What You Want Is Passion Not Obsession

Welcome to the Fenner’s Law Podcast. Today’s topic: What You Want Is Passion Not Obsession is part of our Small Business Start-Up series.

 My name is Robert Fenner. Thank you for joining me.

Sometimes in all of the excitement of starting a business, we can lose sight of whether our business goals are realistic and achievable. I just got a letter from a former client who wrote to inform me she has just emerged from bankruptcy. I think her story is a cautionary tale for new entrepreneurs. I have changed the names and some of the circumstances to ensure anonymity.

Terry is a middle-aged woman who left her husband a few years ago. Throughout her marriage, she followed and supported him in a variety of ‘get rich’ schemes which left them embarrassed, in debt, and with bad credit. 

Terry was a school principal with two masters’ degrees.  Her husband was a dreamer who quit a secure job to chase money.  At first, his dreams were confined to part-time, after-work fantasies of operating a printing business out of their basement or bidding on small government contracts to supply various goods and services.  He made money, but not enough to quit his day job.

Terry had lived in gated communities, sent her children to private school and drove nice cars.  Terry had also been evicted from gated communities, had her cars repossessed and her children excluded from private schools.  One day, on returning from work, she saw men removing her furniture from her house and placing it on the front lawn.  As this had happened before, she was not surprised.  This time, however, she chose not to fall into the same patterns that had defined the majority of her adult life. She walked into the house, past her husband and grabbed her family photos, a few items of sentimental value and her dog.  She walked out, and without looking back, got in her car and drove off.

As a lawyer, I have seen clients succeed as well as fail

I think part of the benefit of doing these podcasts is to help people to make rational choices about their business future.  In my opinion, there is a distinct difference between being passionate about your business and being obsessive. Terry’s husband was obsessed with making money. Unfortunately, many of the fine details involved in creating a successful business escaped him. Maybe he lacked the patience or skill to succeed. Maybe his business ideas were uninspired. Maybe he needed more money.

Part of the process of starting your business is to be objective about its chances of success.

Take time to research your idea and the administration of your business.

Are you an expert in your business idea? If not, is it realistic to expect that you can become an expert before you open your business?

The internet is a great research tool. Take your time and look for objective articles that focus on your business idea. Write your ideas down and supplement your internet research with professional advice. An hour talking to a lawyer is well worth the consultation fee. A meeting with an accountant can help you determine whether you can afford to start a new business.

If possible, find and talk to people who are already in your field and get their take on business administration and daily operation. Talk to friends and family; they can be an excellent resource for inspiration.

While you cannot guarantee success, when it comes to business, you can hedge your bets and reduce the risk of business failure and family disruption. Remember Terry? Her situation was avoidable.

Thanks for listening to the Fenner’s Law Podcast. To learn more, visit us at fennerslaw.com.

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