“You think it’s hard in a job not having the flexibility of schedule or not being able to do some things, but it’s WAY harder when you don’t have a schedule. ” – Mark Sieverkropp
QUESTION 1: What do you really want out of starting a business?
Do you know what is most important to you about starting a business? If you can’t answer that question, here’s what you can do right now, before anything else.
Write this list down digitally or in a notebook, but keep this list close. Continue to add to it from things you hear, or read, or experience. For example, when you’re at work and you realize what the tasks are that you really don’t want to do, or the things that you wish you were able to do at your job.
PRIORITIZE Your List
You can make this part of the process less overwhelming for yourself by using the “Optical approach.” The one-two comparison you run into when purchasing a new set of eyeglasses.
In the sea of choices that you have for a new set of eyeglass frames, choosing one has been a little less overwhelming as the process is broken down for you by simply comparing one set of glasses to another. Take that same approach and apply it to your list of why owning your own business is important.
Just compare one reason to another, one or two, and put the most important things at the top of the list.
If it’s things like flexibility or freedom to decide how the work gets done, or if you want to be able to use more of your creativity at your job, you may not actually need a business to do that.
You probably just haven’t experienced a job that allows that to happen. Check out our episode on how to do your career differently as we talk about another list of things you need to have in your career to be happy.
You don’t need to own your own business to find that happiness. Listen to our episode with Dustin Hartzler as he created his own hybrid situation at work to fit his change of lifestyle.
QUESTION 2: Are you more interested in actually starting a business or simply running or operating a business?
Let’s distinguish what is required from you to start your own business or operate a business.
When you start your own business, it can definitely be fun…if you’re up for the constant challenge of dealing with change. You must be able to rapidly adapt to the changes you encounter when starting your own business, because it will happen.
You’ll learn early on that as a new business owner, you can’t keep doing something that doesn’t work or help you get your business off the ground or improve its growth.
Another type of mindset you need to have is being able to understand and embrace failure. If you are able to accept failure as a process of learning, owning your own business could be a path you should follow.
On the other hand, if you have a hard time with failure or adapting to change, another avenue to look into is franchising or buying a business that already has their own business processes.
If that sounds like something that is more your style, listen to HTYC 166 Building on Business with Ace Chapman. Ace has all the tips you need on how to build your business by buying a business.
QUESTION 3: Do you have anything right now that is actually stopping you from starting a business?
A LOT goes into starting your own business.
From the financial aspect to time and energy, and to everything that is tied into your life.
Do you have an incredibly demanding job? Will you be able to rearrange your situation to allow you to make the time to put the effort into building your business?
What about your family life?
Do you need to have a conversation with anyone that this decision will affect? A spouse, significant other, business partner, or anyone that has a vested interest in this decision?
If that is the case, find out what their deal breakers are or their aversion to risk because starting your own business comes with risks, that’s for sure.
Make it a point to identify and address these issues upfront because you won’t have the time or the energy to deal with that stuff when the ball gets rolling.
QUESTION 4: Are you willing to go the long haul? Are you willing to commit to this for the long run?
The start-up process isn’t easy.
In time, it will look different. It will evolve.
Can you adjust? Will you be able to pivot with the constant change?
If now, know now that once you get a taste of starting your own business, it will be hard to go back to a job and work for someone else.
You might even be twice as miserable if you have to go back to a job. So, you want to make sure this is what you want to do.
Realize that it is a long-term decision that you’re making.
Takes A LOT of investment and effort…time, energy, and money.
Are you willing to work at this new business on the fun days and more importantly on the days that aren’t as fun?
If not, you might just want to find a better job.
In the end, if you’re thinking of starting your own business, make some time in your day to sit down and answer these questions.
When you get to the root of the reasons of why you want to venture down this path and you’re clear on some of the real issues and roadblocks that you may have to face, you’ll be ready to embrace the journey into entrepreneurship and pivot when things need to change to grow your new business.
Transcript from Episode
Scott Barlow: Welcome back to Happen to Your Career. I have with me a very special guest. So special in fact that we absolutely had to record this early in the morning. Mostly because our schedules don’t align except early, and it’s because it’s what we used to do.
