I am pacing – in what was the ‘man cave’ and is now part-cave-part-study because my husband’s nerd collection is too big (and precious) to be moved elsewhere – at one in the morning wondering what the hell I have done!
Those that know me will tell you that I am considered, diligent and logical to a fault. So why, then, do I find myself dancing around the ‘office’ of my house in the wee hours of a Wednesday morning moving from the 3D printer to a spreadsheet database and back again?
Well, that is because this risk-averse crazy-person has gone and started her own small business. Who needs a secure, regular and consistent flow of money anyway…?!
I would love to say that I woke up one day inspired to take the risk and ‘go for it’ on the self-employment dream…but I didn’t. I was sort of forced into it; sort of. I was a happily employed communications worker, training on the side to become a career guidance counsellor as I don’t think we prepare our young people enough about their options; but that’s a long debate for another day. Then came the dreaded announcement of redundancies and to cut a long story short, I was suddenly shoved into the realm of impending unemployment. After a mad job application panic my husband and I went on a (pre-booked and pre-paid, thank god!) holiday, where after many poolside beers we discussed our festering business idea.
Once again, I would love to say that in that magical sun-kissed moment we decided to take the risk and ‘go for it’ but we didn’t. Instead, we did what all risk-averse people do: we evaluated. We checked our personal finances; we did market research; we consulted an accountant; we spoke with other small business owners; we did cost projection analysis; we double checked our personal finances; I could go on but needless to say we endlessly poured over spreadsheets. Then a couple of interviews cropped up and we forgot about it temporarily, then they didn’t work out, so the spreadsheets came back out.
Well, then, then I just sort of started getting on with it. Sort of alongside job applications until the point where I stopped writing job applications…and turned down two interviews and a job offer.
Without making the decision to take a risk and ‘go for it’, we sort of just went for it. Slowly. Considered. Cautious. Dedicated. Passionately. It has to be something that doesn’t feel like work; it has to suddenly be what you do because it suits you, your attributes, your lifestyles. And please, PLEASE don’t skip the spreadsheet phase because I know my limits, I know the business limits, I know what success looks like to us. In fact, have I even taken a risk?