A few years ago I owned a small business. Well, I say I owned it, what I actually did was register a company name, have business cards printed, set up a website, print flyers, and attend a couple of local networking events, but do you know what arose from that?
Unsurprisingly, not much.
I learnt a lot about myself over those three months – a time when I was between jobs, having been made redundant thanks to the crash of a Building Schools for the Future marketplace and yet to be offered a job at an IT company. I had decided that I should tap into all that lucrative consultant moolah just at the worst point, when the market was suddenly flooded with thousands of people with exactly the same skill set as me. Sadly, I had also decided that my animal magnetism was sufficient to draw in all the customers like magic and I could simply spend a little time pretending I was working on finding business, when in fact, I was kidding myself.
I managed to get up early and go to networking breakfasts, and even had a couple of conversations with people who were all desperately trying to sell me services I neither wanted or could afford, and the arrival of another unconnected newbie in their midst did not do much for their prospect of raising business. In fact, as I write this, I recall two different networking meetings – one which was tiny and clearly trying to get itself started, and the other a massive monopoly that shut me out after three sessions for being in direct conflict with another on the group.
Looking back, they were probably right. I wasn’t prepared for that life at all.
The lesson I learned from that little episode in my life was that preparing to strike out on your own takes a lot more than getting business cards printed. I still have those business cards, and they are very nice. I never earned enough to cover those, never mind all the other bits I had acquired. I still have a box of leaflets in the attic that I haven’t thrown away yet. No, the life of a self driven consultant is one of being constantly hungry for new business and being able to dive right out without a safety net, something I was never all that good at. I have a friend who is, and as a result he is constantly turning new opportunities down, and earns considerably more than I suspect I ever will.
Still, I have learnt that my place in life is surrounded by others. As much as I do want to do something productive with my life besides the day job, I must reluctantly admit that the execution of my many ideas has absolutely non existent, and I can’t claim to be the type who doesn’t have ideas. This blogging experiment – the 30 days of posts – is to get me more comfortable with the feeling of public writing and the need to create something every day. If it sparks an idea in me, then great – but right now, it’s simply a healthy distraction from the feeling that I should really be doing something else.