Let's Talk Work

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Silver Linings

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In discussions with our career network, the subject often turns to self-employment. It has come up with friends as well – those who are at a crossroads in their professions. Could this be the opportunity you didn’t realize you were looking for, until it smacked you upside the head?

There are so many opportunities for people in franchising, starting a business of their own, partnering with someone else. Yet, one must truly take stock of what they are looking for. If a certain salary is an absolute priority, then keep that in mind. If salary is less, but creativity is what you’ve been dreaming about – then explore those avenues. Franchise operators can enter business ownership yet they are still micro-managed by the franchisor. So if one is looking to invest, has good management skills and can follow direction – he/she can be quite successful.

But the start-up fees and licensing and so much that goes into franchising can be quite costly. You really must be ready to invest – in a business model that is already proven and in play – and go from there.

I recall Wine Styles – and how they were opening all over. Great concept and environment. But now I just see them closing one by one. Why wasn’t it sustainable? Was it the fault of the franchisor or the franchise? Was it location – location – location? Or was it just a short-lived pipe dream and someone else got rich? Who knows. But I’d be interested in those stories.

I’ve often dreamed of owning my own business – and throughout many jobs I’ve had, I had many “if I was the owner of this place” thoughts and ideas. One heavily researched idea was that of a coffee house — not quite 20 years ago. I didn’t drink coffee, but I liked the idea of community, comfort, creativity. But the potential hours of operation scared me off a bit, as well as the initial investment – but mostly, it was finding the right location.

Another idea I have often thought of was that of an innkeeper. Not a traditional bed & breakfast, but one that was more business traveler oriented. Talk about investment! In any case, that is one of those ideas that come to me each time I spend time at hotel that I enjoy.

So I wonder, is there anyone we are reaching that has started a new career path, say – after 50 years old. Either entrepreneurial or otherwise. What has worked and what might not be working so well.

I did go my own way. By choice. I left a blossoming career with great salary potential. It wasn’t a coffee-house or even a wine bar (still on my mind). I took a leap of faith with serious spousal support and little investment (other than loss of a good and regular salary, benefits, paid vacation and sick time) and started Sundance Group. I thought was a good time to practice what I had been preaching as internal HR management, to others who needed interim or even long-term support. So here I am, 17 years later – still hanging in there if even by a thread. Life interferes.

What I can share through my own entrepreneurial wisdom is to be sure, be disciplined, be flexible, be open and be invested. Surround yourself with like-minded people who understand and support. Have back-up plans. Have tenacity. Have at it!

P.S. Be sure to check out the article we shared on our ‘food for thought’ page.

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