Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to the Brave New World of the Naked Entrepreneur

Today looks like it will rain again. Sat at home, trying to get this business going, entrepreneurship doesn't look like the brochure. Trying to get a new printer to work. Two hours going through receipts. A fruitless trip to the bank where Gareth can't open an account today but he'd love me to meet their New Business Manager next week. Hardly Dragon's Den, more Soggy Hole. I will drop the kids, walk the dog then settle in for another day of this.

Today I have to contact an elusive book-keeper and track down a contract to use with Associates. Then call my web-guy, my IT guy and the woman who is doing my stationary. It feels like three jobs in one, half of which I am so poor at I should qualify for some kind of assistance (piles of receipts just baffle me, like dyslexia).

This would all be fine - leisurely even - without the knawing anxiety that Every Day Counts (I have about a year's finance). Every hour spent trying to decide which web-hoster to use is an hour of no pay and no sales. The pressure can feel, in a slightly comical way, quite intense, in these four spare-room walls. The noble cause for which I am fighting is, of course, that of freedom, of manning my own ship and possibly, just possibly, getting it all right by helping lots of new social businesses emerge blinking into the light after years entombed in the public sector.

To this end, I will today borrow enough money to buy me a new top of the range Audi A3 - except this money will go mainly on ensuring we stay afloat during year one while I am trying to make a profit. The Ford Focus has a long way to go yet.

Risks like this - on top of a similar amount of my own cash spent so far - are the essence of entrepreneurship. Risk is to entrepreneurship what passing and heading are to football. Not the whole story - there is tackling too - but absolutely central.

I am sometimes irritated by the over-liberal use of the term `entrepreneurial'. It has come to mean just about any work activity that is outside the box. `X is highly entrepreneurial' you will hear of some someone who hasn't put his financial life on the line but come up with an idea for a new product or service. It gets conflated with creativity. But it's really about blood-and-guts risk-taking.

My loan gets me to September next year, with a fair wind. I hope to be able to live off the proceeds of the business after that. In two years I will hopefully make a bit more than I did as a Cex. After that I hope to be in a much better place altogether financially.

Of course it could go the other way. I might end up eating humble and getting any job I can. Which is why the reward has to be worth it. This isn't a rehash of last week's piece, just an underlining of why it is perfectly OK for entrepreneurs to make money.

However, that all feels like a long way from today. I am looking forward to another long day on my own. The highlight will be Gareth from HSBC calling me back - if he does (that's another thing, being seen by people like Gareth as somehow a bit unfortunate - I think he has me down as a Redundancy). I will squeeze in a run later, between the showers, and possibly, come back feeling better than when I set out.

Welcome to the Brave New World of the Naked Entrepreneur!

1 comment:

Rob Fountain said...

Don't want to get all lefty social worker, but please DON'T "drop the kids", eh? Good man.

(And don't run past the Audi dealership in case you scupper your business plans in a terribly weak moment!!)

Bon voyage.