by Rob Spiegel
For those of you who have been visitors to the Business Know-How web site for a while, Rob Spiegel should be a familiar name. We have been running his columns for quite a few years, but now he has decided to move on to other things and he will be sorely missed. Read Rob's final column here.
This is my bye, bye column -- after six years.
Most of my writer friends think it's nuts to give up a column. The column is a plum among writers. This format gives you the chance to say things your way about a subject that feeds your passion.
But I've said enough, so I'm going to hang it up. I started writing about business in the early 1980s. In the mid-80s, I started my own business, which I ran for ten years. I sold it in the mid 90s to return to writing. And I wrote about business again.
In the past few years, though, I've drifted toward covering other subjects -- environmental compliance, globalization, outsourcing, children's fiction. So, it's been a strain to get back to the subject of home business and Internet enterprises every two weeks. Plus, I think I've said all I can say on the subject.
Before I go, let's look at the important points of home-based enterprises and Internet business.
- It's family friendly. A good portion of those who start home-based enterprises do it because they want to be close to their young children. I had two young kids at home while freelancing. You can't beat the lifestyle of working from home. At first I felt guilty because I wasn't on the floor playing with the kids all the time. But then it occurred to me that for 10,000 or 20,000 years families did their work while taking care of young children. Our DNA is used to busy parents who do their house work or farm work while taking care of kids. We've only separated ourselves from kids for about 150 years. The unnatural part is going away each day to an office or shop. Staying at home and working is what we're built to do.
- Home-based enterprises and Internet businesses stand a better chance for success than businesses launched outside the home. The low overhead of a home business increases your likelihood for success. The edge is about 10 percent. You have roughly a 45 percent likelihood of keeping your business alive for five years if you launch outside your home. If you launch at home, your chance of still being in business after five years rises to about 55 percent. That's all the difference in the world.
- Love what you do for a living. When you start your own business, you get to do what you like with your day, with your life. Henry David Thoreau said you improve your life by improving the quality of your day. Nothing does that better than spending your day doing something you really like. Sounds small, but it's huge, it's everything.
- You get to find out who you are and what you're capable of accomplishing. For many business owners, maybe all business owners, running your own company, even if it's only a company of one person, you, is an exercise in finding out what ya got. Ted Turner said he created CNN because he wanted to see if he could do it.
- You'll succeed if it means enough to you. This is not the same as "failure is not an option," which is a fairly idiotic statement. "You'll succeed if it means enough to you" really means you'll do the unpleasant things -- like making 20 sales contacts each day -- because the result -- that you get to keep running your own lovely business -- inspires you to do the difficult tasks.
That's about it. I spent six years saying those same things over and over. Sometimes I'd throw in an anecdote about one of my kids or I'd reminisce about starting a publishing company and the horror of managing a staff. But mostly, I just tried to harp on the fact that "you can do it if you really try" and that it's worth trying.
Thanks for reading. I've enjoyed the time we've spent together, hope you have as well.