There are risks in most things which are worth doing. Certainly, in careers, there are many risks to consider whether working as an employee or as a business owner/entrepreneur. Neither approach is risk free. But, being an entrepreneur squarely puts the risk on the shoulders of the entrepreneur. When my wife and I first started Magnus in 1993, it was partly out of necessity at the time. We both wanted to work in this field and we wanted to provide services in a way we thought would best serve the needs of our lawyer/clients. Having worked for other trial consultants, and observing them and others in the field, it seemed to us that there was a better approach than was offered by many of them. But, taking the leap of starting a new business, and putting all of our eggs in 1 basket, was a big step. I had my own business previously, when I worked as a photographer for a number of years and I had learned many of the ups and downs that come with business ownership. But, it was a new adventure for Melissa and, fortunately, she is a quick learner. And, as we continue this journey, there are always new risks and opportunities out there. The title of this post is “Risk Behaviors” and my thought behind it was that when these words are said some will think of dare devils taking physical risks or gamblers wagering on cards or sports as exhibiting risky behaviors. But, what is clear is that there are many types of risks and one of them is business ownership. Employees who merely collect their paychecks rarely understand this. And, clients may or may not think of their consultants as risk takers. But, I think managing business risks is an active part of almost every business decision we make. And, interestingly our work is intended to help clients manage risks. Lawsuits involve taking calculated risks; as trial consultants we help make the calculations. So, risk behaviors are an integral part of our lives, like it or not.
I am not a risk taker, in most aspects of my life. I am not a gambler; I prefer a sure thing over an uncertain windfall any day. However, I must be more risk oriented than I ever realized, in that owning and operating a small corporation is risky business. As I have mentioned in other posts, Monday is my favorite day of the week, primarily because I bask in my good fortune that we are, once again, open for business for another week. I have learned, over 21 years of not earning a paycheck (paychecks are now such a foreign concept to me that I have no idea when payday is for my company’s employees!), that I have to take the lean times in stride just as I revel in the good times. The trade off of not having to work for someone else is worth the risks of not knowing when my spouse/business partner and I will get paid again. In that I am the primary source of revenue for myself, my spouse/business partner, and all of our employees, and a large source of revenue for some of my company’s vendors, there is considerable pressure on me to “bring in the bacon.” I worry about when we will get retained for the next case, when we will be paid for working on the last case, and in general, I worry about everything except whether I will be motivated to keep on keeping on. My advice to would be entrepreneurs is to take a long, hard look at yourself and decide what is important to you. I choose freedom, but other people have valid reasons for choosing a paycheck.