Did you ever think of setting up your own business, only to be struck by the limitation that I’m not a builder or a tradesperson? It’s an ironic situation whereby most construction professionals end up working for tradespeople. Yet most construction professionals are often held back from setting up their own business because of fears that they are not a tradesperson or a builder themselves. The implication being that they do not have the technical ability to physically do or manage the works themselves.
I have got five reasons why most construction professionals never set up their own business because of this limiting belief that they have to be a tradesperson or a builder in order to do so:-
- Construction Professionals tend to over complicate what is involved in setting up a business. I’ve written posts about this so check it out if you are interested.
- We think we have to do the work ourselves, typically most trades people start as a carpenter, become a foreman then set up their own subcontracting business and yes initially they run the tools themselves but very quickly most of them evolve to a point where they are hiring people particularly Construction Professionals to run their business. So, it’s complete fallacy that you have to do the work yourself, you have to manage other people to do the works.
- We worry that we won’t have the credibility to manage trades. This is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. If you develop expertise in any specific area trades will have massive respect for you, which I will teach you shortly.
- We worry that we don’t have what it takes. Ultimately, that’s the big thing that holds most construction professionals back from setting up their own businesses. They have this inner voice that’s telling them they are not enough. Whereas tradespeople seem to just take massive action and get the results that, that deserves.
- So, what is the reality for most Construction Professionals? Well a lot of us, were stuck or are still stuck in jobs that we don’t like.
- Working for companies where often we think things could be done better, and the irony is we often think that the higher up the ladder we go the more we will enjoy our jobs but, the reality is often not the case in fact quite the opposite.
In my case, I really enjoyed being in projects as a Project Surveyor, even as a Commercial Manager, I was getting involved in the cut and thrust of the project and got the buzz out of working with the team and plotting and scheming as a Quantity Surveyor to make money on projects. But I found as I became Commercial Director, the more higher up the ladder I went, the more remote I was from the enjoyment and action of the projects and the more I spent my time writing reports, sitting in meetings, dealing with office politics, dealing with the inertia that you find at the top of a large organisation.
Frankly, reaching the top of the corporate ladder just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.
The solution for me was to set up a Specialist Contracting Business. In my business we focus on building affordable housing in Africa using a specialist lightweight shutter aluminium shutter.
Why did I choose to set up a specialist business and what is a specialist business? Well, a Specialist Business is one that focusses on one specific thing; In my case, the company that I co – own and manage makes affordable housing using a special light weight aluminium shutter. We erect a shutter set, specially made for a certain house type, then we cast the houses with ready-mix concrete, the houses are then manufactured in solid concrete.
This gives us the ability, with every shutter set that we have, to produce one house a day. We ONLY focus on housing. We build nothing else. We are a specialist.
But a specialist business could be as simple as a plumbing business, and industrial roofing business, a specialist flooring business you name it. It must be focused primarily on one core activity.
Why would this be a better way to go for a Construction Professional to go, if he/she was thinking of setting up their own business. Well, a specialist business…
- Is easier to set up, there are far fewer moving parts in a Specialist Contracting Business because you are focused on one thing. This gives you the ability to really get clear on the type of organisation, people, process and structures you need to run that business.
- Secondly, they involve much less working capital, I often say it but it’s true that a Specialist Contracting Business can be set up for less the price of an average family car.
- Thirdly, you can become an expert in your chosen subject very, very quickly.
- Fourthly, a specialist business is easy to process, so you can quickly get to a point where the business runs like clockwork
10,000 Hours and Total Immersion – The Key To Becoming An Expert In Record Time
So, let me tell you about my own experience. For years I was like you are now, potentially held back by the belief that I needed to be a builder or a tradesperson to set up my own company. Before I developed the courage to set up my own business, I was constantly holding myself back. At this point I already had the idea to set up a business to manufacture houses in solid concrete, but I was holding myself back, because I wasn’t a “builder”.
Then, I read the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. In the book, Malcom Gladwell talked about “The 10 000 Hours concept.” What he said is that, if any person has spent 10 000 focused hours on a particular field, they have developed expertise in that area. I reflected on my own career and at that stage I had well in excess of 10 000 hrs and most likely 25 000 hours and yet, here I was thinking that I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t an expert and I realised how untrue that, that self-statement was.
Next step was shortly after reading 10 000hrs I read a blog by the author Tim Ferriss based on Total Immersion. Total Immersion is a principle where if you want to learn any skill, be it a language, to swim anything whatsoever. You immerse yourself totally and completely in that chosen topic for a period of 7 days until very quickly you reach a point of proficiency or even expertise in that topic. So I decided at that stage to go deep on learning about manufacturing houses with the aluminium shutter system. By the way this was prior to me setting up my own business.
I literally locked myself away in a room for a week. I wanted to become as proficient as I possibly could in understanding how to construct concrete structures with the light weight aluminium forms. I studied everything about our system, I got on every website, I read every report, I read every blog, I spoke to every supplier, I literally interrogated everybody I could speak to about this. And guess what something almost magical happened. I went from the position of knowing very little about how to construct efficiently with lightweight aluminium forms to within a week having a deep level of expertise about the shattering system.
And that, was within seven days. Within seven days I was able to give you production outputs, quality control issues, who the suppliers were, what the concrete mix designs should be and, and , and on and on and on. Information that I was completely unaware of a week previously. I was now in the top 1% of the 1% of experts in construction with light weight aluminium forms in the world.
People Respect Expertise
With this expertise that I have gained in constructing with lightweight aluminium forms, I have been able to:-
- Sign up exclusive distribution rights with the supplier of aluminium forms for Africa.
- Take in millions of dollars of investments.
- Hire great team members.
- Get the respect of trades and subbies.
- Win substantial amounts of work from clients who are completely sold on our system and frankly in mine and our team’s understanding of how to construct with lightweight aluminium forms.
So if you have ever thought of setting up your own business be it a construction business or we advocate a Specialist Contracting Business, I would really urge you not to limit yourself by telling yourself that you cannot do it because you are not a tradesperson or a builder. If you are interested in learning how you can set up your own Specialist Contracting Business, just simply click on the link and you can download our free guide.