By Kim Browne

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the the things they never tell you about owning your own business. Or maybe “they” do, but I just wasn’t listening.

Let’s talk about control as a start. It’s not hard to imagine that if you’re running your own business, you’ve got more control, right? I think Bob Dylan’s got it spot on with the lyrics to his late-1979 hit song “Gotta serve somebody“. Maybe it’s clients, maybe the bank or shareholders. They may call you chief, but you’d better be serving somebody to stay in business.

There’s also not a “convenient” boss to blameshift to. It’s positively therapeutic to be able to blame “the boss”. It gives a level of comfort that you don’t have to be the bad guy who insists on an 18-hour day to get that project done!

When you work for yourself it’s hard to walk out the door, when you need a break. When you are operationally hands on, you can’t just put in your leave form and go on holiday when things are stressing you out. If you’re not there, who’s gonna do the work? If the work doesn’t get done, you can’t bill. And we know what happens if you don’t bill…

Then there’s the worry. You got too much work. How do you get it all out in time, keeping everyone happy? Too little work. How are you going to make those targets?

Which approach to take? It’s as unpredictable as traveling to work in the traffic. Take the highway and you may just get stuck for hours behind a significant snarl-up. The road less travelled, who knows what you may encounter and when you’ll get there?

And in all daily encounters there’s the moaning Mary’s mumbling: “Are we there yet?”, versus the positive Peter’s proclaiming: “Hey, check the view!”. Meantime you’ve got to just get on and do it.

Twisted Toast Digital is a few months away from our third birthday. Given all of the above, it really is still pretty neat to own our own business and be accountable to … ourselves. Whether we succeed or fail is entirely up to us still. This fact gives us quite a rush. There really isn’t anything quite like it.

As my son opined on a recent road trip to Kwa-Zulu Natal: “Shame, it must be horrible being a cow. All they do is eat and sleep. Where’s the fun in that?”

Happy summer. Let’s go make some hay!