• Steve Green

Meet the threefold roller coaster passenger – How to be a business owner

Everyone who runs a business has their story. We all have a watershed moment when we choose to take the bumpier road and branch out on our own. When someone asks, “why did you start a business?”, that story is the one that springs to mind. For me, that story started in the November of 2005. The days were getting short, the nights were cold, but I was in a cosy, warm place watching my 2-year-old son playing. As he created his little play worlds, occasionally being kind enough to allow me into them to play along, I realised that the most important thing in my world was to give him the best life I could. I would like to tell you that I had a huge epiphany or some sort of dramatic revelation, but I can’t. The truth is that I was (and secretly still am) a little bit of a pessimistic individual, so it remains a total surprise to me that the path I chose was to start a business.

The first few months were a bumpy ride. To call them a steep learning curve would be the understatement of the century. I regularly found myself looking back over the day and wondering ‘what just happened’? It was like there was a person who occasionally ran my day and handled every new event without me being involved. Unfortunately, that person seemed to randomly take an extended lunch now and again and leave me to fly by the seat of my pants for a while. Eventually, after reading around the subject quite a bit, I concluded that entrepreneurs have slightly different wiring. Or at least if they don’t to begin with, they learn that to succeed, they need to rewire themselves very quickly.

Three approaches

I would suggest that within every entrepreneur there are three approaches. Three different minds, or perhaps more accurately, personality types that we learn to let loose when needed. The Entrepreneur, The Technician, and the Project manager. They rarely agree, and they often have different agendas, but 16 years has taught me how to get them to work to my benefit. I believe it is the continual conflict between these three aspects that drives us on. They find the road less bumpy. Between them, they handle the dichotomies of order and chaos and the eternal optimism and crushing despair that any day can bring.

Over time I, and then as the company grew, we, thrived as a business. We went the usual route of sole trader, to utilising sub-contractors and eventually to our own in-house team. I don’t use the word team casually either. They work together, and they stand together through good and bad times. Out of that comes a strong, capable, adaptable group of individuals that come together to make great things happen. What is interesting is that you see in them the same, Entrepreneur, Technician and Project Manager that drove me.

Owning a business is hard

There is no other way to say it. It’s not for the faint-hearted, and it can be a gut punch sometimes, but it also has moments of euphoria and achievement. These things are simply the currency of being in business. What the exchange rate between those two sides of the coin is, remains a mystery, though. I just know they end up being worth it.

We stay in the game. We continue to bring order to chaos. We never look back unless we are learning from our mistakes to look forward with clearer sight. We always, no matter what happens, get back on our feet. Whether we are the Entrepreneur, The Project Manager, or the Technician on that particular day, we know one of them will stand up for us and keep us walking forward.

So, why do we do it?

Why do hundreds of thousands of business owners keep taking the punches and rolling with them? Well, simply put, this is the best job in the world. It is the most amazing road to travel. A theme park attraction built by a thrill seeker that didn’t know when to stop and had heard of brakes but decided to give them a miss. Picture the most exciting roller coaster you ever rode. Now double it. If you want a ticket for that ride, it is available; you just need to step up and strap in.

Go on… I dare you.

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