Dave Says: Don’t waste your time or money if you’re not serious

Dear Dave,

I’ve been wanting to start my own small business for years. The only problem has been my current job. I make good money, but I also put in a lot of hours. About a month ago, I came up with an idea I think would be really successful. How do you feel about me handling the books of this new business, and generally overseeing things, but hiring a manager to handle the day-to-day operation?


Dear Temple,

I don’t like this idea very much. In fact, I hate it. If your idea is to crunch a few numbers, and stop by once in a while just to make an appearance, then I’d advise against the whole idea.

The big problem with your plan is that you are only a small part of the equation, when it’s supposed to be your business.

In one survey by Forbes.com, several successful entrepreneurs were asked how many hours per week they worked. Not one said less than 50, and the majority put in closer to 70 or 80 hours a week. While the latter may not be feasible if you’re already working a full-time job, the idea is the same. You have to love what you’re doing, and you must be willing to put in the time and effort to make it work.

When it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, you are the ideas. You are the passion, the vision, the energy and the desire to get things done and grow the business. If you don’t have the drive to be all those things, you’re better off not doing it at all. You’d have a better chance of making something work if you bought an existing business with a manager already in place.

I’m sorry, Temple. But in my mind, your idea—as it stands now—is a big disappointment just waiting to happen.

— Dave