As I hustle to grow my business and expand my network, I have been making a concerted effort to read everything I can pertaining to small business owners, entrepreneurs and startup companies.
I glean articles for helpful tips, anecdotes about interesting entrepreneurial efforts and insights about what worked in other industries.
The underlying message in most, if not all, of the content I read is that entrepreneurs are live-by-the-seat-of-their-pants risk takers.
I consider myself an entrepreneur, but I am far from a risk taker.
I have always been cautious. I was never the kid who’d jump off of the swing while still in motion.
While I don’t swing anymore (OK, at least not as frequently as I did as a kid), the urge to plan with care and caution – and take only a limited number of risks – is still part of me. Perhaps it’s in my DNA.
When everyone I know is forking over $10s and $20s for the hope of high jackpot winnings, I run the other way. I often over-plan instead of just rolling the dice and seeing what happens.
Every life decision I have made has been (over) analyzed and all possible outcomes have been evaluated ad nauseam.
That goes for my business too.
Instead of putting all possible income into growing Katalinas Communications at a breakneck speed, I squirrel away as much as possible for future mortgage payments, savings accounts and IRAs.
Does it mean that I’m less of an entrepreneur because I focus on the “what if” instead of just going for it? Some might say so.
But, I see it differently.
For me, having my business succeed for the long haul is more important than sprinting through and winning that first race. I would rather grow slowly, allowing myself to adapt to new clients, steeper workloads and more responsibility than ramp up too quickly, hiring too many employees and potentially not having enough work.
I realize that there may be “rainy days” and planning for them will help my business survive.
My husband and I had a discussion about risk-taking and being an entrepreneur. From his perspective, I am a risk-taker because it’s easier to work for someone else and have the business’ growth worries being theirs alone.
However, I view it differently. I think it’s more of a gamble to be employed by someone else, to not know what role you play in the future of the business and being at the mercy of the business owner if belt-tightening, layoffs or demotions are necessary. Having lived through a job loss a year ago, I feel more comfortable betting on myself.
If my business fails, I can only blame myself. Being the planner that I am, I don’t foresee failure in my future.