After several years of being in various jobs, owning various businesses, and learning various skills I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be risk in what you do in life. There are no exceptions unless you lock yourself away in a padded room and even then, there’s risk.
How do I know this? Well, I’ve actually been in most jobs you can imagine. I’ve been a cleaner, I’ve been a paperboy, I’ve been a shop worker and I’ve been a marketing consultant. In every single job I’ve been in, there have always been risks.
These risks never get any better over time either. You could be in a job for 20 years and then one morning get laid off. You could be in a job for 40 years, with no issues and then one morning you just don’t wake up. I’m not saying this to make you think about how dangerous life is, but rather to liberate you. Let me explain:
Owning a business is a safer path?
Lots of people online in 2017 seem to have this idea that when you OWN your business, there’s somehow less risk involved, well that’s not really true. It’s a nice idea, and I do agree with the idea that by owning a business, you’re LESS at risk than if you have a job, but you’re still at risk.
What do I mean by risk?
By risk, I mean that any ANY POINT, you could lose everything you have.
If you own a website, and you sell things online, a few things could happen at any point, for example:
- Your supplier could go out of business
- You could get sued for some random thing you haven’t even thought about
- Your web host could go down and stop working
- Your website could get taken down for a violation of some random terms and service thing you didn’t even read
- Your country could pass a law that makes selling what you sell illegal or very difficult
- And just about anything else you could imagine (or not imagine)
And that makes owning a business seem like a scary option and so most people don’t try. Most people look to jobs as a security blanket, a safety net that will always provide them with an income, no matter what. But does it work?
Well, no it doesn’t. At any point, the SAME problems that are there when you OWN a business could put you out of work, if you just have a job! Think about it, the companies that offer people jobs face the SAME problems that business owners face.
The only difference is that if you OWN a company and you come against a problem, you can try and fix it, and move on. If you WORK FOR that company? Well, you might just be expendable. Either way is risky. If you get laid off from a job, you’re out of luck.
On the other hand if you OWNED the company that had to lay people off, sure you’d be in trouble for a while, you might even lose your business, but the SKILLS you’ve built up from having owned the business stay with you.
So you’ll go out and start a new company, better than the one you lost, but that person (or people) you fired? Well, they’ll probably just look for another job thinking that can offer them more security and safety than their last job. They’ll keep playing the employee game.
Can you remove that risk?
Not really. There is no easy way to not have a risk in your life, there’s always SOMETHING that could go wrong. But it’s not all bad news. Actually, if you look at life with the mindset I’m about to share with you, you’ll always be in business. You’ll always be alright.
Learn and improve from mistakes
The only way to really be safe from risk is to learn from all your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes, you lose it all. Your website crashes, you get fired, you break a leg, whatever. It could all happen, but by learning from it, you can then come back that bit BETTER next time.
You can come back stronger, and because you’ve gone through those failures and issues, you know what to prepare for next time! Let’s say you owned a website and it crashed, you lost all the files. What does that teach you?
Well, you still have the skills that let you build the website. You still have the knowledge of how to create a new one, and you still have the ability to go out and create a brand new website. You just now know, that you should back up your files and make sure that you’re prepared for a future crash!
You come back stronger, better, and more able to tackle challenges. And so i a way, every time you fail (as a business owner) you should come back better and learn from the mistake. If you don’t, well then you could just spend years making the same mistakes over and over again, wondering why you’re not making any progress.
Learn from your mistakes, and always be prepared for them. The business owners out there that always seem to come out of things doing okay have mastered this. That being said, there are plenty of employees and business owners alike who just seem to be spinning their wheels.
Simple steps to avoid risk
Despite the point of this post being to show you that there are no ways of avoiding risk in your life, there ARE ways of reducing it, or making failure less likely. These are simple things you can do that really should be common sense for most of us but they’re also easy to forget. Here they are:
1: If you own an online business, back it up
Think about this: Owning an online business means you can reach anyone in the world at any time. It’s a great business model, but you really need to back up your files. If you don’t, you cold lose those files, and then what? They’re gone unless you’ve backed them up!
It doesn’t take long, but it could save you a lot of money so get it done! If you own a brick and mortar business, you won’t have this problem and you’ll just have other things to worry about like people breaking into your shop and stealing your stuff.
Online business owners, back up your files. Make multiple copies, and update them regularly. Get a good host that can back up your stuff regularly, and make sure they protect you against online attacks. It’s a simple step that could potentially save your company!
2: If you rely on ONE source of customers, get more
Relying on one thing is always a bad idea. It’s important to have more than one source of customers, traffic, and income. It might take you longer to build up different streams of income but it’s well worth doing. At any point, you could lose one of the streams!
For example if you have a website that relies on organic traffic from Google to make your business money, what happens when they update their algorithm? What happens when that traffic stops because a new, better website is taking the number one rankings for your keyword?
Well, you’re screwed, unless you have other ways of getting customers. The internet is a brilliant place because it allows everyone to compete with everyone else. You could compete online with the biggest and best brands in the world if you wanted.
At the same time though, anyone else could compete with you and you shouldn’t rely on any one source of traffic and income. Diversify! Start a social media following and an email list. Start a youtube channel as well, and bring in traffic from all over the place. Be everywhere.
3: Look at what’s working
Reducing risk can also come from being aware of what’s really going on in your life. Look at what’s working for you and why. Keep a small journal and write in it what you learn each day. If you do this you’ll be able to look back on your weeks, months, and years and work out what’s gone well and what hasn’t.
This is a simple way of being able to stop doing what’s NOT working and do more of what IS working. Be aware of what’s happening! KNOW what’s going on in your life. Is that youtube channel you started 5 years ago just not going anywhere?
You have a great opportunity because if something’s NOT working, (and you’ve tried as best as you can to make it work) you could just try something else. That’s not to say you should give up easily, because that’s not good either but you can just pivot and move onto something better.
4: Think about how to put yourself out of business
A great way to reduce the risk of another website, business or company coming along and overtaking you is thinking about HOW they could. By thinking about how another company could potentially put you out of business, you sort of stop them doing so.
Think about how someone could come and steal your customers. What would they do? How could another website come along, improve what YOU offer and steal your customers? Well, why don’t you just do that yourself, now?
Think about what OTHERS could do better than you, and then do it yourself, so you’re always one step ahead of all the competition. If you think someone could come along and steal your audience by launching a new podcast, why don’t YOU start a podcast?
Nothing’s stopping you, so why not do it before your competitor does. The first to market is often the ‘luckiest’.
Have fun, life’s short
The most important tip of all, is don’t spend your whole life worrying about small details, and trying to advance through the business world without also enjoying the world you live in. Take holidays, travel, experience new things and have fun.
The biggest risk of all is that we die having not really lived.