Tired of doing all the work for your boss but reaping none of the financial benefits? Fed up with working 60 hours a week for someone else? Interested in creating a career that fits your life instead of creating a life that fits your career? If so, you’re in luck. Authors Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio offer advice to help you make a change, in their new book titled, “The Girl’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business.” They offer tips on everything from how you can be your own boss, to advice from 50 successful women who run their own shops. They discuss the book on “Today.” Read an excerpt here:
"Are You the Girl to Run the Show?"
Stand up and walk to the nearest mirror. Take a long, hard look at the woman you see there. Now ask yourself, "Can I look to this woman for all the support, security, and leadership I need to survive?" Then ask that person in the mirror, "Do you want to be responsible for all the support, security, and leadership that I, the person holding the book, need?"
This chapter will help you evaluate whether you have what it takes to build your own business. Just as important, it will help you determine whether you really want to. You may fantasize about greeting customers in your own store or selling your hand-knit sweaters over the Internet, but after some exploration, you might discover that when it comes to the demands of minding a store, you would actually prefer to work a nine-to-five day and let someone else deal with the headaches of employees, leases, taxes, and contracts. Then again, you might decide that you are ready to take the leap.
So, let's take that long, hard look in the mirror, shall we?
The Good, Bad, and Unexpected Delights of Running the Show
We should point out at the start that nothing in business (like life) stays the same. Some days are good, some days are bad, and some unexpectedly profitable, but tomorrow will always be different. While the basic joys of running the show stay the same, there are some days when you just need to remind yourself why you decided to start your own business.
The Good: What We Like About Running the Show
We think there are more good than bad things about starting a business. Adrienne Arieff, founder of Arieff Communications, a public relations business in San Francisco specializing in hotels and beauty products, offers this benefit to consider: "The good thing about running your own business is that the final decision is always yours to make."
These are some other benefits to running the show.
You are never bored. Those days of sitting at your desk, staring out the window fantasizing about running off with Russell Crowe are over. You now have work to do and the motivation to do it.
You will constantly be challenged. Let's say that you have a slow day (rare, we hope) and thoughts of Russell Crowe creep in; within the next minute or so, you will have an opportunity to create, execute, and manage something. It could be anything from working on a new window display to being interviewed about your business for an article in the local newspaper.
Your time is your own. It now benefits you, not someone else, to work harder and longer if need be. But, if you have a doctor's appointment and are running a little late, that's fine, because now you have the most understanding boss in the world ... YOU.
You have the opportunity to create an ideal work environment. You can now create the work environment you have always been looking for in past jobs. Let's say you work best listening to a little Grateful Dead; you can do it, if you don't run a children's clothing store. Or, you prefer to start your day late and work until the wee hours. You can do it, if your business lends itself to those hours. Your company can be structured in ways that work best for you.
You don't have to ever again beg for a promotion or a raise from a boss. Okay, so you might have to ask for a fee increase from a client, but that is easier than begging for a salary bump from a supervisor who was passed out drunk at last year's holiday party. Need more money? With some careful planning and hard work, you can make it happen.
You can make your work fit your life. For too long you have been squeezing in dates, doctor appointments, birthday celebrations, and your child's school play around your workday. Now you have the opportunity to create a career that fits your life. This isn't to say that you will work less (you will most likely be working more), but the timing of it is now up to you, and if getting to your child's play means locking up the office for an hour or two, so be it.
You don't have a boss. We can't stress enough how GOOD this is. It is fantastic not to have anyone to answer to other than yourself (and sometimes investors, but we will get to that later). You now call the shots, set the agenda, make the schedule, hire and fire, reap the benefits and the profits of a successful endeavor. Nothing is better than that.
The Bad: What We Don't Like About Running the Show
It is important to remember that BAD should be temporary. If most of your day is spent worrying, stressing, obsessing, crying, or any ing's other than smiling and laughing, then think about doing something else. Do expect some bad days, weeks, and months. As Adrienne Arieff says, "The fragility of not knowing if the clients will be around month-to-month is tough."
You will feel out of sync with the rest of the world. Your work life is now completely unique to you. This will make you feel out of sync with the rest of the working world. While everyone you know works a nine-to-five job, has two weeks of vacation a year, and has a corporate 401(k) plan, you most likely won't. Occasionally this is a lonely feeling. If you experience this too often, we suggest that you join an organization for entrepreneurs; the National Association of Women Business Owners is a great place to start. Other entrepreneurs are the only ones who can relate to the challenges facing you on a daily basis.
The foregoing is excerpted from "The Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business," by Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022