#205 Why NOT to Start A Business

Historic site southeast of Eureka, Nevada.

Over the last year I've heard, and seen, a few comments on reasons to start a business. Usually, people are envious and say that they'd like to start a business because they don't want to work for someone else, or, because they are tired of looking for a job, or, because they can't get hired by anyone. Only one of these is a good reason. I'll let you work out which one. Of course, it's not the only reason you should do it.

Don't start a CRM firm if you don't want to do something different. If you're going to start up a firm just like the ones you've worked for then you'll just be more of the same. Don't do that. If you have a novel new idea, or a great management style, or something that is different, will foster good will and friendship among employees, and will make people want to work with you then go for it! 

Now I'll just talk about one reason listed above for why not to start a company: because no one else will hire you.

First, I'll talk about my last job and why I didn't immediately seek out further employment. My last company was, and is, going through some tough times. I can't really put a finger on exactly why they were going downhill, but, it certainly stemmed from management issues and a project manager or two that didn't know how to actually manage projects or people. Those things alone will sink a company. I'm not sure why I was laid off first, but I was. The reason given was that I didn't fit the direction the company was going. That must have been because they were going down, apparently. I couldn't agree more. I wasn't happy with the massive ethics violations that I was trying to fix from within anyway, so, I wasn't too upset. Within the next four months they laid off much of the rest of the staff.

At that point, I'd been in CRM for about eight years and had seen the good and the bad in a number of companies. I've always thought that there could be a better way. I'm also 38 - well 37 at the time - and I'm not getting any younger. So, I decided to finally take the plunge and start my own company. I never did look for work or send out a single CV or resume. I simply wasn't interested in working for anyone else.

My company is, and will never be, like all the rest out there. Browse my blog for the numerous posts about the type of company I have.

No one in their right mind would start a company just to give themselves a job!

Starting a company is a long, involved, stressful process. I'm still finding out things I should be doing that I'm not. No one tells you what organizations you should belong to, what licenses you actually need, where to find projects, how to get paid for those projects, and how to just make sure everything is running smoothly. I've made a ton of mistakes over the past year. Through this blog I've tried to relay my mistakes so someone else wishing to do this can save a few headaches.

Also, if I started this company just to give myself a paycheck then I'm a pretty crapy employer. I've paid myself a total of about $5,000 this year. That equates to approximately $2.84 an hour over the past 11 months. What a dick. I did all this because I believe in what I'm doing, not because I needed a job.

I wanted to write this post to start a conversation about the business of archaeology. If you started a business, why did you do it? If you started, then stopped, why? What about archaeology as a business in the first place? Have we cheapened the science by taking it out of the hands of universities and commercializing it? Should all arch firms be non-profit so they don't succumb to the "constantly grow" philosophy of modern capitalism? If you have an answer to one of these questions, please comment on the actual blog post. That way we can have the conversation in one place, rather than on five different social media sites. If writing a comment on the blog is too tedious, let me know and I'll try to fix it.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the field!