Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Zen of Running your Own Business

When it comes to satisfaction, nothing compares to owning and operating your own business. Everyday is exciting. You wake up energized, full of ideas and objectives to be accomplished. When you launch a business that is something you really want to do, your chances of success are high and (as the psychologists say) you become "self-actualized."

I spent over twenty-five years in entrepreneurial and corporate environments. Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes it was drudge work. And then there was the corporate politics, artificial deadlines, and incompetent bosses to deal with, not to mention driving at two hours daily through exhausting traffic. I don't miss it.

Now, I work out of my home office and have a virtual company made up of knowledgeable executives who like myself leverage our vast experience to mentor start-ups and small businesses. We hold meetings (when necessary) at Starbucks overlooking the Pacific Ocean surf.

It is amazing how much you can accomplish in a day when you're not bothered by the minutia and frustrations that are the price of working for someone else in exchange for getting a steady paycheck. Your workday becomes very targeted. And if it's a nice day, there's always time to "smell the roses," go for a bike ride along the beach, or just take a break to reflect on life.

Don't get me wrong. Starting a business takes a lot of work. You will work harder and longer during the first couple of years than you ever did when employed by someone else. There will be victories and defeats. Some days you will wonder how you are going to pay the bills this month. You will learn and overcome adversities. You will grow. You will grow a lot!

But mostly it doesn't seem like work, because you are making your own decisions and building a future for yourself. You are your own boss. You get to be creative and test new ideas. And when you succeed, it brings a special sense of joy and satisfaction.

I look back over the past five years since launching my own consulting business and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. With the ugly economy and layoffs, maybe it's time for you too to take an entrpreneurial leap. One door closes and another opens. If you do your homework upfront and are prepared to dedicate yourself for a few years, you may find the rewards in both your business and personal life to be overwhelming.