How many hats can you wear?

Maria Langer, on her blog, on owning and operating her own small business:

I am the owner of a small business, Flying M Air, LLC. I do just about everything for the company except maintain the aircraft: schedule flights, preflight the aircraft, fly, take payment from passengers, manage the drug testing program, work with the FAA, meet with clients, negotiate contracts, arrange for special events, hire contract workers, record transactions, handle invoicing and receivables, pay bills, create print marketing materials like business cards and rack cards, etc. I also handle the online presence for the company, including the company website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Her entire post is more about losing a day to marketing efforts. Worth a read.

Based on experience, I can say her list of duties is incomplete. But we get the point. If you’re running a small business you wear a lot of hats.

I think this may be the single biggest aspect of small business ownership that people overlook when considering striking out on their own. If you have “a job” at a company you have, typically, a singular area of responsibility. Within that area of responsibility you may have a few things that you are tasked with doing… but certainly you do not have to do everything.

The things those with “a job” rarely have to worry about; sales leads, money, taxes, bills, laws, trademarks, patents, marketing, resources, money, sales leads, money, bills, money. Get the picture?

When you take ownership of your own company the amount of duties and pressure that you bring onto yourself can, for some, outweigh the benefits of “being your own boss” and setting your own schedule. Freedom has huge costs.

Personally, I love doing my own thing. But I’m not that good at it. And it does cause me a lot of stress sometimes. There are days that I wish I had “a job” and that I could just show up, do it, and walk away without worrying about the 90 other duties that need to be done. And then there are days when a friend calls, asks to go kayaking in the middle of the day, and I don’t have to ask anyone if I can do that.

So, before you strike out on your own with a small business, ask yourself, in addition to whatever it is you want to do for a living; do you want to be an accountant, banker, sales person, marketer, social media guru, web developer, designer, customer service rep, scheduler, secretary, etc.? If not, don’t do it. Or, hire other people to handle these tasks.