Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Different Strokes for Different Folks – “The approach to different people should be individualized. The proverb also means that different people have different tastes. Nobody knows exactly where the saying comes from. Wolfgang Mieder thinks it originated in the United States and traces ‘different strokes’ to Southern blacks in the 1950s…” From “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings” (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

In the last post, I described that a part of the process of starting your own business is to learn a little more about yourself, and the things that you like and dislike. Hiring yourself as an employer can be a real mistake if you don't know too much about your own skills and aptitudes. There are a number of ways to learn more about what you might be good at, and what you might enjoy doing for a living.

One that I took a couple of years ago was a test called the Keirsey Temperment Sorter. While I thought the results were interesting, I really didn't give them much thought. I've taken it a couple of times since then, and I keep on getting the same result. As with any test of its type, the results are limited. I overlooked the real value of the sorter by focusing upon my results.

If you look at this page about the sorter, you'll see towards the bottom a list of 16 temperments. What I had failed to do was to go through the different descriptions for the other 15 temperments and figure out how they might fit people I know. It's an interesting diversion.

What are the temperments of the people you know? As with any test of its type, the results might not be dead-on correct. But, give it a try. One of the big mistakes that you can engage in is to expect everyone to react to something the way that you would. This tool can help you think about how other people might behave in certain situations.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Children crawl before they walk, walk before they run—each generally a precondition for the other. And with each step they take toward more independence, more mastery of the environment, their mothers take a step away—each a small separation, a small distancing.

-- Lillian Breslow Rubin, Women of a Certain Age, ch. 2 (1979).

When do you know that you're ready to work for yourself? At what moment do you reach an epiphany that you have the skills, the knowledge, and the motivation to succeed without having to rely upon a paycheck from an employer? When are you ready?

Some of the things that help:

  • Enough money to allow you to put bread on the table, buy inventory and supplies, and pay utilities and other bills until the business is able to cover those costs.

  • Education, skills, and experience that will enable you take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to you.

  • The identification of goods or a service or both that might be needed within the market that you're aiming to make your customers.

  • The desire to take some risks; hopefully educated ones.
Even more important than any of those is finding something that you like to do. Self knowledge is an necessary aspect of finding a business you like and having success in that business. I came across Jorn Barger's essay An Internet Way of Self-Knowledge yesterday, and it confirmed my decision to start this blog focusing on starting and running a business.

If blogging is a way of "reading in public" and possibly even "learning in public," then keeping notes and considering lessons learned on a blog may be a good approach to this Nasty Bit of Business.

Give me a couple of months, and I'll let you know. During that time, we'll focus on some of the topics I've listed above, and look for ways to stop crawling and learn to walk.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

-- Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

And with that quote, thus begins the pages of A Nasty Bit of Business. My intention here is to gather together resources and tools for my own use, and for the use of others interested in pursuing their own business. This shall be a loosely held joint venture; one in which I invite others to take part.

While the focus of these pages will be upon business, I must hasten to add that success isn't measured by the thickness of one's wallet, or the count of currency one has locked away in a bank vault.

Personal achievement, success, and growth are all relative terms. There will likely always be ones richer than you. Many will possess more power and hold more sway in the community. Happiness comes from doing the best that you can, and from being able to provide for, and hold close those whose friendship and love you value.