Welcome back Mark Sieverkropp reappearing on Happen to Your Career. It has been awhile since we’ve done this.
Mark Sieverkropp: You just can’t get rid of me. We should have done it while we were having lunch today that would have been fun.
Scott Barlow: It probably would have been better. Why didn’t we do that?
Mark Sieverkropp: I don’t know it would have been fun. Everyone would have looked at us funny which would have been enjoyable. You would have heard us smacking our lips while eating.
Scott Barlow: That would have been awkward. Now I know why we didn’t do that.
If you haven’t, go back and check out the first 40-60 episodes where Mark makes many appearances as he helped get this show up and running and turned it into what it is today.
You are back. Let’s catch people up because a lot has happened. You are going to help me dissect the question of whether people should start a business, how to go through that decision process, and whether it should be a thing. Before that, what has happened in your world?
Mark Sieverkropp: What has happened in my world? I’m trying to remember the last time I was on. I have been doing affiliate management and running launches, which has been fun. I was telling a friend I feel like I could create and launch a product in my sleep now. I met with a mutual friend the other day on the phone and laid out an entire plan for him to promote a product as I was walking; which was kind of cool because I realized I know how to do this. I’ve done a lot of that. Also, germane to this conversation, (look at the use of that word). I’ve been starting a business of my own. I’m an independent contractor with the affiliate stuff but I’ve started backyardsoccercoach.com, which is a passion of mine. I love to play soccer and legitimately say I’m working when I’m out kicking around a soccer ball. Those are the two things I’m doing among other things: church, family and community responsibilities, which keep me busy.
Scott Barlow: That is quite a bit. Knowing you I know you’ve had a ton of fun in the affiliate space. For people that don’t understand that how do you describe that? I know you’ve attempted to answer it before. What are you actually doing?
Mark Sieverkropp: We should have my wife answer that. She loves when people ask what I do because should has no idea. He does something on the computer, there is money that comes in so that’s good. Affiliate marketing is simply the online version of coupons in a way. Essentially we manage the relationship between the product creator and people who want to promote their product. When they promote it as an affiliate they earn a commission for each sale. It’s like advertising but you can determine what you are spending money on and you only spend money if you earn. We manage that relationship. We help affiliates promote products. I’ve helped Scott. We have people in the career space that are interested in Scott’s products and we give them the emails to send, graphics, and answer questions on when and how to send. We manage that all and payments and make sure they get paid for what they did. I tell people it is online marketing.
Scott Barlow: It is. I was trying to look up the last episode where you and I sat down when you were transitioning. Quick story, Mark helped me get the podcast and company up and running and then left.
Mark Sieverkropp: So Scott could make money.
Scott Barlow: Our profit went up drastically and Mark thinks it’s because of him. And then he came back to support us in the affiliate role which he has a ton of expertise in. Now he is focusing on the other two pieces even more. Which is cool. We get you at all the career transition points, appropriate for this show.
Mark Sieverkropp: Right. So you bring me back up. Mark is changing what he is doing, let’s talk to him.
Scott Barlow: Let’s dive into this question. We have so many people that listen to the show that have it on their wish list or bucket list, must-have-list, or some list. HTYCers make a lot of lists. They want to start a business and think it’s the thing to do. There are a whole bunch of reasons for it. So many people have a dream or a fantasy in their mind and they fantasize about what it would be like and how they can be in control of their lives or not have a boss telling them what to do – flexibility, own schedule own income, in control of their destiny. All of that sounds great but then it comes down the question whether this is right for you and something that would be good for you or is it just a dream and not good for your situation? We hope to answer that today.
Mark Sieverkropp: We were talking about this earlier. As I thought about it, starting a business has been romanticized in our culture. It is the cool thing to do. It’s not that someone shouldn’t start a business but there is a lot to it. As we go through this episode we aren’t trying to discourage you but want you to have an accurate picture. When I started my business as an independent contractor there was a lot to it. There is stuff I couldn’t believe I had to worry about and do. It wasn’t bad and it was the best for me but there is a lot to it. There are a lot of things not shown in the article “7 Reasons to Start Your Business Now” that you need to recognize. I tell some people what I do and things I deal with and they say no thanks I’ll go work my 8-5 job and be happy. That’s fine, we need those people too. Having a business has been romanticized.
