My dad taught me some solid life lessons: always carry cash, make lemonade out of lemons -- and always bet on black. Wait, I think that last one was Wesley Snipes in "Passenger 57." As much as riding shotgun while he conducted rounds as a manufacturer rep for commercial restaurant products totally prepared me for life as a self-employed writer and branding professional, there are some lessons you need to figure out on your own. Here are a few...
1) For the first time since grade school, you have to buy your own pens.
And folders, paper, coffee, staples, stamps, toilet paper, ketchup packets and butter. Anything you used to find in the trusty supply closet or community fridge. Plus, because you can no longer steal these crucial items from work for home use, you need to double down on your purchases. The lesson: if you have entrepreneurial dreams, start hoarding items today and build up a surplus. And claim these on your taxes -- totally, totally legit.
2) Maury Povich's mid-morning televised paternity tests are the siren song of the weak and unmotivated.
Even when the TV is off, I can almost hear... "You are NOT the father," followed by high-fives and sobbing. It's not as calming as my Enya or whale sounds CD white noise, but sometimes you need a little Maury as your muse.
3) It's 5 o'clock somewhere. It's also 4:15 a.m. here -- and there is a deadline to meet sans boat drinks.
If you've ever been jealous of the self-employed because they get to go to Target and the post office during the slow times, realize that the flipside is buying that time back on the weekend, early morning or late night. I desperately need to find a solid third-shift bar outside a large manufacturing facility.
Check back next week, when I explore the sociopathic behavior of the entrepreneurs I share a Wifi connection with at Panera.
Mike Ward is the Founder and Chief Brand Driver for Milepost 0 Creative. In other words, he's the only employee. Mike likes helping companies tell stories - or fables, as Aesop called them - as well as reminiscing on his days as a failed stand-up comic, semi-successful movie critic, and cheering for losing sports teams (Go Bills!).