Friday, May 6, 2011

The Entrepreneur Equation by Carol Roth

iconiconThis is one of those nonfiction books that I've read on the side here and there.  It was one of the titles my library added to their ebook collection recently, so I snapped it up.

I read it pretty enthusiastically until a few chapters in, when the author said that a one-person business is not a business at all.  She basically said that it's not worth your time at all to build a business if you are the only person in the business, because it has no value and cannot be resold.  Essentially, she is saying that all of the time and effort you put into marketing and other business-running tasks are wasted, because you aren't building something as value.

I'll address this issue a little more on my writing blog next week, but for now, suffice it to say that since I'm a freelance writer, I didn't appreciate this bit of "wisdom."  As a result, I put the book down for several days before finally picking it back up again and skimming through the rest.

The rest of the information in the book I wholeheartedly agree with.  She talks about some of the biggest fallacies that lead people to start their own businesses — they want to make their living doing what they enjoy, they want more time off or a more flexible schedule, they want to be their own boss, etc. — and explains why each of these is a terrible reason for starting your own business.  For instance, fost people underestimate the amount of time they'll be working as a business owner, not to mention the amount of time they'll be spending doing other things — marketing, financial stuff, administrative, etc.  So little of your time ends up being spent on "what you love," that if that's your incentive, you are better off just getting a job doing what you love.

All this kind of stuff I agree with.  But I totally disagree with building a one-person business being a waste of time, and I'll explain why on my writing blog.  It was hard to get past my resentment over that statement so that I could enjoy (and learn from) the rest of the book, but I still found it to be pretty useful.  Even if it supposedly didn't apply to me.

Just a word of warning: This is not a book to help you start your own business.  It's a book to help you decide whether you are really the right person to start your own business.  She's right that many startups fail because the owners have no business (please excuse the pun) running a business.  This book is designed to help you decide whether or not that's you.

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