Summer is in full swing and with it the urge to be outside. Many people these days are unemployed and get to be outside, but for those who are still employed and have the fantasy of quitting their job and being their own boss, this is a rough time of year.
Warm summer days and free concerts at the Santa Monica Pier breed an urgency in one to get out of the office, to begin to play in the sand, to find a summer lover and enjoy the warm days ahead with a sandwich from Bay Cities Deli on the beach.
The heat of the summer, and the lack of need for clothing motivates some of us to renew those January resolutions to lose weight, and to take a look at our life and re-evaluate where we are physically and professionally.
For the majority of us, spring and summer means bathing suits, BBQs and romance. That sense of vulnerability while strolling half naked is upon us, and but for those so blessed as to be blissfully unaware of how they look in a bathing suit, there is a little voice in our heads that says, time to lose some weight, pick up a dumbbell and tone up.
With this comes the desire to clean up our personal lives. For some of us that means finally dumping that loser boyfriend, throwing in the towel on the marriage that was over two years ago, or quitting that dead end job.
Some people choose to review their professional lives and see if there is room for improvement. This is the time when many are looking at their work and wanting to start a new business.
Lately I’ve received many phone calls from people wanting to start a corporation, open a restaurant or quit their jobs and do what they are now doing, but for themselves. Invariably I ask what the motivation for this sudden life changing event is, and a surprisingly large number of times I get the response of “I want more financial security and more time for me and my family.”
Well. That’s not so much what’s going to happen. The false impression that being one’s own boss is life of fishing and playing with the kids is singularly the most damaging lie that Madison Avenue has ever sold to the American public. I know that the multi-level marketing companies like Amway and Avon paint the scenario to the frustrated worker that they can work from home and make $10,000 a month working part time. I’ve seen the franchisor’s pitches that buying a franchise from “Billy Joe’s Carpet Cleaners” is a “sure-fire” way to retire in five years.
The companies are relying on an age old trick of comparing apples to staplers. The pitch starts out like this, “Wouldn’t it be great to retire in 10 years? Can you imagine how rich you’d be if you bought one of the first McDonald’s franchises?”
That’s the bait. Dreams of riches and relaxation, as your business operates making you money. The hook is the McDonald’s franchise connection. Everyone would like to own a McDonald’s. They print money. Problem is, they didn’t always. In the beginning they were a risky idea, full of new markets and no history. Ray Kroc was able to convince people to invest in his company on a wing and a dream.
For most of those who invested in the beginning, they made millions. They put in large sums of money up front, worked twice as long and hard as they ever did before, and somewhere down the line they were able to retire and relax.
But that’s the problem that a frustrated, or scared office worker wont see. They won’t see the 80 hour work weeks, the waking up in the middle of the night wondering how they are going to make payroll tomorrow.
A frustrated employee, who dreams of beach days, fishing trips and drinks with little umbrellas in them doesn’t see the effort that the owner of a business puts in to make it a success.
That’s the downside of being your own boss. The good side, as I was reminded of while speaking with a neighboring business owner, is that being your own boss gets in your blood and you find it impossible to work for others.
But like working out and losing weight, it takes a consistent effort and long hours doing things you don’t like, to get to the point of being able to relax and enjoy the swimsuit.
David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa