Tightrope: What makes a ‘real entrepreneur’?

Tightrope: What makes a ‘real entrepreneur’?

August 28, 2007 

Hello Gladys,


I have had a home-based business for a few years
and I am getting tired of working from home. I don’t feel like a real
entrepreneur. In fact, most of my friends don’t see me as a real
business owner because I work from home.

When I was a kid my grandfather owned a printing
shop. My school bus rode past the shop going to and from school. I
remember the rush that I felt as we passed my grandfather’s shop and
all the kids would clap and yell "that’s Aggie’s grandfather’s store."
I felt so proud.

I would love to get an outside office but my
budget is rather tight these days and I don’t want to make a move that
I will regret later. What guideline should I use to determine the most
appropriate time to move into the real world of entrepreneurship?

Agnes B.

You are already in the real world of
entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are people who take their resources,
whether large or small, and generate a living for themselves and
others. This is being done successfully every day in home-based
businesses as well as in the brick-and-mortar kind.

There are ups and downs either way you go. More
important than when to move your business out of the house is getting
caught up in peer pressure. It seems that you are relating the
excitement of your schoolmates being impressed with your grandfather’s
printing shop to your current adult friends.

It’s funny how children carry experiences into
their adult life. It was a thrill to you for your bus buddies to be
impressed to see your grandfather’s business on their bus ride. It was
so impressionable that you somehow think that your adult friends will
be equally as impressed to see you in a business outside of your home.

My daughter’s school bus used to pass my office
every afternoon. We knew the exact time that the bus would pass and
usually two or three of us would rush outside to wave to her and the
kids as they passed by. My daughter was embarrassed by this and showed
her dissatisfaction by sliding down in her seat so that we could only
see the top of her head as the bus drove by. Now, the other kids on the
bus were waving and shouting out the window and there we were, calling
Sharon’s name while she ignored us.

Today, she runs her own business from her home.
She figured out how to employ a staff of people who work from their
homes, and they all tie into a computer network. She’s not much
different from her school bus days in that she doesn’t care what her
friends and peers think; she is more concerned with what she thinks and
how she feels.

You are in good company having a home-based
business. Many large corporations are saving millions of dollars by
sending their employees home to work.

Setting up a commercial office is a big-budget
item. If you decide to move your business into a commercial space,
start by talking with both your accountant to work out a budget that
fits your situation and a lawyer to assist you in negotiating a
commercial lease.

Whatever you decide to do make certain that it is a decision that works for you, your customers and your business; don’t be influenced by peer pressure.


Gladys Edmunds’ Entrepreneurial Tightrope column appears Wednesdays. Click here
for an index of her columns. As a single, teen-age mom, Gladys made
money doing laundry, cooking dinners for taxi drivers and selling fire
extinguishers and Bibles door-to-door. Today, Edmunds is founder of
Edmunds Travel Consultants in Pittsburgh and author of
There’s No Business Like Your Own Business, a six-step guide to success published by Viking. Her website is www.gladysedmunds.com. You can e-mail her at gladys@gladysedmunds.com.

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