Scott Barlow: I totally agree, a lot of it has. There are a ridiculous amount of articles. I have a bias and a little bit of an influence lens looking at it because we help people start businesses. The reason we wanted to do this episode is because we get this question on a consistent basis and get questions about businesses that people are starting, not for the wrong reasons but because they don’t have the total picture. We put together a set of questions that you can ask yourself to guide you to that answer of whether it’s something you should do and then you can start instead of just thinking. If it’s not something you should do disband the idea and move on and then you aren’t forever wondering if you should be acting upon it. So it’s not a regret.
Mark Sieverkropp: I was talking to my friend Matt McWilliams that I work with and he said you are a better writer if you put the bottom line upfront, bluff. The bottom line is, should I start a business? Maybe. You are welcome now you don’t have to listen to the rest of the episode.
Scott Barlow: If we can take you from a maybe to a yes or no through some of the questions, then that is the goal.
Mark Sieverkropp: Now that you mention it that is what we tell our clients in affiliate management. People hate to get nos. But when we ask people to promote our product we would rather have a no than a maybe. That’s what we hope to do with this episode – to give you a better sense of yes that is for me and I’ll take the trade-offs or no I don’t want to do that. It’s not a good idea. And be happy, and that’s fine. That is what we will do with these four questions.
Scott Barlow: Question one: What do you really want out of starting a business?
This is probably the most important. It can be hard to route through and really try to determine this. The easiest way is to sit down and write down anything that pops into your mind – write it down on pad and paper, on an iPad pro, whatever it is, google doc. Record the stuff and really try and determine what is most important in starting a business. Brain dump and make a list of everything you think you will get when you start a business.
Anything to add?
Mark Sieverkropp: Brain dump at the beginning, but also keep the paper near you as you go along. As you hear someone talk about something or you read an article you will think of things and you want to write those down. You may want to be careful if you are at work doing it. Don’t post it on your cubicle wall.
Scott Barlow: Yeah blow it up on your wall. (laughing)
Mark Sieverkropp: I think we can agree when we were working at a job there were certain things we didn’t want to deal with or thought we would do other things instead. You want to recognize those and write them down. You have to be clear why you are starting it instead of what you are trying to run from. You talk a lot about this in the career space. You don’t want to start a business just because you hate your boss. It might be a good reason to start the conversation but not a good reason to start the business. You may realize you are a way worse boss.
Scott Barlow: I’m a harder boss than any other boss that I’ve worked for.
Mark Sieverkropp: Yeah you go to work way earlier than they ever made you.
Scott Barlow: I’m going to go ask myself this question. I just thought of that. I think that as you get this list down the next piece is prioritizing it by importance so you can take all the stuff you have down and you can then do a one-two comparison to prioritize if you have a massive list it can be overwhelming. Think of the one-two comparison like glasses. If you have glasses you will understand or if you have met someone with glasses. Mark doesn’t have prescription glasses but has blue light glasses. Think about it this way when you walk in to buy a set of glasses you have someone who is experienced on the other end. Instead of letting you pull out four hundred sets of glasses and decide what you like, they will compare one set of glasses to another and break it down to small chunks and prioritize to decide which is more important. You get a gut feeling and then you take the more important one and compare it to the next one.
You can use the optical approach and prioritize yourself until you have the most important stuff near the top. You can break it down and make it less overwhelming. You need to prioritize because if you have the more important things to you at the top, like flexibility, creativity, and deciding how things get done, you might realize you don’t need a business to do that.
Mark Sieverkropp: I realize that as we were going through this that the approach you use with people for careers is important for a business as well. There are so many things you feel like you can’t have in a job because you’ve never had it before. That’s not necessarily true. Other people have it but you never have. Business owners don’t have a corner market on flexibility, creativity, and using their strengths. We just feel that because it’s how it is portrayed in that article “7 Reasons You Should Start a Business.” Certainly there are those things in a business but you can get to a point where you are completely beholden to that business and can lose all of that. It goes both ways. You have to identify what is important but then decide if the business you are thinking about is the best way based on what you like to do, your strengths and weaknesses, family situation, etc.
