Posted by: kentropic | August 21, 2009

Before you take the plunge….

"Hold the saccharine, please!"

"Hold the saccharine, please!"

The current economic downturn has given lots of us a chance to think seriously about starting our own business. If we’re suddenly unattached and unencumbered by obligations to an employer, why not? “When life gives you lemons,” etc., right? What do we have to lose?

Well, plenty — if we don’t think the matter through carefully. The best nutshell guide that I’ve seen recently comes from the always pithy and insightful Jason Seiden, who’s just written a terrific post called “Got a Brilliant Idea? Now You Need a Crash Course in Money + Business.2936450932_a3e59a042e

As usual, Jason’s right on the (ahem) money when he points out that self-employment without extremely careful and clearsighted financial planning is likely to end in disaster. In that sense, Jason’s piece reminds me of fellow Chicagoan Steve Albini‘s famous (and scathing) 1993 essay for the late, lamented journal, The Baffler: The Problem with Music.”

It all sounds a bit discouraging, and rightly so: entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you have one of those brilliant ideas Jason alludes to, and you’re ready to invest more of your own time and money in its success than you ever thought possible, then by all means jump right in!

And if you do take the plunge, here’s a cool graphic from Bud Caddell that you should hang on your office/workshop wall and study every day. It’s the most concise visual summary of sound business development strategy that you’re ever likely to find:

"Happiness in Business," by Bud Caddell

"Happiness in Business," by Bud Caddell

How many of you have taken the entrepreneurial plunge, and lived to tell the tale? What’s the most important advice that you’d offer someone who’s about to try going it alone?



  1. Nice post! In business, we should know what path are you following in starting your own business. In order to change your path, you need to know what direction you want to go in.

    • Thanks, Sharon. That’s why I love Bud Caddell’s graphic: it prompts you to articulate your business goals in plain English.

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