As an Internet lawyer, I look for lessons in the offline world that can be applied to your online business.
Today’s lesson is about an idiotpreneur profiled in a national newspaper as if she had done something smart.
Ms. Idiotpreneur’s business was going down the toilet. Blaming it on the economy, there were telltale signs throughout the article that the real problem was Ms. Idiotpreneur.
To cut expenses, she traded in her Mercedes for a “simpler” BMW. That’s denial.
Rather than collecting up front for her services or cutting off deadbeats, Ms. Idiotpreneur let 20 percent of her clients receive services and stiff her on the bills.
But what qualified this small business owner for the title “Idiotpreneur” was that she fired herself from her business, giving up her income from her own company, so that her 8 employees could keep their jobs! She took a job elsewhere earning a lot less so that her employees could suck her business dry.
The newspaper tried to spin this as something wonderful. You don’t need to be an Internet lawyer to understand how stupid her actions were.
Your online business is not a charity. It should deliver value to your clients. However, its primary reason for existence is to serve your needs by making a profit. Employees should be treated fairly but they are not “stakeholders” entitled to loot all the profits at your expense.
Downsizing yourself first to serve their needs is idiotpreneurship. And you can be sure that misplaced loyalty would not be reciprocated. If Ms. Idiopreneur had asked each employee to take a pay cut so she could still draw a salary for running the business, most would have quit without losing any sleep over the decision.
If your business becomes a cash cow for everyone except yourself, you have an expensive hobby that robs you of money and irreplaceable time.
To your online success!
-Mike the Internet lawyer
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