Starting a business is nothing short of exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. So is climbing on the back of a Harley-Davidson when you’ve heard motorcycles referred to as “Legalized Homicide” all your life. Here are five connections between these two seemingly dissimilar things.
Business Ownership and Harleys Both Sound Amazing
I swear the sound of a revving Harley evokes my inner wild woman, and I know I’m not alone. I have two girlfriends who can punctuate any motorcycle-related conversation with surprisingly accurate renditions of every possible noise a Harley engine can make. I’ll never forget the first time I rode down the sleepy main street in a neighboring county on the back of my husband’s Street Glide. We set off all the car alarms as we thundered by. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s power. Third gear on a Harley sounds just as fantastic as the pronoun ”my” in front of business, Website, company, store, profit, marketing, or advertising. If you’re one of those stealthy Goldwing riders, I should have saved you the trouble of reading this and told you to skip down to number two.
Oh, the Freedom
Roaring down the road unencumbered by a roof and sidewalls just screams rebellion. Maybe this is why some bikers call car drivers “cagers.” Owning your own business may not be that exhilarating, but it does put you in control of your “cage.” Most small business owners will tell you they work more hours for themselves than they ever put in when they answered to “the man.” No matter, entrepreneurial hours, even if they are well above 60 per week, are yours and yours alone. The hours could be at 3:00 a.m. or 12:30 p.m., the choice is yours. The decisions, the profit, the ideas, and the designs all belong to you. So do the mistakes. This brings us to number three.
It’s All Fun and Games Until Something Flies Up Your Nose.
That annoying, tickly, sting-y feeling in a nostril or down your throat tells you that a full face helmet may not be a bad idea after all. In much the same way, computer crashes, Wi-Fi failures, and other equipment glitches make you wish for your own personal IT division. Whether you’re heading down the road on a Harley or struggling with a problem at your dining room table in your jammies, you learn quickly to just, ahem, suck it up. After all, protein is good, right?
Having something occasionally stuck in your craw is nothing compared to road rash…or worse. Spend five seconds on the back of a Harley, and you quickly realize that a careless driver, a deer, some gravel, or a big mud puddle could spell disaster at 55 miles per hour. Most bike wrecks do not turn out well, although I’ve watched two crashes where the riders limped away virtually unscathed. Small business owners face this level of extreme vulnerability all the time. A stock market dip, a natural disaster, or something as simple as a trend change all cause entrepreneurs to leave skin on the road—or lose everything. Whether you put yourself out there on a Harley or in your own store, you take risks.
The Safety Features
I wear a full face helmet when I ride a Harley. My superstitious husband has a bell on his bike for protection along with a St. Christopher’s Medal. We wear leathers, boots, and gloves. We rarely ride at night when deer and other animals are more active, and we avoid busy thoroughfares whenever possible. Successful entrepreneurs take precautions as well. Some keep and frame the first dollar they make. Others have accounts with safety-net funds or maintain a day job. Hopefully, these safety features will keep the rubber side down should conditions become scary.
In my experience, nothing worthwhile or fun comes without risks. Life is meant to be lived—with some safety nets in place. Should you jump on the Harley? Should you launch your own business? These are huge decisions. Whatever choices you make, don your crash helmet, wear your safety gear, load your account, and lean into all the curves you’ll meet along the way.
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