We went to visit a fashion designer in Salt River, Cape Town, because of my daughter’s interest in fashion. It was two days before New Year and the fashion designer was working flat out at 3 PM. She showed us some of her many patterns, we watched one of her staff cutting cloth from a pattern and were told how she farmed out the garment construction to a sub supplier. She preferred to outsource this part of her garment construction because it is a specialist field in itself and requires a different overhead to where this fashion designer is presently located. But one thing stood out.
That was how she was working so hard while other people were out at the beach and enjoying their holidays. She said she doesn’t even have time to think about entertainment while she is working. She had to plan a dinner for 16 people that evening but hadn’t even phoned the restaurant to make a booking. She says she loves her work.
Hard work might seem old school these days. Mention the word work and some people will roll their eyes, freeze up and may even litigous just at the mention of the word “work”. In some quarters hard work is seen to be old-fashioned. Elbow grease is a term very few people remember and it seems to be stuck away in a past era. Nowadays working less is glamorised. You get books such as those that extol the four-day work week. It’s a holy grail for some Internet marketers. But very few can make it. Do you know anyone running a small business who is working a four-day week?
One entrepreneur in the retail arena believes you don’t need to work 25 hours a day and has never taken a day off in 15 years. Yet when he started his business, this business person worked very hard and still works hard because he enjoys what he does. But he’s not a workaholic. He believes he is lazy because he doesn’t like to do more work than is necessary. He likes to do things as easily as possible, as simply as possible and achieve as much as possible in the time allowed but without wasting his time. He is able to do this because he’s organised and has worked hard at trying to develop the art of running his business effectively with minimal effort.
For this entrepreneur less work means more success. When work gets out of control, small business owners often want to work harder and harder. That’s the time when you need to ask yourself what you want to get out of your business and what you want to get out of life. It’s a balance between wanting to be more successful but at the same time working less.
As this entrepreneur says, the value of a business is greater if it can be shown to run itself. “It is no good making yourself lynch pin of the entire company, because when you come to sell it or hand it over to someone else, the business is worthless if it cannot exist without you”. Yet if you enjoy what you do, work doesn’t seem like “work” but rather fun when it’s your passion.
If you are prepared to work hard in the beginning when starting your new venture, then you can later on enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Starting something from scratch is not a picnic. It will test the very core of your being.
If you are at the stage where you haven’t yet decided whether to start something of your own even part-time or full-time, then you should put your name down for my upcoming book “Breakthrough Ideas”.
It’s a practical, hands-on guide to starting something from your own from scratch that recommends good old-school hard work. But it also cautions that you must have the enthusiasm and passion for what you are doing otherwise you simply won’t make it when nine out of ten small enterprises fail within their first year.