As the owner of a restaurant who is currently starting a “buy local” website, opening another restaurant and carrying close to 20 hours a week as an adviser at the Umpqua Community College’s Small Business Development Center, I can say that being in business for yourself is fun and exciting. It is also extremely stressful and busy.
Lori Greiner of “Shark Tank” and “QVC, tweeted, “Entrepreneurs: the only people who work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40-hour weeks.” This is true.
Eight years ago I was an Army captain making $72,000 a year with great benefits, but I had a hankering to be in business for myself. Just a few years later I was the owner of a little pizzeria, losing a few thousand dollars a month, no benefits and a ton of work to do. For me it was worth it, barely, but what about for you?
Why do you want to start your own business? If the reason is to make more money, be careful in your planning. The first thing you should do is write a business plan. A business plan is going to be 20 to 40 pages and include financial projections for the first few years. The folks over at the Small Business Development Center can help you with that. Even if you are buying a business you need to take into account the cost of getting your own health insurance, your loan payment and what percent of the current customers you are going to lose because the business has a new owner.
What about employees? Do you need them? Are you ready to deal with the challenges that come with employees? One of the rules of business is “never hire someone you can’t fire.” Family members can be a great asset, but if they aren’t working at your standard, it can be a very long and frustrating experience that turns both your work and personal relationship sour. The bottom line is that it is almost impossible to find employees that are interested in working as hard as you. The incentive is just not there.
Can you have a good work/life balance? This is probably my biggest struggle. It is easy to get caught up in your work. It’s fun. It’s new. Your livelihood depends on it. But what about the other parts of your life? Your family and friends? Your spouse and your kids? They want to spend time with you. They need to spend time with you and, you need to spend time with them. Nobody, at the end of his life, ever thinks, “I wish I would have worked more.”
Now that you have read this article, are you still interested in starting your own business? If so, come see me or one of the other business advisers at the Small Business Development Center at the Umpqua Business Center in Roseburg. We provide free business advising and there are a variety of helpful business courses available as well.
Sam Gross, the owner of Logger’s Gourmet Pizza in Roseburg, is an adviser for the Small Business Development Center.