Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Follow Your Passion!

In my days as a Personal and Administrative Assistant, I helped set up two businesses and worked for a third during its first year. 

I learned a lot during those years about what it truly takes to run a successful business because, unfortunately, none of them thrived.

They didn't thrive because the owners were not committed.

Lesson I

I was a Personal Assistant in the late 90s.  While organizing my client's home office and clothing I also learned how easy it is to figure out a person's true nature just by looking at what surrounds him or her and the choices they make.

I took the job to help him get organized and to turn all my clerical and customer service experience into a higher paying career.

He had just come into a lot of money with his stocks and chose to invest some of it in starting up two businesses.  One was an Internet start up, the other was investing in properties meant to be a stepping stone for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.

It was 1999 and the Internet start up fell flat on its face when the market crashed.  But before it did, I really learned to trust my intuition when I realized two weeks in, that this business was going nowhere and that all I would get out of it was an increase in employable skills.

Boy, did the people in that start up get easier and easier to read as we got deeper and deeper into the trenches.  The biggest message?  There was no agreement in place and they were not following the rules of business.  I don't think there was even a business plan, everyone had lots of money in stocks, and they threw the basics out the window.  They just wanted to get in on the "sell your Internet company for 8 million dollars" game. 

And what of the well meaning-ed property investments?  Well, as you may know, people in recovery relapse. Sometimes quite often, especially when they go through court-ordered treatment. My client had partnered with a friend. The partner's original property turned into a crack house because he didn't live there anymore, due to focusing on renovating a second property. And the tenants in the second property, would, on average, make it two months before they stopped paying rent.

But, more importantly, my boss wasn't completely engaged in this business.  He just threw money at it and wasn't as involved as he should have been due to being even more focused on the Internet start-up.

So, after these two businesses failed,  I had upgraded my Clerical status to Administrative and Executive Assistant.

Lesson II

I was able to parlay this experience into a job as an Office Manager for a man who bought a business franchise and had only been conducting business for nine months. (Incidentally, two weeks after these businesses failed, I was the only one involved who was working.  He felt sorry for me when I told him I'd worked for a failed start up.)

He inherited quite a bit of money, left a 20 year profession, bought the franchise, moved to town and set up shop. 

The problem?  Again, not following the foundational rules set up by the franchise; trying to do it his own way.

One day while doing some filing, I noticed he hadn't even removed any of the files from his previous business.  There was no room in the filing cabinets for his current business files.

He was not committed to the business.

And it was reflected in the amount of money he brought in the year and a half I worked there ~ none!

It was also reflected in my job performance.  He didn't care, so I didn't care.

So, what is the point of all this?

Well besides the obvious "keep your ego in check" lessons, I want you to look at your life.

In both of these situations the business owners were not truly following their passions.

Where in your life, are you simply playing along and not committed?

If you are not thriving, what are you settling for?

Think about it...

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