When you turn on the TV and you hear that 5 million people have lost their jobs since the beginning of this recession, I’m sure those of us that still have one are thankful to say the least. But, is it truly a blessing to be trapped in a job that you hate, working for a bunch of people that you can’t stand? Not really. And you wonder why it’s so hard to get up in the morning? It’s great to be thankful that you can put food on the table, but is that all that you want out of the deal?
Who’s the Boss?
No, I’m not referring to the 80’s sitcom where Tony Danza used to chase around Judith Light like he didn’t have any sense. Although, who knew that Alyssa Milano, Tony’s daughter on the show, would turn out so smoking hot that she has grown men watching “Charmed” just to get a glimpse of her? I sure didn’t see that coming…but I digress.
I’m talking about taking a look at who is really the boss of you. Do you have a career rather than just a job? [If you are not sure…you definitely have a job.] How much control do you have over the direction of your career? Over how much money you make? If you don’t like the answers to these questions, it might be time to strike out on your own.
I know, I know, this isn’t what you’ve been taught…until now. If you are anything like me, your parents told you that the formula for success was Study Hard + Good Grades = Good College and Good Grades + Good College = Good Job. This equation is true. But you know by now that I don’t want you to have a GOOD JOB, I want you to have a GREAT LIFE. In order to do that, I think it’s time you started thinking about starting your own business. Why work yourself to death making someone else rich?
Where is Your Leverage?
It is very difficult for most people to get wealthy because their only source of income is their hourly wage or salary. But there is only one you and there are only 24 hours in the day. Sure, if you have a unique skill (doctors, attorneys, athletes) that someone is willing to pay top dollar for, you can use that model. If not, you need to find some sort of leverage to help you build real wealth.
Starting a business helps you get that leverage. There is a limit to what you can sell on your own, but your income is unlimited once you hire a bunch of people that can sell for you. The fact is either you get rich on the backs on someone else, or someone else gets rich off of yours. Period. Which one of those is your favorite position?
Sure, I work with professional athletes. But contrary to what the First Book of MTV Cribs teaches you, the demographic with the highest percentage of millionaires in the U.S. is business owners, not athletes or entertainers. In fact, there are more self employed doctors, lawyers and accountants that are millionaires than there are millionaires that are quarterbacks or Grammy winners. That just doesn’t seem to make for good television. Although I am pitching “For the Love of Hip Hop’s Financial Advisor” to VH1…we’ll see if it catches on.
Start a Business…Now?
I know you are probably questioning my sanity by suggesting that you start a business during the worst economic downturn since the depression. There is a method to my madness however. See, in crisis…there is opportunity. Companies are distracted, that presents opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. Prices have gone down; You can buy property, rent space, furnish your office or stock up on inventory much cheaper than you could even a year ago. Looking for talented individuals to help you build your empire? I have 5 million friends that would be willing to send you their resume.
You can also take some comfort that there are a number of huge, successful companies that started during poor economic times. Hewlett Packard started during the Great Depression for goodness sake. Microsoft started in 1975 when the economy wasn’t doing very well and CNN started during the recession in 1980. I’m sure there are an abundance of lesser known small businesses that have thrived under these same conditions. Don’t tell me it can’t be done.
How Do I Do It?
Ahh, I see you are coming around. I’m glad you asked that question. Here’s how to take control of your destiny:
Look for businesses or industries that are reluctant to change…then change it. The music industry is kicking itself because it let Apple come in and become the dominant player. Blockbuster is hanging on for dear life because Netflix and Video on Demand killed its business.
Do your homework and develop a thorough business plan – Learn as much as you can about your business, but don’t get so caught up in fancy Excel spreadsheets that you forget to actually START the business.
Keep your start-up costs low – It could be difficult to borrow money for your business right now.
Find a mentor – Remember how you made all of those mistakes because you didn’t listen to your parents? Don’t make the same mistake here. A mentor can help you avoid those mistakes.
Market Yourself – Treat your client or customer like he or she is the only one you have. That is the best marketing you can ever do.
Follow these rules and you too can become the “Biggest boss that we’ve seen thus far”….minus the embarrassing beef with Fiddy of course. Just make sure you don’t become the boss that YOU hated working for before you hit it big.