guest commentary by David Potts
Potts is a certified public accountant with more than 25 years experience (Although every effort is made to provide you accurate and timely tax information, it is general in nature and not specific to your facts and circumstances. Consult a qualified tax professional to discuss your particular case.)
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My wife says I’m not sensitive. I might not be at times. One time, after helping a client fire a manager who was underperforming, I was told by this client that I had no tact.
Personally, I think I am just direct and to the point. Why beat around the bush? Let the facts speak for themselves. But I’ll admit that by being direct and to the point, I probably am at times guilty of being insensitive and tactless.
For example, some people may have heard me say: “I believe extended unemployment benefits contribute to a high unemployment rate because who is stupid enough to go to work when they are paid to stay at home. If you are jobless and have no money coming in, you shouldn’t be picky about what job to take. “
Or somebody may have heard me say: “If you can’t find a job, then make one! That’s what I did in 1984. That’s why Potts & Company exists today. Never took a dime of unemployment benefits.”
I do believe that paying extended unemployment benefits contributes to the high unemployment rate and I do believe if you can’t find a job making your own job is a valid option and should be considered.
But 1984 was a long time ago and it is easy to forget the human side of being unemployed or underemployed and wondering what to do next.
I can still feel that awful feeling when I walked out of my former workplace without a job and having no idea of what to do next. I worked for an oilfield service company and at the time the energy industry was having issues. With a pregnant wife at home, it was quite scary. But being young, impulsive, and uninformed of the real risks involved, I decided to start my own public accounting firm. It worked and I haven’t been without a job since.
But here is what they don’t tell you about being self-employed or starting your life as an entrepreneur. It’s scary. I rented some office space, bought an IBM Selectric typewriter, a desk and chair, an Apple IIe personal computer with two 64K drives, and some software. I had business cards and letterhead printed. I was ready.
I opened for business.
The only problem was I only had one client. And he wasn’t a big client. The quietness in my office was very nerve-racking. The only option I had was to pound the pavement and find new clients. I wrote letters, I made cold calls, and I would drop-in various businesses hoping to talk with the business owner.
I experienced self-doubt, fear of failure, and had to rely on resourcefulness because of my lack of resources. With time I developed a client base that made my business endeavor successful and many of the clients that had a little faith in me are still great clients today.
I have worked with hundreds of business owners since I opened for business in 1984. The majority of these business owners, if they will be honest, will confess to experiencing fear and self-doubt when they started their businesses. Eventually, with time, the elephant will step off your chest and life will be better.
If you find yourself in that place in life where you have a strong desire to start your own business, or maybe you can’t find a job that fits your skills, choosing the path of entrepreneurship and capitalism is a valid choice, but fear is one big obstacle that you have to face and overcome.
But overcoming the fear is very doable. What is the worst that can happen to you?
Now that I’ve shown you my sensitive side, start your business and go kick butt.