Owning my own business was something I always wanted to do. Of course when I was in my pre teen years I had those responses of “I want to be a pro soccer player” when asked what I want to be when I grow up. But once I hit junior high and high school it became my goal to be a business owner (note: I did actually realize my dream of becoming a pro soccer player but quickly learned that I was not going to be able to survive long being paid $200 a game).
When I was a kid I can still recall memories of me drawing “business plans” in pads (my mom probably still has some of them at her house). One specific example was when I used to work at a nursery on weekends that a family friend owned. One of the locations was nothing more than a roadside stand that sold plants and flats of flowers. Some weekends the owner, Joe, used to leave me there to “run” it while he drove off to place his horse racing bets for the day. As I sat there I would think to myself, if I ran this place I would fix it up, I’d knock down that wall, I’d put some more signs up in the road to market it better. I would then go home and write all this down in my pad. Working at this small business showed me what it took to run a business (it also showed me how to understand the racing forms!) Now that I think back on it, it was a little weird but nevertheless this was something I feel I was meant to do for a long time now. When I was recruited for college, soccer coaches would ask me what I was looking for in a school and my response was always “I want to play soccer and learn how to start a business”.
I feel that it takes a special breed of person to start and run their own business. An entrepreneurs mind works differently than a regular persons. Just like a developers mind works differently than a managers mind, a doctors mind works differently than someone not cut out to be a doctor etc. When someone describes a situation that they are dealing with in their life or job many people react by thinking how to get around it, or deal with it etc. My mind immediately thinks, I wonder if there is a business opportunity in this. Is this a sickness? Probably…but it’s how my mind works.
I was once asked by a client that I had worked for to come back and run a program for her. This was it, in my mind this was my chance to start my own company. I asked her if I could come back and work for her as my own company as opposed to the company I currently worked for. She told me she could care less who I worked for, she wanted ME not the company I worked for. At the time I was fortunate that Katie had a great job and we had the flexibility that if my venture failed we would not starve or be unable to pay our bills. Others are not so lucky. These are the people I admire most in business. The people that are so passionate about their ideas that they are willing to risk it all to see their idea come to fruition. Are some of them crazy? Absolutely. But many people thought Steve Jobs was crazy, and Bill Gates was crazy..and the list goes on and on.
I always dreamed that I would think of some awesome product and then sell it to the world. Well, as I got older I figured out that you don’t necessarily HAVE to think of a product that will change the world in order to own a successful business. All you need is an idea and the drive to make it happen. Ask people for advice that you trust. At the time I didn’t know anyone that owned their own business so my first few years were spent flying by the seat of my pants and learning on the job. It definitely added to the rush but it’s also probably what started my high blood pressure issues!
Is owning a business for everyone? Of course not. But if you think it is for you and it’s something you always wanted to do my advice to you is…Go for it! The other advice I can offer is that if you aren’t sure it is for you and you aren’t really positive that you want to do it, then DON’T. Without the passion for running a company there is just no way it will succeed because you won’t put the necessary time in to make it succeed. If you like the idea of running a small business but don’t think you have the flexibility or the knowledge to start one, then go work for one and see first hand what it takes to run one. You can often get involved with that small company and learn on the job how it runs.
So there you have it. A little insight into the warped mind that is Geoff Keller and how integrateIT came to be.