There is a stack of articles out there that outline the essential steps to take before starting your own business. But they’re all forgetting one vital component.
You’ve decided to go it alone and be your own boss. You’ve sorted out your ABN, have someone working on your logo, found a bookkeeper and a copywriter. You’ve even invested in some sexy stationery and a pot plant.
But there’s one thing that’s more important than all that, something that’s essential to running a successful small business.
You need to get a dog.
Yes, that’s right. A dog is an essential part of any soloist’s operation.
Don’t believe me? Well, after conducting a highly scientific study (I emailed some solo business owners) I found that 80 per cent of soloists have dogs. I could create a pie chart here, but I think you get it.
Clearly there’s a connection between running your own business and owning a four-legged friend. And here’s why.
Let’s face it: working on your own can be lonely.
Yes, you can go to business networking events, reach out in forums and spend the day tweeting your socks off. But from now on, you’ll spend the majority of your time in self-inflicted solitary confinement.
The feel of your dog’s gentle meaty breath on your shins will make you feel less alone.
Dogs provide much-needed distractions, and stop you getting too sucked into your little solopreneur world.
Putting it simply, they need to wee, poo, walk and eat. Which means you’re forced to take regular breaks throughout the day. A five-minute respite to let the dog out gives you time to stretch, see the sky, breath deeply and return to you desk a little more refreshed.
I start every day with a walk on the beach. While my dog sniffs other dogs’ bottoms, I get to consider the day ahead – making my mental to-do list and shaking off the grogginess of sleep. By the time I get back to my desk, I’m ready to rock.
Want more articles like this? Check out the working alone section.
Dogs are excellent sounding boards. My husband will only listen to me bleating on about my work problems for a fixed amount of time. But my dog never tires of my whinging. As long as I’m looking at him, he’s happy.
I often discuss issues and problems with him. A slight movement of his eyebrows, or a flick of his tail, gives me the direction I need to make smart, empowered decisions. And he charges a lot less than a human Business Advisor.
I don’t know about you, but my home office is freezing. A carefully positioned hound can make for a perfectly ergonomic, heated footrest.
Being a soloist is not easy. We all have bad days – a client who won’t pay, a difficult job you wish you’d never taken on, or a horribly congested cash flow. They all take their toll on your morale.
A dog will, quite simply, make you happy. There’s some primal connection between wo(man) and dog. A quick pat of his furry back and I know everything will be okay.
So forget about investing in a shredder, or wasting cash on a fancy-pants marketing strategy. If you’re starting in business, get yourself a dog. It gives you a tried-and-tested business-success guarantee.
If you’re thinking you can substitute any furry animal and achieve the same success, you are mistaken. Cats have been known to have a detrimental affect on business. You have been warned.
Do you have a four-legged friend of the canine variety? How has he or she helped you grow your business?