Oct 032015

For the past few months I’ve been giving a lot of thought about doing something else career wise (and by now I feel like I’m starting every other blog post with these words :-) ): Starting up my own company (technically, I already have my own company, but as the actual work I’m doing hardly changed, it doesn’t feel “real” enough).

How can you ever win if you never roll the dice?!

How can you ever win if you never roll the dice?!

Doing something (anything!) new however is scary! And us human beings have been firmly programmed to run away from scary things. Luckily we’ve also been given the power of thought, which once and awhile helps in beating the monster-of-scariness.

On a slightly more rational level, this is about risk and rewards. Specifically, do the latter weigh up to the former?

Working as a risk manager you learn a bit about weighing these two against each other. And one tool that can help is scenario thinking: What is the expected (most likely) outcome? What is a bad outcome? And a good one?

So here goes:
Most likely outcome: I spend a number of months working on my ideas. It doesn’t fail, but it never gets off of the ground either. At the end I am left with basically what I started out with (money wise). I’ll however be a whole lot of experience richer!
Plausible bad outcome:: I spend a number of months working on my idea but it just never lifts off, which I recognize on time. At the end I’ve lost a decent amount of my savings, but I’ll still be the experience wiser.

Actual worst case scenario: Getting my business hijacked by the Chinese mafia who use it for money-laundering purposes and me taking the fall for the American justice system when they are finally found out, letting me rot away the rest of my life in a 2-by-3 cell with a not-so-friendly room mate named Bubba…
”Worst” case: (Things can always get worse, so this is more of a “bad, but still within the realm of possibility) – Things seem to work out, but never really quite do. I keep doggedly at it, believing that “next month” things will turn around. I blow all my savings on this and make a number of promises I can’t actually keep. There is still the incredible learning experience.
Plausible good outcome: Things work out, but not spectacularly so. I make a decent amount of money and gain valuable experience.
”Best” case: Things go amazingly well, the product is a big hit and people are queing up to get their (grubby!) hands on it. I never have to work again (I’d get bored, but that’s another story). Oh and experience of course.

Losing all of my savings would make me feel very vulnerable (and stupid!). One way of avoiding this would be: Know when to stop, when to pull out. So a big part of it would be to set a max amount I’m willing to spend on this. And then stick to it. Which will be extremely difficult if the feeling is you’re this close… Still, good to think about this. And even if it does manifest, I’m sure I would survive

Blowing through some of my savings would suck, but I’d get over it (what are savings for anyway?). You could even say it would be tuition for a class that you couldn’t possibly get from going to school… So with some mental jiu-jitsu, I could even say this option was “neutral”.

The possibilities after that just get better…

So are the rewards worth the risk? At this point I’d say “yes”…

To be continued…

Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

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