By Kenneth S. Gadd and Thomas Reed
Why do we do it?
Sometimes that question is framed in more strident terms by those who love us. We don’t think we’re taking chances; we feel this is the only way we can make a living. The founder of Gadd Business Consultants, Ken Gadd, has stated that he feels he does not fit the traditional employment mold. Recently emancipated from a multinational conglomerate myself, I very much feel the same way.
There are many facets to the endeavor to which we have committed ourselves. Many entrepreneurs have started their companies in an effort to do what they do better than they have done it working for others; others to make the world a better place. All of us do it to satisfy a drive within us.
Many non-entrepreneurial types see what we do as inexcusably risky. Unfortunately, statistics do bear out that a large portion of these endeavors do fail. Failure, though, is a matter of perspective.
The truly successful see failure as a learning opportunity. History is replete with stories of entrepreneurs who’s first attempts end poorly, but with subsequent endeavors reach spectacular success.
Tim Ferris, of the fourhourworkweek.com blog, has noted that successful entrepreneurs are not random risk-takers. They are smart and they don’t take risks needlessly. They educate themselves about necessary topics and surround themselves with experts that know more about unfamiliar areas than they themselves do.
In this way, they begin to insulate themselves against unnecessary risks. In other words: these are not individuals who jump without looking, they find a way to incorporate knowledge into their organizations. This may be by tapping external experts or heeding the feedback of a focus group.
Being self-employed is not about taking unmitigated risk; it should be about addressing risk smartly and looking out for success.
Gadd frequently says that most people who start business aren’t business people. They are mechanics, construction workers, veterinarians, chefs and others who through hard work and passion find themselves owning a business in the industry they previously produced in and quickly realize it takes an entirely different skills pool to run the business than produce in it. The wise find experts to guide them and offer lessons along the journey as to avoid dire consequences. Ken Gadd founded Gadd Business Consultants to be such a guide and mentor to entrepreneurs utilizing his extensive blend of experience, education and training to provide such know-how.