When you take the leap and open your own business, you don't realize that hidden in the mist of business ownership are many, many more cliffs you will have to jump off. Owning a business is all about risk taking – I can’t emphasis this enough.
I didn’t know a lot of business owners growing up. Our family friendship circles were mainly populated by employees; people working for other people. Since the mid-2000s, however, when Ryan and I opened Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, I’ve been exposed to many other business owners and I’ve noticed something – they, I mean we, are control freaks.
Part of the reason they, I mean we, own our own business is because we want control over our own destiny. This controlling part of a business owners’ personality doesn't mean they aren't risk takers. Just the opposite, business owners are risk takers, but most tend to take calculated risks.
Meaning that we rarely jump off of a cliff without first putting on a wingsuit.
The decisions you make as a business owner aren’t easy, and the big decisions, the ones that can potentially take a business to the next level – those are exactly like base jumping. Miscalculate and you will crash and burn.
Base jumpers aren’t crazy - they take calculated risk, and like business owners, they are susceptible to changes in the climate. The last five years represented a climate shift that knocked more than a few business owners off course. Some were able to correct their flight pattern, while others ran directly into a cliff (we barely avoided it and have the scrapes to prove it).
I’ve never been base jumping, but I imagine the payoff in terms of the adrenaline rush that comes with landing at the end of the flight is pretty amazing. And that’s why they, I mean WE, do it. Owning a business isn’t the safe way and definitely not the the easiest way to pay the bills, but ask any one of us and we’ll say, “It's so worth it.”
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is a freelancer writer and founder of HeidiTown.com and co-owner of Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture. She and Ryan put on their wingsuits in 2004.