How many times have you heard a friend say “I could never be a nonprofit consultant. It’s too risky.”
Risky? When I think back on it, it was riskier when my boss’ waking up in a good mood determined whether I was going to have a job by day’s end!
A risk is how we take it, right? My single-employer risk is their multiple client nightmare.
While you’re (if only briefly) basking in the light of their admiration, ask yourself: is it true that people with their own business are great risk takers? Is the mythology of the entrepreneur right?
Not if you consider the basics. Most small business owners are not mega-income producing high fliers. They’re people who work hard to feed their families and save a bit for the future. Risk is not in their vocabulary.
So why does it look like “risk” to the paycheck crowd?
1) They need to justify their decision to stay employed.
2) They get along better in a controlled environment than you do.
3) There really could be a reason they need a steady income from a seemingly dependable source.
Of course, if we worry about the “risk” we’ll never get anything done, right? Besides, your friend doesn’t consider that much of what you do is minimizing risk. That means building the best client presentation possible to minimize the risk of someone else being selected. It’s going to networking events to minimize the risk of few business referrals. How about selecting the best partner for a job so the work gets done right? That and so much more cuts down the risk of self-employment.
So next time your friend stands in admiration of your risk-taking abilities… take it in, and think about how you can reduce the risk of finding out it’s not really true!
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