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The Ten Truths About Owning Your Own Business

Washington is one of the top states in small business start-ups and, unfortunately, failures each year. While there are lots of advantages to being a business owner, there are some myths that it’s best to dispel before taking the plunge. Here are the ten truths about owning your own business:

1) You do not automatically get rich, although everyone seems to think you are. Especially ad sales people! Chances are not much better that you will make tons of money than in most fields unless your name is Bill Gates and it’s 1989. A small business owner can make anywhere from a comfortable living to losing it all.

2) Your staff will never care as much as you do. Most business owners find this extremely frustrating and take it personally. Don’t. It won’t do any good. Simply find the things that motivate your staff and work with them. And hiring good friends usually leads to disaster.

3) You do not get to set your own schedule. When you get a call at three in the morning that the kitchen is flooding, or someone threw a rock through the window. Or you’re sitting by the pool in Mexico and find out that because of a screw-up the payroll is bouncing, you do not get to stay in bed or in the lounge chair. (All of these things have happened to me). Circumstances at work will intrude on your private time when you least expect it and you have to deal with it.

4) You won’t want to work for anyone else again. Yes, chances are, once you’ve taken that step to entrepreneurial independence you will be an addict for life. You will also find that you become a pain in the butt to anyone else when you’re not in charge.

5) You are not an expert in all things. Just because you start a business doesn’t mean you suddenly know it all. Like anything else, there are aspects of the business you will be good at and some you will never master at all. Success will depend on setting aside your ego and recognizing your weaknesses. Many business owners are “entre-manures” because they are so full of themselves they neglect good advice offered by others.

6) How you dress still matters. If you’ve chosen to be your own boss so you can be casual, you must accept the consequences of how others view you. Whether you like it or not, clients, customers, salespeople and your staff will judge you on how you look and form an opinion about your competence. Dress appropriately for the type of work you do.

7) People will criticize your success. If you do really well, people will find reasons to criticize you and sometimes it might hurt. Look at all the jokes about poor old Bill Gates! If you have confidence that you are running your business well and giving back what you should to the community, you need to ignore spiteful people.

8) People will criticize your failures. The only valid criticism of your business failures is your own, and setbacks should be seen as learning tools and opportunities for change, not as a reason to give up. Most small business owners lose their shirt at sometime in their career. If you don’t, you haven’t taken enough risks!

9) Being the boss doesn’t mean being rude. When my stepson was 5 he told me that being the boss meant getting to tell people what to do. I explained that it had more to do with motivating people to want to do their jobs well, rather than just giving orders. Inconsiderate bosses lose employees and annoy customers.

10) You must be true to yourself. You can’t become someone you’re not for the sake of your business. If you go into a people business without liking people, it may be a mistake. When you choose to be a small business owner, find your personal passion and go for it. Anything less and you won’t be happy, nor will your business be successful.

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