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The harsh reality of life as your own boss

I’ve lost count of the number of times I hear people say they wish they could do what I do instead of their nine-to-five jobs.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I hear people say they wish they could do what I do instead of their nine-to-five jobs. When I dig a little deeper to ascertain their reasons, I’m often left with the impression that they’re deluded in thinking it would be an easier option than their day job.

Personally, compared to when I worked for someone else, I don’t think I’ve ever worked as hard as I do now working for myself. I occasionally try to explain this, but I now think you have to live and breathe the reality of being in business before you can comprehend what’s actually involved.

‘If only they knew,’ I find myself thinking. Us indie owners have to wear many hats. We must be a Jack of all trades as we typically oversee all aspects of our store’s operations, from merchandising, managing employees, market research, media planning to customer service, accounting, internet sales advisers … and so the list goes on.

Owning your own store often comes with many sacrifices including working long hours, fewer holidays and financial investment. There is then, of course, the risk component and the need to hold your nerve throughout the year, when the economy is in turmoil and when the high street stores launch Sale after Sale.

If only it were as easy as standing behind a till surrounded by amazing products all day. If that were the case, I would recommend it to anyone.

There’s no doubt that when you have a successful business, the value of being your own boss cannot be underestimated. It’s the getting there and maintaining the success that must never be underestimated or misconceived.

  • Keith Ewing is director of lifestyle independent Number 8 in Stirling, Scotland

Readers' comments (1)

  • One of the most sensible and realistic articles ever written in Drapers.

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