I once told my dad that I thought it would be better to be your own boss. That way you wouldn’t have to please anyone but yourself. He looked at me like I wasn’t quite right in the head and told me that, if you work for yourself, you must please everyone – or you won’t get paid for your work.
I thought at the time that he just didn’t understand what I was saying, but I’ve discovered lately that he understood exactly what I was saying! When I decided to start my own business, I talked with several business owners. Well, ok – I talked to some business owners that I know and they pretty much all told me the same thing: It’s HARD work to start your own business. You’d better know what you’re looking for and you’d better be willing to give it all you have!
Well, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I didn’t have any problem with the hard work part. A long time ago, I watched Dinah Shore interview Malcolm Forbes. He told her that you’d better love what you’re doing, or you’ll never put in the hours to make it work.
Going on the theory that, if I act like a smart person, I’ll actually be a smart person, I decided to have business hours (9-11 and 2-4), a business name (Jessie’s Corner), business cards, and an office. I cleaned out a room in my house, set up tables for my computer and printer, and organized my office supplies. I even have files (although not a file cabinet – I decided to save money on that!)
I started handing out business cards. People were a little surprised that the only thing on my business card is my business logo (a picture of Jessie in her corner), my picture, a website, and a phone number – but that’s all that I have at this point!!
I set up a website and when that site couldn’t provide me what I wanted, I asked for help from a “techy”. I mentioned that I had a problem in promoting myself and she was kind enough to point out that I wasn’t promoting myself – I was promoting my business. That was such an amazing thought to me! If I was providing a service (even entertainment) to someone else, I had a business! I could promote my business – especially if I planned on making money with it!
Another interesting thing that I discovered is the helpfulness of others who have walked that road before! Not just friends that I know but people on-line who don’t know me from Jennifer Aniston! People who have read my blogs and follow me. People at the other end of the chat lines when I ask for help. People who will get on conference calls with me and let me share my screen so that they can help me untangle the mess I made in installing a theme (a theme that I had chosen, hoping to do things that the theme couldn’t do!).
I have learned so much in the process of starting a new business. One of the things I’ve learned is that it’s better to develop a process or a product to sell. If I could develop one of these, I wouldn’t have to keep selling myself. I could make a lot of the product and sell that, or I could copywrite the process and rent it out to people. If the only thing I have to sell is myself, I have to keep selling myself (passive income vs. active income)!!! That could get tiresome after a while.
The thing is, I think I come from a long line of “self-sellers”. My dad’s family has a long line of ministers, doctors, teachers, and pilots. Mom’s family has pharmacists, dentists, farmers, teachers, and business owners. All these businesses depend on the personality of the person who developed them for their success. Ministers don’t have much of a congregation unless they have some level of charisma. Even farmers and pilots won’t make much money unless they learn how to deal with people or at least hire someone who can deal with people. I think I’m going to have to stock up on vitamins until I can figure out a process or product to develop! In the meantime, I have this fabulous office – complete with business cards!!