Are You An Entrepreneur?
That big French-sounding word in the headline refers to starting and owning your own business. It’s not an easy thing to do. Entrepreneurs who start a new business typically work 60 hours or more each week for years while earning modest income before success enables them to fully enjoy the fruits of their labor. Often, they risk their life savings or, if they borrow money from a bank or elsewhere, go into deep debt trying to fund their business in the lean early years. And, it must be pointed out, not all of them succeed. Many go bankrupt.
So, why would you even want to try starting your own business? Probably the biggest motivator is, to nobody’s surprise, the opportunity to make lots of money. There are three basic ways to become rich. One is to inherit wealth. Another is to capitalize on extraordinary talent leading to fame and fortune, as with top athletes and entertainers.
Most people are not born into rich families or have the natural ability to become a star athlete or entertainer. That still leaves open a third way to get rich: own a successful business.
Money isn’t the only reason people become entrepreneurs. Many are motivated even more by the opportunity to be their own boss, along with the challenge of creating something new and running it the way they believe a certain business should be run. In most cases a combination of financial and personal motives drive the entrepreneurial spirit.
It’s not easy to become an entrepreneur, but the skilled trades offer a better opportunity to own a business than most other career paths. I’ve seen estimates that as many as 20% of skilled tradespeople end up owning a business or at least become a partner in one.
A big reason is the incredible demand for trade services. Every home and building in the country require plumbing, electricity, heating, cooling and refrigeration. Even in local markets, no single firm or handful of companies dominates a trade. Do an online search in any community in the country and, depending on its size, you will find dozens, scores or even hundreds of companies competing to provide trade services.
Also, there are few barriers to entry to starting a trade business. Most jurisdictions require a license to be a trade contractor, but the vast majority of trade workers can obtain a license after being trained and working in the field for a few years. The upfront costs aren’t very great compared with most other types of business. Basically, all you need to start are a service vehicle and a few thousand dollars worth of tools and equipment. Many trade businesses operate out of a home or garage before becoming successful enough to move into fancier quarters.
A word of caution, however. The vast majority of trade providers you find in your online search are NOT successful. Many of their owners and employees are barely earning enough to pay their bills – and some fall short of that. Many will be out of business before long.
None of them fail because their people don’t know how to do the work. The problem is that there is a world of difference between being a great mechanic and running a mechanical services business. To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to understand financial management, marketing and other business skills. In fact, it’s not unheard of for people without a trade background but a business background to buy trade companies and hire people with technical expertise.
When you put technical skills and business acumen together, the opportunities are endless with a trade career.