Scott Barlow: We know some of the things important to people to allow happiness through a ton of different research. The information is out there but most of us don’t realize it or ignore it. If you want more information go back to episode 170 where we talk about the things you must have in your career to be happy and it will help you understand. One thing is freedom to decide how the work gets done. If you don’t have that then most people aren’t happy. You get into micro-management. Go back and listen to that episode. In this case if you have those things it doesn’t necessarily need to happen in your own business. Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. There are Flexjobs and remote.com and places like that that allow you to really only go after jobs and roles that do have more flexibility or do have more decision making power or more of that type of freedom.
Mark Sieverkropp: There are different ways to go about it. You can start a business or be an independent contractor, which is what I do. It’s like having your own business but kind of having a boss. There is freelancing. There a lot of different ways. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Whether it’s a different job or career position. Different business models can be better or worse for you.
As you line up what is most important you get a lens to start saying and looking at different models and seeing what is a good fit. You used the glasses comparison and I was thinking about when you go to the mall with your wife and she asks is this one good or this one holding up two things. You are immediately supposed to understand what it would look like if they were wearing it. Here’s a set of pros and cons to try to slowly narrow it down.
This isn’t something you jump into tomorrow. We hear stories about people just walking out of their jobs and hanging up their shingle the next day and starting their business. That isn’t a good idea for most of us. I spent several months talking to the guy I work with and trying it part-time. I think that’s an important thing to remember. Do not just jump into it. You don’t make a decision over the weekend and just do it, unless you want a ton of stress and have your spouse annoyed at you. There is a lot to it you don’t realize.
Scott Barlow: Speaking to that, it leads right into the next question.
Question Two: Are you more interested in actually starting the business or simply running or operating a business? There are two big distinctions there because starting a business and getting it up going from zero to one is a much different animal than going from one to one hundred, or pick an analogy there. Maintaining, running, operating, and growing is completely different than getting something off the ground the first time around.
Mark Sieverkropp: it definitely is. It goes back to what are your priorities? What do you really want out of it? You may need to do some networking. Maybe you need to be in your bosses position and it has nothing to do with running a business but you want to be directing what happens and have more input in how things are done. You need to ask yourself that. Scott can tell you, when you were starting Happen to Your Career it was a lot of three or four am mornings. You still work Saturdays. I was at your house the other day and you were working all Saturday. There is a lot to starting a business and building it up. I’m going back to that article of “7 Reasons You Should Start a Business Today.”
Scott Barlow: Again, some people are not ever going to want to work Saturdays. I love it. I never know what day it is. Weeks or weekends don’t necessarily matter to me. The last two days Wednesday and Thursday, we are recording on a Friday, we pulled my kids out of school and took them up to a place to go rock wall climbing and play laser tag during the middle of the week and we have that freedom and flexibility. But I will intentionally work on Saturday to make sure everything we need to do gets done. There are both sides to it.
Mark Sieverkropp: That is hard for people. That is a difficult transition. When I started, we owned our own business and worked from home which is another challenge. It’s a challenge for your family. It’s a big adjustment. I’ve been doing it for nearly two years and it’s still difficult and an adjustment. Working from home and setting my own hours. Everyone thinks that setting your own hours is great; you sit in your pjs all day and don’t work until 9 AM and you are done at 2 PM with a two hour lunch. Sure some days I do that because of circumstances. The other day I had some appointments and I was done at 1 PM. I got home that night though and worked from 9 PM – 11 PM. Some Saturdays I have to do three or four hours of work and some days I’m up early. You have to take that into account. It may not work for you and your family. Your spouse may say it’s a deal breaker because they like the 8 AM – 5 PM schedule and knowing that is what happens. You have to think about that or it causes a ton of stress.
