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Running a small business means somehow trying to be good at EVERYTHING

I'm managing director of my business. Marketing manager too. I hold full responsibility for service delivery and operations. I'm in charge of IT strategy and accounts receivable. I'm the web designer, procurement clerk, compliance officer, sales team, book-keeper, accountant, training co-ordinator, chief cook, and definitely bottle washer.

And I find that I do some of these jobs better than others.

Jack of all trades, but master of only some of them.

A family business building cars

Ida Tristram used to be a teacher, but now she makes cars for a living.

Replicas of classic sports cars, to be precise. She can sell you the whole car, or the ingredients you need to build one yourself.

It’s a career change that a makes a little more sense when she tells me that her husband Scott used to do fabrication work on yachts.

“One day a guy who owned a car-making business brought his yacht to Scott, and he was headhunted basically for a job at the company.”

How bad admin destroys small businesses (and it happens all the time...)

It’s a rare small business person who confesses to loving their admin, and doing my filing is my least favourite task of the working week. 
When I had a job in a big accountancy firm then the wonderful Michelle used to take all the rubbish from my out tray and file it in the right places.

"There's no such thing as a rich herbalist"

Mala Bissoon never set out to be self-employed, but after retraining from graphics to herbalism in 1997, “you don’t go out and get a job as a herbalist, there’s no such thing.” 

As we sit in her sitting room, her dog Lola, a manic fluffy bundle, nips around doing her best to chew my handbag.  Mala laughs as she described her career progression as “a series of mishaps“.  

Why do some of us start working for ourselves?

I’ve been wondering, what is it that separates us from all those people who stay working for someone else?

I don’t think it’s that we’re the only ones interested in being our own bosses. I’m pretty sure lots of people who are being told what to do have dreams of running their own show.

It doesn’t seem either like we’re a bunch of dilettante rich folk, with nothing to lose and no financial commitments like mortgages and raising children. No.

Professional musician, and full time student

Evan Katz initiated himself into the tribe of the self employed at the age of 16.

“I’ve always not been a fan of kind of the standard teenage jobs. I mean all my friends kind of have cashier jobs, or they’ll work as like a lifeguard or something. So I used to give guitar lessons and I realized that what I really liked doing was playing guitar and singing.”

Now Evan’s funding his student years by making music. “The main source of my income is as a professional musician.”