Owning a Small Business: Legend Meets Reality
There’s something of a legend accompanying small business ownership. The rough individualist strikes out on her own to make a difference. She makes the rules and sets the hours. If she works from home, she can work in her pajamas if she’s so inclined.
I’m not sure of how much of that legend I bought into. My dad owned his own business and I didn’t ever see anything glamorous about it. So, for all of you who may think business is ownership is for you, be sure you are comfortable with the reality behind the legend.
Legend: You’re the captain of the ship. You set the rules and set the course. Reality: Life happens, and there’s this lovely little aspect of life called TAXES. You may feel in control every day, but once a quarter when you write that tax check, you’ll experience an overwhelming powerless feeling. Moreover, if you have others working for you, it’s vital to be mindful of their goals and dreams and know your role within their story.
Legend: You get to set your own hours. Reality: Yes, it’s true I can take a two-hour lunch break with a friend if I feel like it. But the other side of that truth is I’ll be working until 9 pm as a result. The harsh reality is because we DON’T have set hours, it’s also very hard to set boundaries around work and it often bleeds into personal time.
Legend: You can work in your pajamas. Reality: Technically this is true. Often, however, it’s like the situation I referred to in the last paragraph: It’s at the END of the day. I’m one of those freakish morning people who like to get up before dawn and get myself moving with some exercise before sitting down to work. Therefore, pajamas are not in my dress code.
Legend: You’re rich. If you want something, you can just write it off as a business expense. Reality: Please refer to Legend #1, which refers to the crazy taxes you watch leave your hands when you own your own business. There are many financial opportunities when you own your own business, but very few of us are rich by anyone’s standards.
Small business ownership isn’t for everyone, but it’s a life I love. And I love serving other small business owners who are trying to make a difference in their communities by providing a valuable product or service. So, the next time you see a small business owner, encourage them in what they’re doing and support them with your patronage whenever possible. Serving you is what makes it all worthwhile for us.