Scott Barlow: Those are several things you want to consider in question four as well. We will re-bring that it up again in a minute. Distinguishing between starting the business and running and operating it. Think about it in terms of when you start a business there is a ton of failure. The amount of failure you go through is very significant. Depending on where you are in your journey, it’s a spectrum. You have different levels of comfort. Failure for me, I don’t know, is like a badge of honor. I don’t look at it as failure. Alyssa and I teach our kids this. It’s not bad. You are that much closer to being able to do whatever you are trying to do. It didn’t work out there was a mistake but it isn’t failure it’s a process of learning.
But depending on where you are you have to understand that going into it. Starting a business can be fun because you are rapidly exposed to new things and continually changing how you are approaching it for what is working and isn’t. When you start a business you cannot have a tolerance for doing anything for long that isn’t working or you won’t get it off the ground. The opposite side is that if you are on your failure journey trying to get used to the idea that failure is learning it may not be the right time for you. Instead you should expose yourself to other types of mistakes and failures to ease into it. How do you think about that? I’m super curious.
Mark Sieverkropp: I think I’m glad that you finished the sentence that started with exposing yourself. Left turn, but yes I agree. There are very different opportunities for failure. Certainly there are ways to fail in a job and we’ve gotten used to those. I’ve had that conversation with my wife several times. Any of us who have gone through public school system have been trained for the failures and risks of being in a job but not as business owners. Like it or not. I’m on the school board in my town and I’m all for public education for the most part – though our kids may not be in the system next year. There isn’t anything wrong with that but you have to understand we’ve been trained to not only be okay with the risk of a job but trained to shy away from the risk of starting a business.
Putting yourself out there and accepting risk every day and knowing that you may fail today but you still get up and do it again tomorrow. It depends on where you are with that and whether you are okay with failing and stressing about how you will pay the bills sometimes. When we talk about figuring out what you are interested in it goes back to that list. Not just what is important but how important it is. Is it as important as the security of what you are doing now or the security in a job, even though that is a humorous phrase, that there is a level of security? There are certain things you trade off being an employee that you don’t have to worry about like whether the doors are open tomorrow, though you do in a sense, but it’s not your main concern.
I think you are right it’s understanding the types of risks and challenges you will face and realizing unless you have been raised in a certain way or developed it you will face different challenges. If it is something you embrace and like and enjoy then maybe starting a business is for you, but it’s different jumping in to a role where you are running a business rather than starting it.
Scott Barlow: There are two ways to think about that piece. If you are at the point where you are willing to grow through that rapid failure cycle and you are expecting that, you may not be comfortable with it but know it happens and it’s the right decision for you, that’s awesome. It’s another red flag, or good flag, opposite of red flag that you should look for. It’s an indicator you should go for it and start a business.
On the flip side if you are not then you can go down the track of doing something to expand where you are on the failure spectrum and your personal growth. I’m thinking episode 22, where you talked about project success and exposing yourself to things like this through projects. That’s an option or an alternative if you are interested in other things with owning a business. You could look at the options that allow you to operate a business, or own and manage a business, or run the business versus the startup process; like franchises or buying an already existing business with great systems. I’ve owned a franchise in the past, it is very good because depending on the franchise they all offer different levels of support. There are a few great opportunities that will help you understand and train you on how to operate the business most effectively so you aren’t completely alone. It’s different than the startup process and creating something from nothing. We have a great episode, not long ago, 166 with Ace Chapman where he helps lay out the things to consider when buying a business. Go back and listen to that and it can help you determine whether running or operating a business or starting a business is good for you.
Mark Sieverkropp: If you have a name like Ace you have to listen to what he says. You hear the name Ace Chapman and you think he’s good at what he does, and I don’t even know what that is. I’m obligated to listen at that point. You are right, there are those options and they are good for a lot of people. I’ve never done it but I’ve heard you talk about it and we see franchises everywhere. A lot of business are franchises. There is a lot to creating processes when starting a business. Ever thing from managing books and accounting to the process of offering a service and product. If those aren’t what you want to do then a franchise might be it. They’ll say here’s your process go do it. It takes away a lot. That is a good option to look at.
Scott Barlow: We are spending probably ten plus percent of our time creating processes which may or not sound sizeable but it is a sizeable chunk. Even the conversation you and I are going to have later today is deciding what the processes are. What processes are in existence for your role and what will transition to the next person. Having that handed to you also has a failure cycle that goes with it. Check out the Ace Chapman episode 166. It can help you understand more of those questions.
