Monday monday

The point of all of this is to try to let people into the real mind of what it is like to be an entrepreneur. I am writing this as much as I can to try and show both the ups and the downs.
Also I do not proofread and barely bother to spell check. Deal with it. My time has value and if you do not know what I am saying because I used to instead of too then go get a job as a proofreader.

Today is Monday and I had a rough weekend. Rough on both my body and mind. I will not go into the details but it is still all with me and it is making it hard to focus on the task at hand. The bank, the landlord, the utilities, and everyone else expecting to be paid do not care that I had a hard weekend. They do not care that my mind wants to be elsewhere right now. They do not care about any of that at all. They all expect to get paid, get calls returned, and get engaged in the conversations we dropped on Friday. So while I sit here feeling like I am failing on so many levels in my personal life I must still plow forward with getting the people on the business side the things that they depend on me for.

That is what it is like some days. You bet your ass I want to be at home right now spending time with my wife and children but I have responsibilities that keep my wife and children in a home with food inside of it. I do not get to take “mental health days” because I want to work on things. I barely am willing to take sick days unless it involves me possibly dying.
So ya… want to be the boss you are going to have days like this. Days where you can not call into work with some bullshit excuse as to why you can not do your job that day.  Days where you know your family hates the fact that you work so much and so often. Days where you hate the fact that you work so much and so often. Days where you do not want to talk business at all.

Still want to be the boss?

Fear will cause you to hesitate and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true

Easily the most common excuse I hear when debating about taking the leap into starting their own business is fear. More so than money or even time. I call it an excuse because that is what it is. Yes it has validity. Yes there is much to lose. Yes, yes, yes. I get all the reasons for the fear.
I also understand that you can never become anything beyond common without taking chances and confronting those fears. Now lets be honest, most people are quite happy being common. There is nothing wrong with common. Wake up to that alarm buzzing at 6AM, hit the snooze. Drag yourself up at 6:15, shower, brush the pearls, and get dressed. Head down the stairs for a cup of coffee to get you going and then out of the garage and off to work. Looking forward to Fridays, paydays, and holidays. Nothing at all wrong with having that for the majority of people.

If you are reading this however I imagine you are not the majority of people.
Fear is caused by the unknown a lot of the time. That means getting to know what you are doing.
If you want to be an entrepreneur you HAVE to be able to take chances and that means fear. When you take a chance you can lose. The key, in my opinion, is to work the odds into your favor. This means several things that most people either are unwilling, unable, or just do not know to do.
1- Do your homework. Know your business. Know your competition BEFORE you start. You need to know why someone would do business with you instead of the others.

2- Know if you can make money at it. It’s all about  making money. Let’s be honest here, doing what you love is great but if you can not pay the bills you will be doing it for a very short time.

3- Living lean. When you start a business money is your life blood. That means its time to cut back. There are many things you can do to cut back. Eating out, parties, bars, cable, and the list goes on. Look at only what you NEED. 

4- Keep your job if you can. If not pick up a job you can work and still get your business going. I worked for 2 years full time before I could quit and even then I worked part time for awhile to make ends meet.

5- DON’T GET IT IF YOU DON’T NEED IT. Starting a business is not an excuse to buy more stuff. Do you need an office? Can you do it from home? Do you need a new computer?

These are just some ideas of how to minimize risk and make you feel more comfortable taking the leap. Hopefully you get something from it and if not go punch a time-clock.


Question time

So Mark, 
I have been toying with the idea of starting my own business for years … years. It is in the food industry so the thought of failure scares the crap out of me as it would completely drain my husband and I financially if I failed. It’s like my acting “career” … I want to do it so bad but my fear of making myself a fool by failure keeps me from moving forward. You call it a leap, and it is. Im a nurse and while I love my patients and work, I absolutely HATE the politics of it all and want to delve into what I truly lust for my life … the creative arts. Short story long: how do you get past the fear? I think this is a very real point, for many, that holds us back. How do you take that big step off the ledge? What did it for you?




Short answer is you don’t get rid of the fear. You have to be willing to accept risk and even embrace it. 
I started my first “real” business out of desperation. I was working for a company for 6 years or so and they had doubled the sales force that year. We were all commission sales people and we got paid a higher percentage the more we sold. Doubling the sales people caused my income to drop by 33% despite my still being the top sales guy there. I realized that they controlled my future and income. I had done smaller businesses in the past with success but decided I did not want to do them. So I started with the sole purpose of escaping a 50-60 hour work week in a company that was destroying my will to live. My first year I made nothing. It was one of the lowest points you can imagine. I had worked endless hours to escape and now I would be stuck there. On top of it all I hurt my back at work and could not even go in. I struggled to get better and deal with an owner who did not want me there anymore. I decided to try the business again the following year. I saw what worked and what did not work and adjusted it. About 3 months before the kick off for my business I got a notice that my back injury company wanted to settle for the damage done. The terms were they would give me enough money to kick off my business and pay my bills for 3 months BUT I had to quit working my job and I could not ever come back. I also was not allowed to work in that industry (The industry I had worked for 13 years) as I was on a non-compete.
So I had to make a choice. Keep working at a job where I knew the paychecks would come in and it would be safe or put everything I had on a business that had failed to make a penny the year before. I talked with my wife and she told me to go for it of I would hate myself for the rest of my life. I quit, accepted the pay off and put it all on the business making money. The changes I did allowed the business to more than double sales and I have not had a “job” since then.
It’s 8 years later and we still have ups and downs but I am ever thankful for my wife telling me to just do it.

Or you can spend the rest of your life wondering What If.

Now go watch this.



Chilly question

For me, the consistent point of failure in running my own business is never being able to wear all of the hats. I simply can’t be the salesman, the legal assistant, the project manager, the engineer, the art director, the visual designer, the developer, the quality assurance tester, the accountant, and ultimately the deadbeat bill collector. What’s worse is trying to handle more than one client simultaneously! I’ve let four freelance businesses go by the wayside because I can’t maintain all of these roles. Somebody with more capital might hire people to pick up some of the responsibility, but how can an entrepreneur start a business solo?




There is no simple answer to this other than WORK MORE. Being the boss means you wear all the hats until you can afford to hire people. It means you say no to parties because you are busy. It means you sacrifice A LOT so that in 3,4 or 5 years you can be the guy leaving early and taking vacations. Most people that start businesses, myself included, can not see long term because they are just trying to make it to next month. Work hard and sacrifice and sooner than you think you can afford people to take some of that load off. At some point you have to jump off the cliff and quit the job that supports you so that you can spend more time on it. SCARY time but remember, you can always get another job. That is way easier than spending your entire life wondering “What if”.


Question Question who has a question

How do you manage marketing, finding clients, managing contacts, handling payments, and all the other business stuff, and still have time and energy to do the work that is the core of your business?




Its really quite simple. I work constantly. When I started my Fireworks company I worked a full time job for 50 hours a week. That left me 118 hours. Take out 56 a week for sleeping, 10 more for travel and getting ready and I still had 52 hours a week of ME time. I spent my days off working on getting my new business up and running. I spent my lunch hours going to meetings I had set up. I would get home from work at 8:30-9:00 and spend a couple hours with the family and then when they went to bed i would work until 2 AM.
People assume I do not go out or visit because I do not want to. Nonsense, I am busy working.
Stop watching TV. Stop going out. Stop sitting around and use your time well.
If it were easy everyone would do it.