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Yank Elliott, MBA & IAHBE Staff Writer

Self-employment is like a diet.

Every diet will work...It's true, but only if you follow the plan exactly, adhere strictly to the portions, and exercise regularly. In fact, if you simply restrict your portions, eat healthful foods, and exercise, you can lose weight with no diet at all. However, most people will use a diet program to reach a weight goal and then go back to unhealthly eating habits and stop exercising.

Guess what? They're fatter than ever in about a year.

So it is with self-employment. If you find a business you like, find out how to run it, and actually do something, you will eventually succeed. Your first try may fail, but so may the first diet you use. Neither comes automatically or overnight; you have to stick with your plan for success.

Nearly everyone wants to work for themselves in their own business from their home. However, for so many, the ideal business costs little or nothing to start, requires no financial commitment and no work, and is an automatic success bringing in thousands of dollars every month...Oh, and by all means, there is absolutely NO selling involved. These folks are in for sore disappointment when they come to realize that, in spite of all the hype they've heard, there is no such business.

Take this example for instance—it's the exact text from an e-mail I recently received from one of my readers:

I want to ask you about something that I need for myself, which is an AUTOMATIC INTERNET MONEY MACHINE . I don't know how to go about this, so I decided to contact you. Please help me to create it, and show me how to make money through Internet facilities...

This person has a "fantasy" about starting a business and making money with little to no effort on his part. The reality is that every business requires some "seed" money for setup, in addition to at least a little more money on a regular basis for advertising, products, and ongoing business expenses. At least some effort is required to decide what business you want, what products to sell, and how to get customers. Some of these duties may be outsourced to others, but you—the entrepreneur—will have to arrange and pay for this.

This means that YOU have to take charge of your business and take action to progress toward success.

I told my reader in the above example these facts, and that was the end of that. My offer to help was declined because of his totally unrealistic expectations. In cases like these, there are usually several predictable "buts" that they come up with:

  • I don't think I can succeed.
  • I'm not disciplined enough.
  • I don't want all that responsibility.
  • It's not a real job, and I need a real job to fulfill my needs
  • I don't know how or what to do to run a business of my own.
  • I don't have enough money.
  • It takes too much time.
  • I don't like to sell.
  • I don't like face-to-face meetings.
  • I won't like the isolation of working alone.

Most of these inhibiting ideas have been instilled in North American culture from birth. Our parents, our schools, our churches, and our acquaintances all tell us we must be loyal, hard-working employees for someone else so we can eventually retire to the "good life." This perception can even be traced all the way back to ancient Greece, where the Sophists, a group of itinerant teachers, promised to give students the necessary knowledge and skills to gain positions with the city-state...In other words, students would be trained to work for someone else and this was a wonderful thing.

Further evidence of this mindset can be found in an article, "The Meaning of Education," posted at Teacher's Mind Resources (https://www.teachersmind.com/education.htm), where the author states:

It is clear in listening to the language of education that its primary focus is on knowledge and teaching rather than on the learner. Students are expected to conform to schools rather than schools serving the needs of students.

A look at the mission statements of two high schools on opposite U.S. coasts only confirms this attitude. One states its mission is the acquisition of knowledge and the development of personal, cultural, and democratic values essential for future success. The other says the mission is to prepare students to become productive, thinking members of society. What the educators are really saying is that they are training everyone to make money for someone else. Rarely do schools show students how to make money for themselves.

The good news is that any individual who wants their own business bad enough can overcome all of these objections.

Let's examine the "buts" we mentioned above one at a time.

  • I don't think I can succeed.

Did you think you could ride a bicycle or drive a car? Probably not at first. But you got someone to show you how, and now you do these things without thinking. It's second nature. A good way to find how to succeed is to see what successful people have done and copy their actions. There's no need to re-invent the wheel. Your IAHBE membership gives you access to tons of interviews with successful people every month. Study and learn from them how to succeed.

  • I'm not disciplined enough.

Well, think about this. You have enough discipline to go to school every day, go to work somewhere, and take care of all the daily tasks required to operate your own life. You are certainly able to run your own business. If this doesn't convince you, do a search on Amazon.com (see details of Amazon search under Resources at the bottom of this article) and read excerpts from several of the books and/or buy them for further reading. You could also stop by your local library to find what you need.

  • I don't want all that responsibility.

You are responsible for operating your household on a daily basis. You assume many responsibilities for your employer. Why make all the money for someone else? Just take on the same kinds of responsibilities for your own business and make money for yourself.

  • It's not a real job, and I need a real job to fulfill my needs.

True, when you first begin to work for yourself, you may still need some kind of steady employment to pay the bills. Never forget, though, there is little employer loyalty to employees nowadays—jobs are being outsourced overseas at a rapid rate, and manufacturing jobs have nearly disappeared. You basically don't have a real job now; you just don't know it yet. This is why you should begin to work for yourself on the side even when you are in high school. When you learn how to be a successful entrepreneur on your own, you can work for yourself full time if you wish.

  • I don't know how or what to do to run a business of my own.

There are thousands of books and Internet sites telling you how to successfully operate a business. A good place to start would be the U.S. Small Business Administration ( https://www.sba.gov/) or the SCORE Website (https://www.score.org/).

  • I don't have enough money.

Clean out your attic and garage; have a yard sale or sell the stuff on eBay (https://www.ebay.com). If you want your business enough you'll find the money. Perhaps it can come from family or friends, your savings, credit cards, your bank, or the SBA (https://www.sba.gov/). If you want it bad enough you will figure how to do it. Just don't panic, and never, ever give up.

  • It takes too much time.

What are you doing that's more important than building a sound financial future for you and your family? It's just another case of "if you want it enough, you'll find time to do it."

  • I don't like to sell.

Most of us say we don't like to sell, but consider this: How did you get your spouse, partner, or friend? You sold them on you. How did you achieve your spot on the athletic team? You sold the coach on your abilities. It's the same with your job or any of the other things you do. Life is a constant selling operation to get the things we want.

  • I don't like face-to-face meetings.

Modern communications do away with most of these. E-mail, chat rooms, conference calls, and cell phones make meetings a waste of time. If you have to talk with several people at once, just arrange a convenient time and get everyone together on a conference call, many of which are extremely affordable and easy to set up. These can even be done with live pictures using the right equipment.

  • I won't like the isolation of working alone.

You don't have to be alone. You work for yourself, you're the boss, and you can do what you want when you want. You must get the job done, but you can work hard for a while and take a break at the local coffee shop. What's isolated about that?

The point is that there really are no valid excuses for not having your own business...if you really want it.



Discussion of current educational thinking in the U.S.

How to perform a search on Amazon:
1. Click https://www.amazon.com.
2. In the top left sidebar where it says "all products," pull down the list and click "books."
3. In the next window (which is blank) enter the subject you wish to search, for example "self discipline." (My search turned up over 72,000 titles! The most relevant titles will be at the top.)
4. Pick the most interesting title and click the book title.
5a. To view specific phrases click "Search inside this book." You'll be asked to register if you have never done this. (Don't worry, you won't be charged for anything unless you go on and make a purchase.)
5b. Click "more product details"; here, you will find reviews and the book's sales rank with Amazon.com. Any rank below 10,000 probably indicates relative popularity. But get what you want; number 200,000 may be closer to your requirements.

US Small Business Administration



© Yank Elliott. All rights reserved worldwide.

Yank Elliott is a home-based entrepreneur and freelance business writer in Hurricane Alley, North Carolina, USA.His Website is www.furriwhalesworld.com .He is currently a staff writer for IAHBE. Contact Yank at

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