Here’s another question. This is a simple question but helps you diagnose what might be stopping you and helps you get ready to answer the question of whether you should or shouldn’t do this. To decide whether you can stop worrying about it or whether you should get immediately going.
Question Three: Do you have anything right now that is actually stopping you from starting a business?
This is another thing that you can but down on the list and decide if there are actually things stopping you or if they are just perceived things. Not just for the business idea, put that aside for the minute. Many people get stuck saying I’d start a business but I don’t have the right idea. It’s not ideas that start businesses, that’s a mask for a different problem. We’ll tackle that in a future episode and help you go through and get the right business idea for you. Let’s push that aside for now and ask if there is something else actually stopping you such as a demanding job or huge chunks of your time being taken up by other things that will get interfered with. It goes back to what do you really want out of it and what is more important; that prioritization piece. Maybe you have something going on with church that is incredibly important that you aren’t going to give up. Are there other places in your life to make time so you can get going?
Mark Sieverkropp: I think with all the questions, but with this one specifically, if you are married or have a significant other you need to have this conversation with them. When you are in this type of relationship the concerns they have are just as valid as your concerns. You have to have the conversation. When I transitioned to owning my own business and being an independent contractor my wife and I had a lot of conversations. I was going to be working with a guy named Matt and we had a lot of conversations and with his wife as well. We really went over the requirements, what would happen, and what it would look like. It was hard. It was difficult for my wife because she is risk adverse. It took a lot of discussion on what it would look like and whether it was something stopping us or if we could address it and move forward. I would recommend that anyone playing a significant role in your life should be part of the conversation. There may be things that are deal breakers for them. It may stop you because of their feelings or needs or aversion to risk. Those are legitimate things that could stop you from starting a business right now. You need to identify those up front because you don’t want to deal with that on top of the stress from starting the business.
Scott Barlow: Otherwise you start feeling “they are killing of my dream” and stuff like that which doesn’t need to happen if you are considering this upfront. Do you have anything right now that is actually stopping you from starting a business? Get it down on paper and have the conversation with your significant other or anyone with a vested interest.
This last question, question four, goes back to what you were talking about earlier Mark, that this isn’t easy. The startup process isn’t easy.
Question Four: Are you willing to go for the long haul? Are you willing to commit to this?
It may look differently than when you start, in fact I promise it will, you will start with one business idea and plan and when you get beyond 90 days it will evolve and change. If it doesn’t it will never start. You will learn things and have different information. There are a lot of different things that will happen. You have to adjust and pivot. I promise you it will look differently.
But are you willing to commit to this for the long haul for the reasons you’ve identified in step one?
Mark Sieverkropp: I think if you take the leap and jump into it full force. It applies also if you are doing a side hustle, but certainly if you want to start a business it is very difficult. On the flip side once you get a taste of it, and you like it, you better be ready to do it for the long haul. It would be difficult to go back to a job. Your whole mindset changes. You have to be ready or you might be twice as miserable if you have to go back to a job in six months. There is a lot to it and it’s a big decision. It goes back to our early discussion, make sure it’s what you want to do and take the decision slowly and make sure you pencil it out, and look at it from different angles and ask all of the questions. It’s a long term decision and isn’t something you just try for a couple weeks thinking if I make a million we will continue if not we will go back. It’s not like that.
Scott you worked on Happen to Your Career for a long time before it got where it is today. It takes that effort, concentrated hard effort. You need to ask yourself that question am I willing to do it not only on the fun days but the days that it aren’t and I’m tired and exhausted and want to do a million other things. Are you willing to do it at that point? That’s the question you have to ask. If you are not then I would consider finding a better job or a career you like better.
As we were talking through this I think it’s important to clarify and say I feel like we are going through this we are trying to talk people out of starting a business. There are some really good things about it. I love it. I could never go back. Scott and I have had this conversation. We are utterly unemployable from this point on. For us there is nothing else we could do. I could not go to a job where I sit there from 8-5 ever again. There are so many awesome things with opening a business. I don’t want people to get this idea that Scott and Mark are just trying to talk me out of my dream. That’s not it at all. There is a process you have to go through.
