Filed under: Personal, Planning.
I want to live my life, not just view it. That’s why I recently took a break and why I am trying to start a business of my own. It’s easy to sit back and just watch life go by, to react to things, to watch other people having the adventures. But I get restless when I am just watching. That is part of why I get so frustrated with college: we are learning about other people who are out there doing things while we are told to “wait until it is your turn”. Pfft… why can’t it be my turn now?
This site was created because I want to get out there and do things while encouraging others to do the same. My wife and I don’t watch tv, because we’d rather do exciting things instead of watching others do them. Like Sebastian, I love to play sports but don’t care much for watching them, though I’ve always been this way and didn’t have to “give them up”.
Recently this topic seems to be recurring in my life. The article by Sebastian about playing sports but not spectator sports, an excellent post about the Rise of Spectatoritis, and some conversations with friends… all echoing some thoughts that I’d been having on my own.
A Neglected Hobby
One of these lines of thought was about a hobby: bushcrafting (ie: camping, playing in the woods, etc). Nature has comforted me for my whole life, but in recent years I haven’t been making the time to get out and enjoy some wilderness time. It’s easy to make excuses: I live in the city; it’s an hour drive to get out; the weather is miserable. However, if I really want to get out and about, to do something that makes me happy, there has to be a way.
Just behind my apartment runs a creek. It has at least 50 feet of overgrowth on each side of it. This “wilderness” lives in between 4 different residential areas, a no-man’s land. No, it’s not my dream location of acres upon acres of wilderness with old-growth forests. It’s not necessarily a place that I would be comfortable spending the night in (since it is often over-looked by my neighbor’s windows, and I don’t know how they might react to a campfire and hammock appearing just outside their back yard.) However, it is a place where I can get away from my “city life” and practice some bushcraft skills. Wood can be gathered for a fire on my porch (in my grill/fire-pit). Hammock and tarp can be hung for practice. Deer, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, turtles, and more can be tracked and viewed. Most importantly, I can do this whether I have 15 minutes or a whole weekend free.
However, I have to remember to do this. It’s easy to sit on my computer surfing the BushcraftUSA forums and read about others who are out doing things. Many times I sit there and wish that I had the opportunities that they have. Maybe I don’t, but I do have some opportunities. I can get out and practice and explore. Then, when I do have a chance to visit a national forest I will know exactly what to do and how to do it. Until then, I know where an amazing blackberry patch is hidden.
I mentioned that I want to start a business of my own. For years now I’ve been reading about business. I can tell you what you need to start a business, how to write a proper business plan (and how to do the quickie, one-page version), explain where and how to get funding, and what to do with it once you’ve got it. I have ideas that can be started for less than $100 and some that would take a few million. However, I’ve never actually done it. I have never run a business of my own, not even a lemonade stand as a kid.
Starting a business is really easy. All you have to do is offer to exchange something of value for money.
- Is it hot and someone doesn’t have time/hates doing yardwork? Offer to mow their yard for $30. Do this for 15 people and you’ll be making $450 a week. All you need is a push-mower and some gas.
- Don’t have a mower? Offer to walk someone’s dog. All you need are feet and a hand. Get your first few clients for free from Craigslist.
- Know how to do something fairly well? Go and teach it to people who don’t know how to do it at all, but would like to.
You don’t have to be amazing at some skill to run a business. You just have to be better or more willing than the person who is willing to pay for what you offer.
So for all of these years I’ve been gathering knowledge on business. Reading those books, taking notes, coming up with plans, etc. But I’ve never tried it. Instead of sitting back and just reading about others doing it, I have decided to do it for myself. The books have been put aside, the plan was made, and I have made my first move.
I want to spend as little money as possible until I have a reasonable expectation of my venture’s success. In fact, I don’t want to spend any money. And so, I’m starting out as a freelance consultant. Start-up cost so far? $0. I’ve offered my freelance services to my current boss in exchange for the contacts of 3 people who she thinks would benefit from what I offer. So I get a practice run and hopefully future paying clients. The profit from those future clients will be spent on building the business.
So what will I be doing? As a consultant I will help my (future) clients understand how they can become more productive with a few simple tweaks to their daily workflow. How will I do this? By combining all of this knowledge into simple actionable steps for them to take: not only do I understand how business operates, but I know about energy management, how not to have meetings, the importance of brainstorming sessions, how modern electronics can help and hinder workers, how email kills your productivity, what the only two important tasks any business does are, how to identify the best ways to do them, and more.
All of that knowledge, though, is useless until I actually get out and do it. I have to act on it and help others do the same. Finally, I am. Instead of reading about it, I’m going to go do it.
What about you?
What do you want to do but don’t? Maybe it’s a hobby you no longer participate in, a dream you watch others fulfill, or something else. Whatever it is, believe that you can do it! Share what you spend time watching others do in the comments.