Today’s art: Appropriately Balanced, 20″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas by Pamela Devine, WIP Available
Today’s Soundtrack: Firework, Katy Perry
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree I would spend six hours sharpening my axe.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
If you are currently employed and dream of being your own boss you are not alone.
It took me the better part of the last 7 years, and being incredibly uncomfortable in my job, for me to finally take the plunge. Let me add it was a fine job, I just didn’t fit in it. Discontentment is a great motivator. I need to add that I have been self employed this time around since April 1st of this year.
Why did it take me so long? Fear. It took me that long to be able to tell the people around me who were unsupportive of such a decision. And then there’s the, “How will I make enough money to support myself” part. : )
Ah, money. That’s the bottom line. I want to talk about an aspect of money a lot of money experts don’t.
It’s about the spend. Overhead. Expenses.
I can almost always predict the success or failure of a new retail business or restaurant based on what they chose to spend money on prior to opening the doors. Starting with the size of the space they are renting. Not long ago, I was in a new restaurant that had hand blown glass light fixtures mixed in with poorly stenciled images on the walls. Now, it could be they ran out of time and had to open with what they had, but I would bet they ran out of money at some point after having purchased the light fixtures. Our dining experience confirmed for me that they did not have enough money to run the business and it was over before it began. I could tell that from the light fixtures? Not specifically. The lights were an indication that these business owners did not have their spending priorities straight.
The single most important thing you can do if you want to start your own business is to look at your current expenses. Because while you will need to have saved up operating capital, your next most important money decision is what you spend. For the entrepreneur, these decisions begin with personal spending. An honest evaluation of all of your monthly expenses is vital. There are the fixed and necessary things you must pay for: Rent/mortgage, gas/electricity, car payment/insurance/gas/transit, phone/cell phone, internet/data plans, food, etc. Even many of those can be reevaluated or negotiated. You must look at this tenaciously. Fearlessly. Honestly.
Getting out of debt should be a priority before going to business for yourself.
I believe having your expenses low is the best way to set yourself up for successful entrepreneurship.
Here’s a guide:
- Write a list of all your monthly expenses. Look at your monthly bank statement for an honest evaluation or record your expenses for a month.
- Indicate for each item if it’s a “need” or a “want.” Be honest.
- Of the “wants,” which ones can you immediately eliminate?
- Of the remaining “wants,” which can you have in an alternate way to make it less expensive? (ie; make your own coffee in the morning or get internet movies instead of cable.)
- Revisit this list monthly. You’ll find that the wants you can’t live without become easier to let go of once you see the value of choosing not to spend.
An excellent book on the topic is: The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Keirnan.
It’s your day. Go get it.
I am grateful today for my partner, for all the painting supplies I have, for my conviction, for my ambition, for the guidance I receive.