There is a ton of really good stuff about it. There is some of that romanticized stuff about owning a business that is true but it’s colored by the stuff that’s not so much fun. It really does depend on your personality and your tolerance for risk and what you really want out of it. It is really good too. There is a lot of really awesome stuff to owning a business, like working for yourself and setting your own schedule. There are both sides. I didn’t want to get to the end of the episode and have anyone think it was all doom and gloom and all terrible.
Like you said Scott you spent the last two days rock climbing with your kids. That’s pretty cool and fun. I spent a week in Nashville with my family. I was working while I was there but we got to do that. Scott is going to watch his kid’s school performance later today. That’s hard for a lot of people to do. That’s a really cool thing. I will say you can do that with a job depending on the job. But there’s give and take in all of it. There is good stuff to starting and owning a business and running a franchise or whatever it is. There is good to both.
Scott Barlow: To build on that, I think about this stuff and I think to a lot of people it could sound negative. For example, you mentioned getting up early, I started getting up earlier and earlier to find more time to devote toward the business because I decided I wanted to do it. I didn’t love getting up early but I absolutely loved what I got to do once I got up. It made getting up at 3:55 to 4 in the morning completely tolerable and even exciting. The act of getting up in the first place was not that exciting. That is another thing to look for. That can help you answer the question of whether you are willing to go for the long haul. I love how you framed it out: When it is hard are you willing to be there for that versus just the easy and exciting stuff? It was hard to get up every single day at 4 a.m. even when I didn’t want to and still do the stuff. But it was exciting and I was willing to do it because everything else lined up.
Mark Sieverkropp: I think it’s important to realize and I mentioned it in passing earlier, you think it’s hard in a job at times not having flexibility of schedule or being required to do things, but it’s way harder when you don’t have a schedule. Having to sit down and make a schedule. I guarantee it would have been easier for you Scott if your boss said your schedule. I know at your previous job you had to go in at the middle of the night, but that is easier than you having to tell yourself I have to get up at 3:55 a.m. tomorrow. It is so easy to look at the clock, and there are mornings I do it, I won’t lie I did it this morning, I looked at the clock and groaned, thinking maybe I just won’t get up. But nope, I have to do it I made a commitment. I guarantee it is easier. It is harder to get up and do those things when you don’t have someone else telling you to do it. It’s harder to get the work you need to get done that day. Especially if you are working from home and your kids are upstairs playing or the rest of the family is going o the store and you want to get out and help your wife at Walmart. There are days I do that, but there are other days when I realize I can’t because I have things I need to do.
If you think it is hard dealing with a schedule when someone else is setting it, it’s a lot harder to be your own boss, to be your own task driver. It’s important to realize and understand that. It goes both ways. It’s funny I talk to people that say they couldn’t do what I do because they’d just sit and watch television all day, that they wouldn’t have the focus to do anything. But you might have the opposite problem, I do. It can be seven at night and my wife can’t believe I haven’t stopped yet. There are challenges on both sides to be aware of. When you set your own schedule you have to determine your own schedule, which I guess is the best way to say it.
Scott Barlow: Side note, I have a Netflix binge problem. I’ve had to solve this. Here is my easy fix for the Netflix binge problem. 1) I’ve taken it off a lot of my devices so it’s not easily available. (Especially since Netflix has started producing Marvel Comics series which is awesome). 2) The easiest thing I’ve done, which has worked every time so far, which may not be for you, but when I’ve watched half an episode and realize I’m staring at the top of the ledge and I’m going to spend twenty hours diving into something, I’ll skip to the last episode and watch the last half of it so that I only spend half an hour. It totally ruins it for me. But it saves me from spending literally 20 hours because I can’t stop myself. I have little willpower.
