Mind Your Own Business

I’ve been reading a lot online lately about entrepreneurs starting their own business and doing really well, everything is just marvelous and they wished they’d done it years ago.

These articles usually sum up the situation in a few simplistic phrases along the lines of – I now do what I want… when I want… and I have a flash car and I spend loads of time with my kids and I’m dead rich…. wish I’d done it years ago.

Can I perhaps burst a few bubbles and suggest that it’s not all … ‘Great’…

The whole ‘I work when I want to’ nonsense suggests that these new entrepreneurs have latched onto a money-making bonanza that just keeps giving. I’m sorry but most owner run small businesses live from hand to mouth. ‘Robbing Peter to pay Paul’ is just business parlance for ‘Cashflow is crap’.

We’ve all heard the oft said phrase of… ‘It’s always the big companies that screw you over…’ and we’re all supposed to laugh and accept that this is just the way of the world…. BUT …unfortunately it is correct…big companies do screw you over….and no they don’t give a crap….  and it hurts …and …it goes on hurting.

I’ve had Christmas ruined nearly every year that I’ve been in business by some dick of a Quantity Surveyor not approving a payment run just before the winter break – leaving the little subcontractors over their facility at the bank …and unable to pay wages.

If it were up to me, Christmas would be cancelled as it’s always a nightmare. Nobody pays their bills, nobody is open, nobody is available …and the team want their bonuses.

Back to my point.

Yes …you can have holiday whenever you want.

Yes …you can work only when you feel like it ..and take the day off whenever you want.

But …nobody will be paying you for it.

In fact, nobody will be doing anything …and when you get back the exact same pile of work will be waiting for you as when you left …only there will be more piled on top.

 

And when as a sole trader… do you go away on holiday?

You certainly can’t go when you’re busy.

You just can’t go when you’re quiet.

You can’t go when you’re owed loads of money…

You could go if everyone paid on time ……but that never happens.

 

When I make this next statement, I assure you it’s not a lie.

I went 23 years straight without a foreign holiday.

I admit to the odd week in Wales but as my wife will tell you – most of those trips ended with me leaving early because of some crisis.

There will be some of you thinking that I’m not a very good businessman because I cannot manage my time properly to ensure that I get a regular break …well in response I would say that I have had my own business for 49 years and I’m still here …just.

Two heart attacks.

One near divorce.

So, for all of you wishing to own your own business, can I sum up by saying …I wouldn’t change a day of it…

It’s great.

It’s just not for everyone.

 

Mike C

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