Have You Got What It Takes? — Nearly everyone at some time enjoys the idea of “being their own boss.” The rewards may be great but so are the risks and requirements. This fast-paced workshop will challenge you to be honest with yourself and discover what sort of person you will be to work for and the personal qualities you’ll need to succeed. Class is scheduled for March 6th–just two weeks away! Call PVAEC at 564-6525 to register!
Neil Matthews is an interesting bloke. I say that because he’s from the UK. I “met” him several years ago when I had a technical issue with a WordPress installation and hired him to fix it… which he did from across the ocean. That experience was the epitome of “solopreneuring” and “globalization.” Neil recently explained his passion for solopreneuring. While our businesses are very different our issues are very similar. His post started my wheels turning when he asked readers to share their reasons for not building a team (of employees). What follows is an expanded and edited version of my reply.
My last official “job” ended nearly 30 years ago when I realized that no organization was going to share my commitments and passions. Tom Peters was making a ton of money and fame from his book “In Search of Excellence” and somehow I came to the conclusion that it might be easier to stop searching for excellence and start creating it.
I also came to realize that independence was/is an important value for me but that independence is also about security and less about bosses and freedom. Shortly after I started, a young fellow bought me lunch because he wanted an informational interview. He spent most of the time whining about his bad boss and the company that employed him. I started whining along with him about my similar situation. We really got into a sympathetic groove and it was quite a while before he looked at me and said, “Hey, wait a minute! You work for yourself.” I assured him that was less true than he thought. You don’t go “out on your own” for the freedom–at least not in the short-term. It’s real easy to swap one bad boss for a lousy situation where all of your customers become your boss.
He was one of many people who’ve said over the years that they envy me but they can’t live without the security of a paycheck. I sorta have to chuckle. For employees security is a bit of an illusion. A solopreneur may actually have more security.
(By the way, notice that I’ve not said “self-employed” — a familar term but it still about being an employee.)
Bill Gates has been quoted as saying that he constantly reminds himself that Microsoft is never more than two years away from failure. We can certainly debate whether or not practice reflects his thinking, but he’s at least aware that a major screw up or cataclysmic event could wipe out Microsoft in two years. I’m not sure how the Microsoft Payroll system works, but assuming it’s weekly, most of his employees are one week away from “losing it all.”
As an old retailer, I remember well the truism, “Volume covers a multitude of sins.” When you’re on the way up and customers are beating down your doors you can afford to screw up. Growth and success creates another illusion of security. More customers, more employees, more divisions, more products… go, go, go!
A solopreneur has to question that logic because the very nature of solopreneuring is… well, solo! A solopreneur understands that his “more” options are limited and that’s a good thing. There are other ways to build security (and the independence that goes with it). The good news is that the opportunities for solopreneuring are better than ever. The better news is that solopreneuring prevents “collective dumbness” whereby a group of reasonably intelligent people come together, engage in group think, and make really bad decisions.
Let’s remember, a solopreneur is not truly working for herself. But a solopreneur better know exactly what she is working for and better have a plan for getting it.
Have you got what it takes to engage in some solopreneuring? (You may not have to – or want to – quit your “day j0b.” We’ll explore this in the workshop sponsored by P.V.A.E.C. on Tuesday, March 6th at SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft. You can register online or call 564-6525. The cost is only $10… and it will be fast-paced and fun!
You can use the tabs at the top or the page listing in the side bar at the right… to review at least three categories of courses I’ll be offering in 2012. Of course there’s the usual real estate licensing courses–a section unto themselves. Courses offered through PVAEC tend to overlap, but there’s plenty of excitement and opportunities. The “You Can” series developed as a collabaration between UMaine Extension and PVAEC includes plenty of “self-sufficiency” skills from backyard poultry to food preservation. Of course I’ve already announced my “Cash as a Crop” course…
We’re also starting a “Solopreneur” Series… courses geared for folks who are or want to work alone and run their business single-handed. Of special interest may be a short course that will get you started with your own free WordPress Blog–much like this one!
All of the courses could also fall under the heading of “Personal Growth” — why not take on a new challenge in 2012?! If you have a special interest that’s not covered, let me know… we’ll see what we can do!
You Can–Raise Cash As A Crop!
This fast-paced, participative program will explore the opportunities we all have for “non-traditional” ways of raising cash through cost avoidance, part time work, cash crops from your farm, garden and hobbies. You may want to start a home-based business… or just explore the value of bartering with friends and neighbors. When your wallet’s almost empty, this course will encourage you to open your mind and develop a plan…
Tuesday, March 13th at 6:30 PM at SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft. Course fee is only $10. Register by calling the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative at 564-6525 or register online.
Check out the entire series of “You Can” courses at the PVAEC website! You’ll find lots of “traditional skills” courses regarding food preservation, seed starting, raising backyard chickens… a great program of practical and affordable classes made possible through a collaboration between PVAEC and the UMaine County Extension Service in Piscataquis County.
And if you want to know why I think you should be doodling, spend six minutes listening to this video! In fact, you might want to doodle while you’re listening…