Mark Sieverkropp: Here’s what I do. I binge on Netflix a little bit, not to the clinical issue problem that you have. But here is what I do, it’s one of the cool things about owning your own business and working for home. I batch the things that are mindless tasks and do them while I’m watching television at the end of the day. Like emails or copying things from spreadsheets. Things I can do without thinking. That’s kind of cool. I could never do that at work. This is mindless so I’m just going to pull my iPad and watch four hours of Elementary while I work. You can’t do that normally so it’s cool owing my own business. There are days I’ll eat lunch and then sit and watch television for two hours because that is the type of work I’m doing. It’s kind of neat. I also work outside sometimes which is nice under my gazebo. Not now while it is cold but in a couple months I will look forward to it. I know you do that too sometimes Scott like at coffee shops. It’s nice to change your scenery.
I can tell you it is much more fun doing hard work, or work you don’t want to do, when you are outside and its 78 degrees with a light breeze and sun. It’s just better. There was one day I was watching a family of quails walk across my yard and I had a conversation with them. I’m like, “Wow I work from home and don’t have interaction with people” (laughing). I’m talking to quails.
Scott Barlow: This is the other side of clinical if it’s not Netflix.
It is a ton of fun and adds a whole different element. Your decision is going to be based on what is right for you. If you don’t like talking to quail maybe it’s not your thing or maybe you cultivate a different type of business to do what you like to do. If you haven’t already made a decision to start or not start a business and you’ve been considering it for a lengthy time, more than a month, maybe years, go through and answer these four questions so you can make a decision and get started or decide it’s not what you want.
Mark, I really appreciate you getting up extra early.
Mark Sieverkropp: Only for you. You are the only person I’d get up to record something for at six in the morning. Not true, I might do it for David Ralph. But only you two.
Scott Barlow: David is a friend of the show, he has an episode, go back and listen to it, and oh my goodness, bonus surprise at the end.
Mark Sieverkropp: I literally listen to that like once a month (laughing).
Scott Barlow: I fell over laughing.
Mark Sieverkropp: Literally fell over.
Scott Barlow: Yes, literally. Mark, by the way, I don’t know that we talked a ton about backyard soccer coach. If you want to see a business getting up and running in action this has been Mark’s side project. It’s really cool and I was super excited when he first told me about it. It really lines up with his expertise and what you do. I thought it was super cool. What can people find if they go to backyardsoccercoach.com?
Mark Sieverkropp: Backyardsoccercoach.com is essentially for those of you that have children that play soccer and you know nothing about it. It’s not necessarily for people who have played their entire lives, but you might get something out of it. I’m really trying to help parents that have kids that play soccer that have only kicked a soccer ball once in middle school P.E. They want to help their kid be successful. It’s a lot of resources and tools. I’m creating a series called Soccer 101 that helps people with the basic rules, what the players do, and the types of equipment they need. It’s a basic soccer education with resources and tools for soccer parents to help their kids.
Scott Barlow: I think you are underselling it a bit to be honest. I was thinking the other day that it’s perfect for me. I played soccer when I was a kid. My youngest plays, Grayson. There was a call for coaches. He’s been playing and I was trying to think of what drills I would do if I were coaching little kids. Obviously you don’t need to know a ton but I was thinking I’d ask my friend Mark and go to backyardsoccercoach.com. That would be really helpful in that situation. I know and understand the basic rules, but I have no idea when it comes to working with Grayson where I should be utilizing my time even though I know the basic elements.
Mark Sieverkropp: It’s very different playing for a bit and then being able to help someone else learn how to play. It’s a very different skill set. That’s what I am trying to do. Help parents be able to do that and have a good direction to go in. It is better when you say it, you make it sound better.
Scott Barlow: It always sounds better.
In all seriousness that’s why I found the idea valuable with talking to you about it and you telling me about different drills then checking it out. I found it valuable. If you are interested in seeing a business up and running in action then go check it out or if you have little kids in soccer and you want to understand how to work with them regardless of whether you know anything about soccer or it’s been a long time since you played go check it out.
Mark, I really, really appreciate you making the time and getting up early, even if there is one other person in the world you would do it for.
Mark Sieverkropp: Absolutely happy to do it. Had a good time and we brought up things that I continue to think about and things I continue to ask myself as I’m starting and running my business as a contractor.
Scott Barlow: I really appreciate it.
Mark Sieverkropp: Thanks Scott.
Episode Links and Resources
Guest: MARK SIEVERKROPP