your employees drives your $45,000 delivery truck across a newly poured concrete driveway and cracks it to pieces, you get to pay for it. If your credit manager mistakenly writes down the wrong lien date on the legal paperwork, you get to eat the loss. If you screw up on your taxes, you don’t get to blame anyone else. If someone claims they got sick at your restaurant, I hope you have insurance and a good attorney. You get to pay both of those bills, too.
My experience – You DO get to make the decisions when you’re the boss, but owning your own business is not a ticket to sit in an air conditioned office all day, surfing the Internet and ordering people around. It is a lot of hard work and you will do the majority of it. It requires a great deal of commitment to your customers, your employees, and your vendors. You need all three to be successful.