Its funny, in an interesting way, how different things motivate different business owners. I can remember being in my insulated ivory tower when working in finance in big plc’s looking at some of the suppliers, advisers, consultants that we used who ran their own businesses and feeling quite envious about their position and how ‘in control’ they appeared to be.
Mind you the truth for many was that the calm exterior betrayed something very different, a constant battle to win work, manage cash flow, manage the workload, deal with awkward employees, the list goes on.
When I started my practice it was, I suppose, the final step which saw me move from being Group FD of a construction group employing more than 400 staff, to a small consultancy of only 4 people, to finally working for myself.
This wasn’t a carefully thought out plan, various things fell, or in some cases plummeted, into place and it happened. Once I’d made the decision to do it thought it was something I committed to 100% (it irritates me when people say how they commit more than 100% to something – how do they do that?).
I met someone several years ago who told me “…there are three things which drive people; fear, greed and sex..” While he may have simplified it a little, it probably does describe the general categories in which you can put people who you would say have drive. Fear – fear of failure. Greed - wealth, fame, power, praise. Sex? – well, I don’t think that needs explaining.
My initial drive was from fear. Fear of failure. Having a wife who had given up work to look after our family and with a large mortgage I was the sole breadwinner. I didn’t have any real savings so it had to start working very quickly. I can remember early on how I use to lay in bed at night wondering where my next client would come from.
Without repeating myself too much, it worked because I mixed practice work with part time consultancy/subcontracting. The contract work gave me the cash flow to pay the bills and allowed me to spend my ‘other’ time growing my practice – early on it was 7 days a week and 60+ hours a week.
After around 18 months I stopped the consulting/subcontract work completely. Now in year 5 work is stable and I’m quite happy to keep things ticking over as they are. I have no drive as such to do anything ‘more’ the fear of failure is a thing of the past.
Ah, I almost forgot the drive I like to do now is drive my tractor ;o)
About Kent accountant
Chartered Accountant based in Kent.
After leaving practice very soon after qualifying, swearing never to return, in 2011 I did exactly that.
Now a sole practitioner and loving it, business growing rapidly and looking forward to the future as my own boss.