Thursday, January 17, 2008

Serenity Insurance: Being a Good Steward

Self-employment is a tightrope between abundance and scarcity, and sometimes it can feel like that image in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion of the girl walking the tightrope over a pit of alligators. It's easy to feel that you're just barely keeping your head above water. Sometimes it's true.

As you work on growing your business, consider a bit of serenity insurance: Think about the things you value most in your business. That's your health, your equipment, your means of communication, etc.

Now imagine if any one of those became unavailable. Feel that burning in your chest and boulder in your stomach? That's the feeling of coming lack of serenity.

If you don't plan for those unexpected but predictible changes--the computer will break, you will get sick--you're actually planning to lose your serenity.

Now imagine how good it will feel to know with certainty that you could support the things that support you.

I say this because there are things that I love that I don't necessarily take good care of. In my younger years, I loved and relied upon my car but didn't do anything to keep it running short of regular oil changes. When I started my business, I needed my computer but had no means to care for it. When it broke, I was in a panic, until I could buy a new one.

What I'm talking about is becoming a good steward of those things you love--including yourself. So serenity insurance can mean the obvious--health insurance (which is a post for another day) and homeowners or renters insurance--but it can also mean having a fund for other unpredictable but inevitable changes.

One of my intentions for this year is to set aside a tiny bit of money each month for a repair fund. After all, if my actions are all I possess then I want to support my values by taking an action that's in alignment with them.

When I was finally able to buy another computer, the gratitude that I felt was immense. I want to remember and honor that feeling by caring for it the way I'd care for anything I valued. And I include this intention in my business plan.

Of course, the cold, hard business side of this practice is discovering just how much it really costs to run a business. If you're a sole proprietor, it's tempting to think you only need to make enough to pay your bills every month. But think larger, because the truth is that the goal of business planning to keep you self-employed in the long run, not just this month. Being a good steward allows you to do that.

What are your list of unpredictable but inevitable expenses you need to plan for?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I want to run a business soon, so I'll have to keep this in mind. I'm tried of the bureaucracy at my office job. I know it’ll be challenging, but I’m up for it and will appreciate all the help I could get. Instead of starting a business, I've been thinking about buying a business. Any suggestions? Advice? Thanks.