Thursday, December 13, 2007

Workin' for the Man

My professor of entrepreneurship explained that the only way a person can legally be paid less than minimum wage is to work for himself. What did he mean? Starting a business has become the American Dream, the ideal to achieve for so many people, but self-employment is not always so wonderful.

First, why do most people want their own business? Some people think it will be nice to not have a boss to answer to. Instead, though, every customer can become like a boss. Some people think they don't want to work as many hours as their jobs require. I have only met one person who has successfully worked fewer hours because he owned his own business - and he was doing the hard physical labor of carpet cleaning with industrial machines. I know before he got to that point, though, he worked a lot of hours to get to where he could just work twenty a week. Most of the time, small business owners find themselves spending most of their waking hours (and they increase the number of those waking hours) developing their business.

This post is not to complain about owning a small business. My company is fifteen years old and does not demand the time it did in the early years. I write now simply to serve notice to anyone thinking, "I could quit my job and sell [pick a product] and be done with the sixty hour work week!"

That may be true, the sixty hour work week may become a thing of the past. It may be a fond memory as the ninetieth hour slips by.

-- Robert


Sister Mary Lisa said...

So true. It's interesting to dream of things...we sometimes don't know what we're dreaming of, not really.

Robert said...

I know two brothers right now living the dream of starting their own businesses. Both of them work like dogs to keep up with their orders, and while I think it's wonderful and I'm proud of what they've accomplished, I imagine they had no idea just what they were getting into when they decided to start their businesses. There are a lot of other pitfalls besides the increased workload, though. The biggest one is not understand the difference between increases in cash and profitability. Perhaps I'll cover that in a future post.