An entrepreneur talking to us the other day said that he became a chartered accountant and instead of taking the organisational route he decided to go straight into his own business. Imagine that! While the rest of the world is zigging, this chartered accountant zagged. He said that he burnt his bridges and decided to put his everything into the business.
This story reminds me of what it takes to become a kitchen-table start up or small business entrepreneur. Whatever the expurts, business best-sellers and social media say, it takes sheer guts.
Why do I say this? The main reason is because you need to live with uncertainty.
You need handle uncertainty.
I don’t think you’ll ever become comfortable with the uncertainty but you need to learn how to manage it in your life and use it as a lever to propel you forward, to motivate you, to energise you.
But let’s not point a finger at those who don’t burn their bridges and go out and do what they want to do in business. Other people have different risk tolerance and will use a different approach to start something of their own.
Often the case is that people start something on the side, some moonlight activity, something behind-the-scenes, work on it and then when it proves successful, they leave their secure (is that a relevant word these days with retrenchments, restructuring and downsizing?) employment.
This softly, softly approach gives the would-be entrepreneur the opportunity to test their product or service in the market before they hock everything to pursue their business passion.
But you’ve got to give it to those women and men who have a clear idea of what they want to do, see the market gap (that often has a limited lifespan for entry) and their crystal-clear vision of what they want to achieve.
These are the people to be admired. And remember too, that it can happen at any age. Think of Ray Kroc, struggling 53-year-old travelling salesman, who had worked as a jazz pianist and a music teacher, peddling paper cups and milkshake mixers when he stumbled across the McDonald brothers single outlet. He was in bad health but gave up his sales job to franchise McDonald’s. It’s never too late to seize the opportunity.