Safe or Take a Risk on a Second Business
Q: I've been a consultant in my
own business for about four years, and while I'm making a decent
income, I've reached a plateau. Recently, a new opportunity has
arisen that, in the short term, will cost me a lot of time and
money, but has tremendous long term potential. I'm torn between
playing it safe and risking what I already have to build something
more. Any suggestions?
A: While we all groan when
people use cliches, there's no denying that they do have a basis in
fact. It does take money to make money. It's also true that the
willingness to take risks is a key ingredient in achieving success.
When you started your consulting
business, you willingly invested both time and money in a fledgling
project that had no track record. Your perseverance and expertise
brought you to your current plateau. Further expansion will require
the courage to take a risk again.
You probably have vivid memories of
those first two years when you sweated to pay the bills some months,
and sometimes longed for a nice, safe job with a salary. Do you
also recall the enthusiasm and sense of accomplishment as your
business grew from a dream into reality? Do you miss that feeling?
Moving up the ladder, whether it be in an entrepreneurial or
corporate environment, requires some sacrifices. You trade the
comfort of a familiar situation for the thrill of a new challenge.
Growth is scary and uncomfortable, yet many people feel most alive
when they're pushing themselves beyond their current boundaries.
Four years ago you trusted your
instincts when you began your new business. Now you have a track
record and a good deal of experience in the dos and don'ts of
building a successful enterprise.
If you decide in advance how much
time and money you're willing to devote to your new project, and put
together a specific plan of action, you'll minimize your risks.
However, you must ask yourself, “Will it be exciting, fun, and
personally satisfying?” If you can say “Yes” with conviction, then
go for it. If you can't, the potential rewards aren't worth the