Categorized | Business

Becoming Your Own Boss

Posted on 05 April 2009

Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Have you ever watched someone negotiate a business deal and thought, “I could do better than that?” Ever create something and had people ask where you got it and if you could make them one? Even with a solid set of business skills and a hankering to go out on your own, you still might wonder if you have what it takes.

“An entrepreneur sees things differently than most people see them, and then has an itch to do something it,” says Dr. Dale Haywood, former chair of the Economics Department at Northwood University in Michigan. “With entrepreneurs, the best is not what they are willing to accept. They are not inclined toward convention.”

Only One Way To Go
For many business pioneers, there’s no other way. “An entrepreneur can’t help being an entrepreneur,” says Kathleen Kirkwood. “It’s just the way [he/she] is.” Kirkwood was once a struggling model in New York, but she also designed shoulder pads that make off-the-rack dresses look like designer duds. Other models asked her where they could get them, and the business took off. She now sells thousands of dollars of products on the QVC network.

If you can’t shake off a tough series of failures, don’t even try going out on your own.

From the basement of his house, Brian McNelis runs Tomfoolery Entertainment, producing shows for corporate events and other venues. The business grosses something like $500,000 a year. “I love this,” he says. “I’m my own boss and I get to work with all these talented and creative people. There’s no other way I could work.”

Here are a few of the traits that many entrepreneurs claim to have propelled them to success:

  • You enjoy walking the tightrope between the big score and disaster. “Nothing makes my performance keener than going into a sales presentation for an account that could double my income if I get it–or cost me thousands of dollars if I don’t,” says McNelis.
  • You can keep track of several factors at the same time. You anticipate when each will come to a crucial point and know how to ward off problems far in advance. “I know that if I’m working too hard on present projects to market and network, there’s a chance I’ll have cash-flow problems from slow business six to nine months later,” says Tanto Mikeul, a freelance writer and photographer. “I’ll need to save some of the money that’s rolling in now to see me through when tough times come.”
  • You can think outside of the box. An efficiency expert at IBM once derided engineers who were using the computer to compose their own correspondence (that was what secretaries were for). One engineer ignored the orders of his superiors–and developed the word processor.
  • You have a quick mind for spotting trends and new markets. Engineers with the Toro Company once visited a large customer whose employees had hooked up a gas-powered vacuum cleaner backward and were using it to clear debris from a lawn. They went back to their laboratory and invented the leaf blower.

Do You Have a Tough Hide?
In terms of sales calls, attracting investors, and hiring good employees, you’ll probably fail more times than you’ll succeed. That’s not a problem as long as you keep things flowing and meet your company’s needs. “It’s a percentage game,” says Mikeul, who makes more than 50 sales presentations each year to art directors and other potential clients.

“The more times you try, the more times you’ll make the deal. But if you can’t shake off a tough series of failures, Mikeul says, “don’t even try going out on your own.”

The Way To Learn
“In the end, all I am is a cheerleader,” Haywood confides. “I tell students about successful entrepreneurs and inspire and encourage them. I try to emphasize that what I teach is the best I know of, but if we’re going to have progress, we have to have students doing better than their teachers.”

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. jasmine says:

    In business there is a popular term no profit no gain so if you don’t take you cant get your desire success.

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