Are you working hard enough to grow your small business?

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English: Kalk Bay habour, Cape Peninsula, Sout...
English: Kalk Bay harbour, Cape Peninsula, South Africa  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the summer months in False Bay when the snoek run was on we would get up early in the morning, around 3 AM, to go out to Simon’s Town with my father’s ski boat to be out on the water by 5 AM.

When the snoek were biting like crazy we would fill the ski boat fish hold with a load of snoek and take it back to Kalk Bay harbour to auction the fish.

If the fish were still biting and the fish market was still open at Kalk Bay we would go back for a second catch.

A few times we even caught a third boatload and took it back to Kalk Kalk Bay harbour.

At times like this when the fish were biting we would continue fishing day in and day out, waking up in the early hours of the morning and coming home after dark. It was hard work, tiring and exhausting but it never really felt like that. That’s because we all had a passion or you could even say an obsession for catching fish.

Gone was our usual social life and we just concentrated on catching fish while the big shoals of snoek were in the bay. It was an exciting time. We were able to break our own personal records and I imagine set some records that are still unbeaten for the number of snoek caught from a ski boat on one day.

The thing is that if you are passionate about what you are doing work doesn’t seem hard. In fact, it feels enjoyable. It’s the same kind of excitement that I see in a local food business where the owner doesn’t seem to mind the long hours, the complexity of the business and the hard work.

But it’s not always like this. Think of the small businesses such as restaurants, hair salons and convenience supermarkets that trade seven days a week sometimes from early in the morning until late in the evening.

Someone came up with this definition of entrepreneurship: entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life in a way most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life in a manner most people can’t. It takes guts, determination and hard work to get a small business start up off the ground.

Start up founders often have virtually no social lives and work at their business morning to night, day in and day out with weekends feeling just like ordinary work days.

Whatever the gurus, business advisers, small business and entrepreneurship professors, books and blogs tell you, starting something of your own from scratch is going to require in most cases incredibly hard work.

Worst of all, you have no guarantee of succeeding. And when you fail, you have to pick yourself up as quickly as you can and get back up on your feet.

This is the huge difference between people who can “take away” or “acquire” money from others and those who need to make money from their efforts, ideas, products and services. That’s what separates the takers from the givers.

As an entrepreneur, you are a giver and one of the things that I’ve seen most entrepreneurs give generously of is their enthusiasm, positive attitude and hope for creating a better future for themselves, their families and their staff.

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