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Thread: illness vs. one-man-business

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    illness vs. one-man-business

    Yesterday I was diagnosed with glandular fever which has stimulated a whole lot of thoughts that have been lurking around in the back of my mind.

    Dave put it really nicely in the BEE submission, something to the effect of

    For example, a 50 employee firm has 50 x 8 x 22 = 7300 hours/month to handle the 5 major business
    functions: sales & marketing, human resources, production, finance, administration.
    Our 5 man SME competitor has just 5 x 8 x 22 = 730 hours to handle almost the same level of admin.
    And our entrepreneurial start-up SME is carrying the same load in just 160 hours!
    What has been lurking in my mind the past couple of weeks is the difficulty of being as efficient as possible. Essentially a one-man-business (OMB) has the challenge of waking up and being 90-100% efficient every single day - and that is just to be able to handle the day-to-day tasks!

    There is no one to pick up the slack if you have a bad day

    The main reason this has been going through my mind is because I've been trying to figure out how to sustain and grow the business and still fit in enough work to be productive enough and grow the cash flow. Obviously this is made much harder by being a startup, and my product being a service - my service in particular.

    Now I'm faced with the challenge of potentially not being physically able to be 100% efficient (glandular fever is viral and you pretty much just need to rest it out, approx 4-8 weeks - for more info look here)

    It is relatively easy to protect against major things like ending up in hospital (income protectors and insurance - difficulty here is getting the level of protection right, cash flow vs. risk), but being out of action, or having reduced effectiveness due to being sick is a bit more difficult.

    So, what do you guys think?
    Last edited by duncan drennan; 20-Aug-07 at 08:20 AM.
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  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Ouch!!! Reading the info in the link, the emphasis seems to be on avoiding physical activity. Hopefully that still leaves some options in your case. Just don't push too hard on the mental gymnastics - let your body tell you what you can and can't do.

    While I was a OMB, illness (and other forms of enforced absence) posed a serious threat. Fortunately I built a small network of other OMB's that could help out at times such as these. I'd help them and they'd help me. The relationship requires a high level of ethical behaviour - I had to pick my network carefully but the right people are out there.

    I'm aware of income protection insurance schemes, but personally I've always considered this threat as an area where I am "self-insured."

    Be honest with clients - they can be very understanding and supportive. Quite often, if there is a relationship and they can wait, they will. And if they need to go elsewhere - be nice about it. That way they'll come back once you're up to strength again.

    There have been a couple of occasions where I've run my business from my bed. It's do-able, and actually can be quite good for quiet reflection too. When life hands you lemons - make lemonade.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  3. #3
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    making lemonade

    One of the potential advantages that I can see is that I can try to enforce a boundary on my working hours. The biggest issue here (as I mentioned in my first post) is effectiveness.

    I've got to take it easy, so I'm trying to put a strict limit on my working hours - no more than 8hrs of work a day (that includes admin, actual work, etc.). The rest is for chilling (and maybe reading this forum )

    Hopefully it will force me to drop some of the bad habits that I've picked up since being self-employed and restructure my day for higher effectiveness. How this works out in reality is yet to be seen (things are quiet right now, but if the project I've quoted on comes through, and some other things pan out I may be scratching my head )
    Last edited by duncan drennan; 19-Oct-06 at 02:15 PM.
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