When you think about starting your own small business, what kind of business do you have in mind?
I don't just mean what industry or sector you plan to go into — such as retail, hospitality or automotive — I want to know the size of your vision.
Do you see yourself growing an enterprise with dozens of employees or becoming a successful independent consultant? In other words, are you building a business or creating a job?
Picture three would-be entrepreneurs, each attending a workshop on starting their own businesses.
The first would-be business owner thinks: "I've been laid off from my job and can't find another one. But I need to make a living. I'm good at what I do, willing to work hard. I'll go to work for myself."
The second one thinks: "I'm about to retire, but I'm not ready to play golf all day. I'm an avid photographer. I could charge some friends and acquaintances for taking photos at their weddings and events."
The third one envisions something entirely different: She's been working on a new invention. She thinks to herself, "If I can get the money, I know I can build a business that will make millions of dollars."
Each of these entrepreneurs might say the same thing: "I want to start my own business."
But they mean very different things. The first one wants to create a job, the second to make a bit of extra money, and the third wants to launch a company they could perhaps sell one day.
When I started my first small business, I fell into the first category.
I was looking for a way to be my own boss, to make enough income to support myself. But I sure didn't want to have employees. For more than a decade, I was a self-employed consultant, a sole proprietor.