Do it: start that business

It won’t be easy, but you’ll eventually make a living simply by being you

The author, a Chico native and father of two boys, is owner of Great State Coffee Co. He is also the CN&R’s former advertising manager.

So you think you might want to start your own business. Maybe your full-time job feels safe and secure, but you don’t really love what you do or the fact that it takes up 40 hours of your life every week. If your dreams nag at you constantly, you might be an entrepreneur.

The good news is that you are free to live your dreams. America rewards risk, hard work and good ideas. In our opulent society, even crazy ideas can do well. Consider Pop-Tarts, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, cycling jerseys and tanning salons!

The problem is that being an entrepreneur will cost you security. Believe me, I know. Two years ago, I left an excellent job with a comfortable salary to go back to the coffee business after a six-year absence. The time since that leap has been turbulent and stressful; business at the café I purchased grew faster than I anticipated, and on top of that, I start a roasting business.

But this journey has also been blissful. I have cherished the time I’ve worked with the baristas. I love the singularity of focus found in craft, and the endless complexity of chasing perfection. Building my vision doesn’t feel like work. I imagine professional artists feel the same way.

Here are some thoughts for those who hope to survive an entrepreneurial adventure:

• Do something you’re passionate about. This road is too hard otherwise. You should do it only if you can’t imagine doing anything else.

• Have faith. You’ll be cash poor at first, and I know this sounds metaphysical, but resources will find you in seemingly magical ways if people love what you’re offering. In this way, financial freedom will come long before you become wealthy.

• Choose your partners wisely. Don’t go into business with others if you don’t have to. If it’s necessary, so be it. But know what you’re getting into and whether your potential partners can handle the freedom that comes with owning a business. Always measure their words against their actions, and measure the value they bring to your business based on the quality of their work.

• Prepare to lose anything that doesn’t fit your vision for your life. When you realize that vision, everything that doesn’t fit will vanish. You will live contiguously, your work-life compartmentalization will erode, and you’ll make a living simply being you.

Starting your own business will give you true artistic freedom. You should do it.