Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Dad

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How many times has every woman entrepreneur heard the statement, “Wow, you’re so lucky to be your own boss!” or “How did you know you wanted to start your own company?”

All kidding aside, every woman business owner – in fact every entrepreneur – knows at least one thing for sure: It’s not as glamorous a job as it seems. And yet you would be hard pressed to find any hardcore entrepreneur who would have it any other way.

Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? In almost every way, absolutely and definitely yes. Prior to launching my own business – truly my own business, without a co-founder to handle the operational realm – I had definite opinions about what I’d do if the choice were ever mine alone to move forward. More respect for clients. More transparency in operations. More family-friendly policies, respect for team members and participants, and more respect for the innovation and the sheer joy of a job well done.

When the necessity – yes, the opportunity but also the necessity – came for me to entirely run my own company I faced the prospect with a combination of excitement and fear. Will I have enough cash flow? Can I balance the best use of my own contributions and time? Anyone who joins with me is casting a vote that affects their own family’s future. Am I really up to that task, or is there too great a risk that I could be letting them down?

Said and done, it’s not an easy job description when ultimately the buck for every decision and outcome stops with you. Taxes are high, and getting higher. Health insurance benefits are a nightmare for everyone. Government legislation, even when well intended, seems to invariably leave small businesses holding the bag.

Yet there are people and programs available to help. Technology makes it easy to re-think everything you needed full time employees to run. Outsourcing is a great model that makes many core services less expensive than ever before. As business owners we have access to mentors and resources and to each other in a way that makes tremendous talent available to all of us. Some of the greatest things I’ll ever know about business comes from our PR agency’s clients who are running fast growing and successful companies, at times (particularly in the current economy) in spite of unimaginable odds. We can learn and I can learn from the wisdom and experience they have.

More than once I’ve noted with a bit of humor that in starting my own business, I made none of the mistakes of my predecessor. Every mistake I’ve made has been entirely my own. It’s getting up, living, learning and progressing that makes much of the process of owning a small business entirely worthwhile.

And yes, the greatest principles of all – integrity, hard work, responsibility, behaving generously and genuinely to others – are still the ones that I learned from watching my greatest mentor of all – the company owner that I continue to know as my dad.