Dispelling The Myths Of Ownership

Jim Blasingame

Since hope truly does spring eternal, on any given day you’re likely to meet a starry-eyed human babbling on about becoming a business owner.

Probing for the object of this person’s entrepreneurial infatuation will precipitate what, where, how, and when questions and, finally, the most important question: Why do you want to own a business? Answers to this last one, unfortunately, often produce what I call “The Myths of Small Business Ownership.” Here are the four most prominent:

Myth 1: When I’m an owner, I’ll be my own boss.

That’s right; you won’t have an employer telling you what to do. But you’ll trade that one boss for many others: customers, landlords, bankers, the IRS, regulators – and, incredibly, today, even employees. #GODHELPUS

Modern management is more about inspiring, leading, and serving than “bossing.” In a small business, everyone must wear several hats and the dominator management model doesn’t work well in this 21st-century multi-tasking environment.

Myth 2: When I own my own business, I won’t have to work as hard as I do now.

This is actually true — you will work much harder. Ramona Arnett, CEO of Ramona Enterprises, said it best, “Owning a business means working 80 hours a week so you can avoid working 40 hours for someone else.”

The irony is that you’ll want to work harder when you understand everything in your business belongs to you. Even the irritating, frustrating, and frightening challenges will take on a new perspective when you realize you also own the opportunities you turn them into. You’ll turn the lights on in the morning and off in the evening not because you want to work more, but because you won’t want to miss any part of your entrepreneurial dream coming true.

Myth 3: When I own my own business, I can take a day off whenever I want.

Well, maybe. You may eventually get to take a day off, but it will be a long time before it’s “whenever I want.” 

The truth is that you’re more likely to find that your business has such a compelling attraction that you won’t want to take off. Indeed, it’s more likely that whatever interests you had as an employee will become jealous of your business.

Myth 4: When I own my own business, I’ll make a lot of money.

If the only reason you want to own a business is to get rich, you probably won’t be a happy owner. It’s true – you actually could get rich. But decades of research indicate that you’re more likely to just make a living. 

Being a successful business owner means loving what you do first. This will sound like crazy talk, but pursuing wealth should be secondary to the work for its own sake. Ironically, your business is more likely to make you rich because you subordinated that motivation to the work. 

If the desire for money and stuff is greater than loving to work in your small business, you’ve made was already going to be extremely difficult into something that’s virtually impossible. Good luck with that.

Out here on Main Street, it’s all about the work. Any questions?  

Write this on a rock ... For maximum small business success, don’t fall prey to the myths of ownership.

Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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