My biz story: From scientist to soloist
This article is for people who may one day jump off the metaphorical cliff to enjoy the flight of a lifetime. This is my story, and what I learnt.
Jumping off the cliff
My parents had jobs and their approach to money was conservative and low risk, which was the attitude I inherited. To compound the risk-aversion, I studied science to doctorate level, spending years in large conservative institutions.
But, there was a bigger voice inside me, and a whole lot of drive! My former partner coaxed out my inner (scared) entrepreneur and, in one inspired and unplanned moment, we jumped off the cliff into the world of business.
What sort of business does a scientist start? You’ll be surprised!
As a trained scientist, you probably wouldn’t guess, but the business I started was a restaurant. It was a modest success too. Six years on, we sold it after growing it from 25 seats to 100.
That experience taught me an enormous amount and awakened my passion for small business. In fact, from there I commenced a long and happy career as a small business consultant.
"My former partner coaxed out my inner (scared) entrepreneur and, in one inspired and unplanned moment, we jumped off the cliff into the world of business."
Turns out, there are so many people like me
As a consultant for the past decade, I have seen inside hundreds of small businesses, and had the pleasure of working with their owners. Some do things well and other not so well. But what surprised me the most is that I’m not the only accidental businessperson, in fact, it is almost the norm.
An air traffic controller became a franchise owner, a pharmacist transformed into a marketer and a teacher became a fitness guru. They are all everyday people who had safe jobs, but an ambition to be something more.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business start up section.
What I learnt
Initially I thought I had too many weaknesses to be a business owner, but my clients showed me that those weaknesses were actually strengths.
A quieter, compassionate nature is ideal for sustaining long term business relationships and building a referral base. A scientific, enquiring mind is essential for listening to clients and solving problems from first principles. My passion for systems and process is a foundation of business growth. My rigorous training in scientific report writing makes my business plans succinct.
While I’ve had to improve and strengthen many things, I didn’t have to initially doubt myself.
I see equivalent strengths in every business owner, where skills, experience, personalities and mindsets are applied to very different fields from their initial training. In fact, looking at one type of business through a different lens can give you a huge competitive advantage.
I love where life has taken me as a cliff-jumping business owner. Maybe one day you can write about your journey too?
Did you jump off the cliff into a solo or micro business? I’d love to hear your story.