I wrote this post the other day to explain to my regular readers why I had a "real job" again because some of them would be surprised. I also wanted to explain some of the things about entrepreneurship that books don't tell you, not because I am against it, but so that would-be entrepreneurs can take them into consideration.
The post was quite popular, and I ended up with 12,264 unique visitors for the day. My previous high had been just over 7K, during the Amex Open thing. I was shocked. Most of the traffic came from Reddit and the del.icio.us popular page. I find that interesting because previously, bloggers that wanted traffic only needed to write something to catch the eye of a big blogger like Instapundit. But now bloggers can get traffic (and even more than an Instalanche) if they write something with broad appeal.
Anyway, there were tons of comments and emails, and many disagreed (which is always fine here at Businesspundit). But apparently, the post was seen by some as anti-enterpreneurship, which it is not. So let me clarify a few things.
1. When I said don't max out credit cards, it's not because you can't use them to start a business. I said that because you will need some credit in the early days, and credit cards are the easiest way to get that. During the first year of business I put lots of expenses on my personal credit cards to that they would not flow through the company's financials. Think about it. If you barely have money in the bank to cover your expenses, but you need $500 worth of printing, you can put that on your credit card. But if you maxed them out just to get the doors open, you don't have that option. And if you have 100K in credit card debt, it is unlikely any company will issue a new one. I should modify that rule to say use credit cards if you have to, but leave some room on them for business emergencies. If you max them out just to get the doors open, it's going to be tough when you hit a cash flow crunch.
2. I'm not against partnering. It divides up the work and makes things easier. And you have someone to support you when no one else cares. But, your partner (financial, operational, or whatever type) may have different goals than you. If you go it alone you don't have that hassle.
3. I consider my new job entrepreneurial. It is a small company in which I have stock options. I also have side projects, some that are incorporated and making a bit of money.
4. I didn't lose my shirt or anything. My partner bought me out, but I didn't clean up. Overall it was a positive experience, and I didn't have to rush to a new venture.
5. Money. My point with that comment is that I always thought I should spend my free time reading up on business, and someone would pick me up on their startup team because I was a smart business guy. That isn't true. If I had saved 100K to invest in a startup, I would have gotten picked up much easier than if I was a smart guy with no money.
6. Intangibles. This was the big one for me. Before I started a business, I didn't realize that being open 14 hours a day was dumb. My next company will be open from 8-5. That way, when I'm staying until 10pm I'm getting work done without a ton of customer phone calls.
The post is not anti-entrepreneurship. But it is intended to make you think about what comes with the decision to start a business. It's a blast, but it isn't easy. Make sure you do it because you love it, not because you think it's easy money.