In 2002, while living on the island of Statia (local name for St. Eustatius), I started a sandwich business which only lasted about three months. I sold tuna, cheese and turkey sandwiches out of the back of my gold Mercedes Benz to medical students at a nearby university. I know crazy but we had a fancy car and loads of bills and it was an opportunity that was too easy to pass up.
Often it is a crisis situation that pushes us into business. We have a medical emergency, a spouse is unemployed, we blew too much money on an impromptu shopping spree and now a major bill is due. Whatever the reasoning, it is very important that you not panic.
While panic mode can give you the temporary motivation to take the leap, it most likely won’t help you to soar.
I’d started the business knowing it would only be temporary. I had no plans to live on Statia for much longer and this was one way to get some easy cash with minimum effort. While I only ran the business for a few hours each morning I learned some valuable lessons about planning, purchasing goods and meeting the needs of customers.
Many people use entrepreneurship as a stop gap; something to do until the situation changes. However, consider that with a little more planning you could change your financial situation over the long term and add another stream of income which is so vital in today’s economy.
Operating in panic mode continuously sets you up for an emotional and financial roller coaster that you can’t seem to get off of. Take a deep breath and consider your situation.
- How much money do you need to make?
- When do you need to have the money by?
- What can you do to make the money which won’t end with you in jail?
- Is this only a temporary situation or could you use the money continually?
Maybe your venture is seasonal and won’t work all year round. Consider how you could find a complimentary service that may work at other times of the year.
It didn’t take long for another enterprising soul to take up the sandwich business the minute I stopped. Who could pass up and extra 50 to 100 guilders a day? I sincerely doubt that I would have continued it even if I’d never left the island because at the time I was only looking for a short term solution.
You will get tired of the roller coaster panic mode to find quick cash solutions. Now I am more focused on how I can make the greatest impact over the long term rather than be driven by the need to pay off a bill quickly. It is a much more empowering position and one that has longer term financial benefits.
If you are ready to start a business for much more than a temporary measure then download my workbook How to Start a Business in Five Days.
I also recommend this book by my colleague and friend Donna Every, What Do You Have in Your House? This is a quick read and a great reference tool to get you out of panic mode and into prosper mode.
Courageous enough to read about my business failures? Then get The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth.