Owning and running my own business is what really motivates me, I love every minute of it – even the stressful ones when cashflows is tight, or the frustrating ones when Shane just isn’t doing what he’s told! I love it. It’s not as much about controlling my destiny as it is about the stimulation and challenge – and the unique opportunity to use a whole raft of skills I have developed over time in a constructive, productive and satisfying way.
That love and my experiences (good and bad) just ooze out like verbal diarrhea at times, I give people free advice all the time, whether they are really open to it or not. Shane has almost given up on suggesting I turn this free advice into a business mentoring business – almost.
Seriously though, we love advice, we enjoy talking to other business owners and sharing experiences, tips and tricks – any advice is good advice whether it’s something you can apply or tuck away for a future experience or chock up to “we would never make that mistake”, it’s still good advice and worth really listening. So this blog series (yep I plan to write a whole series of these) is my way of sharing our experiences – the good and the bad ones.
Back to the topic of this post, what kind of business starter are you? what are your motives?
When I meet someone dreaming of starting their own business, or who has taken the big mental hurdle to step away from being an employee, I usually ask them a range of questions to understand their motives and driver for making that change. In my experience to date, based on their motivations, I can categorise people starting their own businesses into three broad categories, these three categories reflect the motivations of the owners and their vision, there are also hundreds of blogs out there asking the question what type of business owner are you reflecting on your style or role as well:
Opportunistic Contractors – people who have taken the step to “go contracting” moving from stable employment to hourly rate commercial arrangements; then have moved into sub-contracting one, two, 5, 10, 20+ people through their contracting company while still working full-time as a contractor themselves. This can be a very profitable model, contracting rates are lucrative in themselves then adding an additional $10, $20, $100, $200+ per hour for all of the tickets being clipped adds up to a very good income. This collection of independent associates all contracting through one prime contractor have low overheads, a low risk profile and growth is only limited by the prime contractors ability to sell others into contracting engagements, or to the extent their subcontractors remain loyal.
Opportunistic Contractor’s motives are usually purely financial, making hay while the sun shines kind of model, they haven’t set out to build a sustainable business, are usually unable to sign outcome based or large project engagements and don’t enter into high risk / high reward fixed or capped price projects. We think juggling a full time hourly rate job and selling others at the same time can be a little dodgy at times unless it’s transacted transparently. Opportunistic Contractors can, and do, evolve into Dabbling or Committed Entrepreneurs.
Dabbling Entrepreneurs – we all have one (or three) of these people in our lives. People with fantastic ideas in the pipeline, some in their infancy of execution, others limping along on the back-burner and others still in an extensive business planning phase. Dabbling Entrepreneurs are usually thinkers who will make their millions one day if they just get one of their ideas off the ground. Some of these business owners haven’t quite made the mental hurdle required to leave their stable employment and back themselves, or have gone contracting but are unable to take the financial risk yet or others just haven’t found the right business partner (my next blog will be on finding the right business partner) who will filter and execute on the brilliant ideas.
Dabbling Entrepreneurs motives are usually product or idea driven, they see the opportunity to develop a company around their product or service, they are always passionate about their idea. Some of these enterprising people have loads of irons in the fire while they remain in their stable employment. Sadly however, many business starters in this camp appear to fail or give up – perhaps due to a lack of time, commitment, drive or focus? or I do wonder whether it was just an opportunity lost? taking too long to execute? Others do successfully transition their dabbling business into a Committed Entrepreneur business and make those millions.
Committed Entrepreneurs – where the rubber hits the road, committed entrepreneurs have quit their day jobs and started a company with a viable plan to grow and build, taken huge financial risks – backing themselves to succeed – hiring and developing staff, spending capital, investing for the long game. Committed Entrepreneurs are business owners who make things happen, they invest all of their time and energy in getting their venture off the ground then growing it into a sustainable business. This is the camp Shane and I fall into – I am sure our staff think we should be “committed” too at times – it’s hard hard work but can be so rewarding.
Committed Entrepreneurs are subject to losing focus often chasing the deal and trying to be all things to all people, over-extending and getting speed wobbles, sadly even the most committed entrepreneurs sometimes fail too. The rest of this blog series will be full of what we have learned to date – and there is just so much to learn. Top 3 pointers for those embarking on lives as Committed Entrepreneurs – decide what you are knitting and stick to it; have a grand plan (Big Hairy Audacious Goals); and remember it’s about having FUN! you’ll need many more pointers along the way but these three should help get you started.
So which camp do you sit in? what are your motives? once you have that sorted you’ll find it easier to take the next steps. I have promised this will be a series so if there is something you’re stuck on? not sure how to take the next step? feel free to ask (via the comments or email me) and I will try to cover that topic in another blog sooner vs later.
Good luck! and remember to have fun. Vic