Job Title: Business Owner
Type of Company: Air freight shipping and trucking
Education: BA, Psychology and Business Management, University of Connecticut
Previous Experience: I worked as a personal lines underwriter, a personal lines and commercial insurance agent and a regional sales rep before going into business for myself.
Job Tasks: The air freight and trucking business is a fast-paced and demand-oriented business. Everything is time-sensitive so the job requires the ability to prioritize. To be effective in this stressful environment you have to be self-directed and motivated and do well with very little direction and/or supervision.
Being a business owner is very rewarding but demanding and stressful as well. Regardless if your customers pay you, you must always have the capital to pay your vendors and employees. Owning your own business takes tremendous self-discipline to set aside money for "lean times" and to make very tough decisions that will affect others (including deciding when to cut jobs, fire employees, etc).
Owning a business is not for the unmotivated or "weak." You must learn quickly to be direct and sometimes even "hard-hearted." Perhaps the most difficult part of owning a business is separating emotion from what is right for profits and growth.
Day-to-day operations include accounting, payroll, dispatching, warehouse inventory, mounds of paperwork, security filing, etc.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of owning a business are the flexibility it allows you to choose your co-workers; the unlimited growth potential; the intrinsic satisfaction of having "done it on your own"; meeting like-minded, driven individuals; and the opportunity it affords you for personal growth (including learning the need to be direct, gaining knowledge in the field, bettering -- or worsening -- the lives of those around you, etc.)
The downsides of owning your own business are the MANY sleepless nights that you endure; the burdensome awareness that you have many people depending on you and feeling that failure is not an option; cash-flow problems; being at the mercy of the economy; occasional long hours, but being "on call" 24/7; and being totally responsible for every decision.
Job Tips: If you plan to start your own business, the most important thing is to make sure you have enough start-up capital. The Small Business Association (SBA) has many loan programs and they offer a wealth of important information. If you are short on capital in the very beginning, you will lose momentum and possibly damage your reputation by not being able to meet payroll.
Secondly, know your target market. The world doesn't need too many puppy boutiques and you wouldn't want to open a trendy night club in a Bible-belt retirement village. Ask around and get a good feel for whether there is a need for your kind of business. With a growing elderly population, maybe look into services for older Americans.
Lastly, love what you do. No matter how good an idea or how much you invest in a business, unless you love what you're doing, don't do it. The old adage "Do what you love and the money will follow" holds very true as a business owner.
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