0 Flares0 Flares×
For many people, the only type of the work they’ll ever know is working for someone else. For others, staring their own business or following through on a late night idea is part of their genetic makeup.
Here’s the interview:
Question: Why did you decide to open your own business and was it difficult to leave the security of your 9-5 job?
I’ve believed since I was 15 that I’d start my own business someday, so perhaps I was biased. My goal was to have fun creating something myself. My father was a dentist, and his independence influenced me. If he had a 9-5, I’d probably have thought “that’s just the way things are done”. I did a 9-5 for three years, but largely did so to validate my college education. I did not like much about the corporate culture, from the schedule to the power structure to the inefficiencies and inequities I saw in the corporation. It was not hard for me to leave emotionally, and financially, I had no obligations like a mortgage or children, so it was relatively risk-free. I knew that if I failed that I could go work for a company again, and give another go at my own business later.
Question: Why did you go into the business you currently own? How did you differentiate yourself from competition?
1. Low barrier to entry, so that I could learn it and start it easily, without much hassle.
2. Low start-up costs, because I didn’t have much money.
3. Could be done anywhere, because I wanted the option to move wherever I pleased.
4. Inelastic demand – I wanted my business, like the locksmith, to provide something that customers would find essential, and no real alternatives but to pay for.
6. Low operating costs – This makes the risk less, because if it costs less to run the thing, there’s less chance of going bankrupt.
I patiently bided my time and kept my eyes open, observing all of the small businesses around me. I knew, for example, that I wasn’t about to start my own pizza shop, which has a large startup cost, huge competition, ties you down, etc. I knew a specialty service field was the best model. When I was exposed to the field of nuisance wildlife removal, I found that it met all of my requirements. I wasn’t even excited about the prospect of starting such a business – I simply knew without a doubt that I would do it. There was no reason not to.
Question: Talk about failure and starting your own business, should most small business owners think that they may fail?
Yes, all small business owners should think that they might fail. This keeps you realistic and on your toes and motivates you to work hard. If you think that it’s going to be Easy Street or that you’re entitled to success, you probably won’t work hard. My first year in business was difficult. Despite all of my shrewd planning, I wasn’t prepared for many of the surprises my first business threw at me – like how to not be shy with customers, and actually charge them. I broke even in my first year and watched my living expenses eat up my small life savings. But I was stubborn and determined as hell, and I spent every moment of every day making sure that it would work. I basically refused to fail and I did everything I could to make sure that I didn’t.
Question: Did you start your own business because you wanted freedom, to earn more money, or bring a great idea to market?
My primary goal was freedom, of course. Not just freedom from the 9-5, from having someone else tell me what to do, but from many of the constraints that lack of money place on life. So in that sense, I also wanted more money, in order to buy myself that freedom. Work hard for a few years now, and enjoy a life of financial freedom later. By freedom, I don’t just mean a life in which I can make my own decisions; I mean a life in which I have enough money to always live free of worries about bills, a mortgage, or anything. But money aside, for me, the satisfaction of running my own show, with no one telling me what to do, and knowing that I did it all myself, it felt great. It’s actually true that I started to work harder, much MUCH harder once I had my own business. But it was work that I cared about, and it was fun. I kind of felt the phenomenon that it’s not really work unless someone else makes you do it.
Question: Would you do anything different if you had to start all over again?
I would have started sooner! I would have skipped college and started my own business right out of high school. Barring that, I would have graduated college and then burned my degree and started up right then. I regret ever wasting time sending out resumes, wearing business casual, commuting, listening to a boss, yearning for the weekend to come, and waiting around for a tiny paycheck. Aside from that, there’s a million little things I’d have done differently w
ith my specific business, things that only time and experience taught me. I got a lot tougher with time. All this said, it’s easy for me to be confident because my business worked out, and I’m not arrogant enough to discount the value of luck – or more specifically, the absence of bad luck. One accident could have made me fail, and I’d be here today telling you that I wished I’d taken precautions against that accident, or perhaps I would be sour on the idea of my own business altogether. And I was often very reckless. So if I had to do it all over again, perhaps I’d be more careful than I was – I’d have started off with more capital, emergency funds, insurance, and better research and planning. The reality is that I just dove in somewhat recklessly. But then again, that’s really what much of life, from relationships to art to business, is about. Sometimes you have to just dive right in, results be damned, because if you don’t, you may never get started.
Question: Describe your business model.
My first business was a mobile service business. I ran a nuisance wildlife removal company. I drove around in a pickup truck with ladders and tools and helped people with problems with wild animals, such as the removal of squirrels from the attics of a home. I started marketing in the Yellow Pages, and quickly learned that the internet was a more powerful and economical marketing tool, so I got very good at internet marketing. My business grew with time, as I got better at marketing, got repeat and referral business, and better at actually performing the job. Then a lucky thing happened, which is often the case when one starts to learn and create value. I got so good at internet marketing that soon other wildlife operators were asking me to do their online marketing. I parlayed this into selling online advertising for them through my websites. I started to split my time in half, doing both wildlife field work and internet marketing. The internet marketing grew so large that I sold my field operations business and focused only on the internet marketing. The field work was more fun – it was great to be outdoors doing real labor, handling real critters. But the internet work is higher income with less labor, or what one of my friends calls “mailbox money”. Now that it’s in place, it operates itself, with only a little maintenance. I now have the money and freedom that I originally set out to have, and it feels freakin’ awesome! I’m super pleased.
My advice to anyone – just allow this idea to sink in your head: you don’t have to rely on the traditional career structure of a good education, a solid resume, climbing the ladder at a 9-5. Believe that yes, you can do it yourself! Once that idea is in place, you start to notice the small businesses all around you, that people no smarter or harder working than you managed to create. Save up your capital, and when you get that moment in which opportunity knocks, in which you see that slam-dunk business that’s just right for you, then pounce! And go at it like a maniac – at first, the business isn’t your job, it’s your life. And for crying out loud, be smart, competent, and responsible! I’ve watched hundreds of small businesses over the years now. Many have failed, yes, and so many of those were people who had a gold mine in front of them and simply shot themselves in the foot by being careless and lazy – not answering customer calls, not delivering goods or services as promised, simple things like that.
0 FlaresFacebook0Pin It Share00Google+0StumbleUpon0Email--0 Flares×
Related Posts from Scordo.com
Tags frugal small businesshow to start a small businessinterview with an entrepreneurmaking moneypractical skillsstarting your own business
How do I write an outline?
This outline will help you write a five paragraph essay for a narrative format. However, you can easily organize your question and answer format essay using this outline as well.
Start with a humorous or interesting anecdote or fact that the person told you.
Thesis statement: A thesis statement is one sentence that tells who was interviewed, his or her title, and why you interviewed the person. Basically, what do you plan to tell your reader about this person? This must be in the introduction, and you must spell the person's name correctly. Read this article on how to write a thesis statement for more help.
II. Body paragraph 1: One big idea you learned
III. Body paragraph 2: Second big idea you learned
IV. Body paragraph 3: Third big idea you learned
V. Conclusion: You need to wrap up your essay by summarizing and writing some concluding remarks about the person.