I started my own business in 1978 because I was certain that I could build a better and cheaper stereo speaker than any that were available. However, all I knew about stereo speakers at the time was how I loved playing my speakers loudly while enjoying my favorite music. I knew nothing about the design details of stereo speakers. I had to learn some rudimentary details in a hurry.
Well, I blew through my retirement money (which I took out in cash from my “last” job) within 6 months – and discovered I knew nothing about how to price or market the few speakers I was able to build every week.
I was near broke and in serious financial trouble.
So, I started my own landscaping business (because I did know how to mow lawns) and needed to make ends meet. But I never lost my love for the stereo speaker industry and started to find other stereo speaker manufacturers who needed the electronics (crossover networks) built for them. I gave up trying to build stereo speakers and concentrated on building crossover networks for other speaker manufacturers.
In the meantime, I was still mowing lawns and making pretty good money. It didn’t matter whether I was mowing lawns or building crossover networks, I had my own business!! No longer did I commute or punch the time clock. True, 12 hour days and 7 day weeks were required to support the business, but I loved it!
Yes, I pretty much did everything wrong with my start-up. It goes with my “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” personality – something I would not recommend to everyone. But if you find your personality is similar, then I say “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”.
Just be prepared, you may – and probably will – have to pay several tolls along the solopreneur highway. Those tolls just may include needing to mow lawns to make ends meet.
My real driving force in starting my own business was that I was running away from my “real” job. If this is your driving force as well, I do advise caution. You know what they say about the grass on the other side of the fence. However, don’t just ignore that driving force and feel doomed.
Remember the torpedoes, speed and tolls mentioned above? In my opinion, the tolls are a better expense than feeling doomed. Just be prepared to pay them and don’t give up!
One huge ingredient for success is perseverance. Keep your propellers turning all the time. You may have to make course corrections as you go along – but do keep on going!
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