Why the heck would anyone want to start a business?
This is a question I had to re-ask myself, recently.
I worked in the manufacturing sector for many years. I started with a mom-and-pop shop as a laborer and eventually worked my way up to be the lead quality control person. My direct manager, who was also part owner, felt like more of an older brother to me than a boss. We talked about our kids and families and he always helped out with the workload when we needed it. Most importantly, he was interested in our ideas and frequently asked for input. I loved my job for the first 10 years.
Together, we built a prominent company in a very niche market and bigger fish took notice. It wasn’t long before buyers came knocking and the business was bought and sold twice within 2 years. The small 30-person business I first started with is now part of a 7,000-person international conglomerate. I stayed with the company for another four and a half years, and I hated all but half a year of it. The tight-knit family atmosphere I enjoyed for so long was quickly replaced with a rigid structure of top- down management. The new focus was more sales, more production, and more output. In six months, my coworkers and I found ourselves stuck like rocks in the wheels of big industry.
Even reminiscing about my previous job experience brings tightness in my chest. It’s a story that plays out every day in many places for many people. Most will tolerate their work life and see it as a means to an end…to earn money. The passionate soul, however, will want to throw off the covers of subordination and strike out in a new direction with fiery disdain. They will refuse to be saddled. Refuse to conform. They’ll aggressively seek out change and all things new and different. They’ll push back the boundaries of standard practice and stretch their minds to view things from a different perspective. They’ll do the work, take all the risks, and own all the responsibilities.
Oh, there it is. That’s why I decided to start a business. I chose to become something different.