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Entrepreneur

Business Owner – Know Thyself

By Tom Irmen

I turn 64 this year and have now been self-employed for nearly half my life. In fact, just one year short.

Despite my more than three decades long experience as one of the nation’s nearly 10 million self-employeds, little has changed, at least as it relates to the opportunity for success. One thing that has changed, however, is my ability to pick a winner. No, I didn’t get any smarter, but I have had the rare opportunity to observe firsthand many thousands of small businesses and their owners for 30+ years.

I generally place business owners in one of two categories. The most successful are those with that unmistakable fire-in-their-eyes passion for both their business and the future, whereas those who are most certain to fail are those who treat their business as a hobby or a casual venture. They are the ones who set a date for success. “If I don’t achieve my goals by year’s end, I’m out of here.” Picking a date to succeed is the same as picking a date to fail.

Failures among the first group are rare. Failures among the second group are almost assured.

Merely wanting to be successful is not enough. We all want to succeed. Your desire to succeed has to be an obsession. Now I’m not suggesting that you abandon your family and friends in pursuit of success, but your success has to be an obsession for at least that portion of the time you have allocated to running your small business.

If I were politically correct, I would substitute commitment for obsession. But no matter what word you prefer, nothing worthwhile will be achieved in any noteworthy fashion without that fire-in-your-eyes passion that each and every winner exhibits.

So why am I so overly obsessed with sharing my point of view with so many self-employeds and would-be entrepreneurs? Simple, actually. My objective is to help you choose between success and failure and to avoid the emotional and financial costs that those in the last category are almost guaranteed to experience.

I love having been self-employed for nearly half my life. I hope you’ll be able to say the same thing yourself, and you can… but know thyself first.

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