Many of us set out on our own to gain a greater sense of control: control over how we live, how we work, how we serve others. We appreciate the calm that comes with well-organized management and ordered predictability, and we live for the goal of one day enjoying professional simplicity. We're not really into the drama thing.
But predictability isn't for everyone. Some folks need the big thrills: the exciting climbs to perilous heights, the tragic falls to the bottom, and the ordeals of making the climb once again. For the entrepreneurial thrill-seekers among us, much of conventional business wisdom falls short of the goal of producing true day-to-day excitement that adds color to life.
Does the idea of a simple, predictable business life bore you? If so, follow these eight easy steps to ensure a perpetual state of chaos - and a neverending supply of dramatic tension - in running your small business:
Don't prepare for disasters. Are you keeping regular backups of your data? Are you storing copies in a bank safety deposit box? How are you set up for insurance? Are you prepared for a serious catastrophe? If so, you may be depriving yourself of the excitement of one day having to rebuild your entire business from scratch - or the joy of waiting out the storm in a hospital room - when disaster strikes.
Don't prepare for surprise successes. When in doubt, improvise. Make it up as you go along. Putting the advance pieces in place to take advantage of surprise opportunity only raises expectations of you and your business, and in the end will only simplify things and inspire confidence in you. It's far more thrilling to treat every call as a bolt of lightning from heaven, and to just hope for the best. After all, if it's meant to happen, it'll happen.
Don't take special care in selecting the people you associate with. Always go with the lowest bidding vendors, because they're all alike and only price matters; in fact, the lowest price will guarantee the greatest level of drama. There's nothing like discovering misspelled words or a serious website problem on an unexpectedly busy weekend, and not being able to contact someone to fix it. Likewise, if you take extra care in selecting the best people to work with, you'll only end up establishing a reputation as the person to go to for quality referrals. Not a whole lot of thrills there.
Don't specialize your products and services. By all means, be all things to all people. Don't be consistent at all; if a prospect requests a service, and you think that maybe you can provide it, go for it. Who knows? Maybe you can pull it off, or maybe you'll develop a reputation for being an amateur in your field. Either way, it's going to be a wild ride for as long as it lasts.
Only provide delivery methods convenient to you. You know better than your clients what will work for them: that's why you're the expert. Don't create specialized packages, information products, seminars, or mentoring programs. Don't survey your clients for new delivery ideas. The active hostility that comes with ignoring client needs can often be very stimulating.
Don't ever turn down work. Money is money, and if a prospect is willing to write the check, then the entrepreneurial thrill-seeker knows better than to turn them away. Nothing beats being called on your cell late on a Sunday evening for a last-minute handholding and panic session, and then having to argue about payment the next day. Don't ever discriminate when taking on new clients; you never know when you're passing up a golden opportunity to witness a first-rate psychotic meltdown - or to have one yourself.
Don't ever reconsider your decisions. We all make bad decisions, but the trick of getting full dramatic potential from them is to not admit it. Roll with the bad call, and when someone suggests a better idea, fight them on it. Clients respect vendors who cling desperately to half-baked ideologies and who steadfastly ignore reality. And defensiveness is wonderful for working up the blood.
Don't think for yourself. Follow this week's self-proclaimed gurus who are selling big promises with low risk, and don't ever question their advice. If they claim to be an expert, that should be good enough for you. Thinking for yourself only leads to self-confidence, ultimately creating the visionary potential to see ahead and rationally plan for the future.
And what self-respecting thrill-seeker wants that for their business?