The New Year is here. Time to get real! Time to ask the hard questions: Have I changed? Have I taken even step #1 yet? Am I still mired in F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real)? Am I an “owner” who is still working for hourly wages? (“Owner?” Ha! Big deal!)
Am I fat and out of shape because I'm so stressed and miserable that I eat fast junk food while I’m hustlin' for peanuts 24/7? Is my ego so big I'd rather see a battered old truck with my oh-so-important-name on the side than think about my, and my family's, economic security? Is this you, Bunky?
If any of the above applies to you, then I have the best advice anyone will ever give you: Quit. Yep, quit, even if you're older.
First, let me admit the advice originates from my own real fear of mediocrity! My fear of failing is much less than my fear of being mediocre, and I've failed — failed more than a few times — on my way to my final success. The question is, do you choose to be mediocre? If you've read my articles, you now know that staying mediocre is your choice — your own horrible choice!
If the answer is, “No, I want better for myself and for my family than mediocre,” then you either have to change or quit ... otherwise you will stay mired in a hell of your own making, especially since you now know better.
No, I ain't goin' to leave you hangin' by advising that you simply quit. That's just half of it. The other half is: Go to work for someone else. But do your homework. Talk it over with family, friends, peers. Do your research through some online forums like the ones offered by the Service Round Table. Hey, ask me, I'm a trained professional business coach. Then decide.
It boils down to this: If you don't choose to begin running a profitable business this New Year — right the hell now! — starting by adopting Flat Rate Pricing, then you owe it to yourself and your family to sell your labor profitably to someone who will help you turn your expertise into worthwhile income.
Look around. Our industry is screaming for good, well-trained, ambitious employees and/or managers! Finding great employees is the number one problem most, if not all, small business owners face — especially in our technically challenged subcontracting industries. It's not even arguable.
So there you be, the best advice to get you started on a great New Year. Think about the benefits of working for someone else if you won't, can't, or don't want to make the effort to change your own business ways: There would be less stress, more time off, probably extra income, and, maybe most importantly, more opportunity to care for your health.
Or, you can change your business habits and buy yourself these perks with your own money. But, dammit, decide!
And here's my New Year's advice to myself: Get professional, Bunky. No more giving away hours of my time for free, so the following is an unabashed advertisement for my services. If you'd like some starter guidance from a guy who's virtually bootstrapped hisself from zero to success The Easy Way — not without hard work, but with easy methods — then I'll help you or I’ll give you your money back.
E-mail me. I'll send you what I charge — ridiculously little for one solid hour on the phone. Ask any questions. Take notes.
Make it a conference call with your spouse and/or employee(s) if that fits. Apply what we've discussed. Then if you don't see an improvement in your business within 30 days, I'll return your money no questions asked. Why wouldn't I? I don't want to take money from anyone who wants to stay mediocre.
Let's all of us have the best year of our lives, starting right now!
Next time: I’m going to tell you how to start growing and get out of your truck ... of course, The Easy Way.
Retired master plumber Ed O’Connell, the founder emeritus of O’Connell Plumbing, is a pro-active consultant to the subcontracting industry in Fairfax, Calif. He is the business coach for the “smaller folks,” which includes most contractors. He can be reached at 415/453-2291 or by email at [email protected]