About ten years ago, I was contemplating buying the business I had been working at for the previous four and a half years. I had never owned a business. I had never run a business. I had never taken any business classes in high school or college.
The price of the business was more than twice my annual salary. I had two small children and a third on the way. My wife and I already had a mortgage on our house. Buying the business would be like adding a second mortgage.
I talked to several people I trusted. I got lots of advice. But the most important piece of advice came from a most unlikely source: the sitcom Modern Family.
Jay Pritchett's Business Advice
"I've been offered a partnership in a new agency," says realtor Phil Dunphy to his small-business owning father-in-law, Jay Pritchett.
"Good for you!" Jay beams.
"I'm not so sure," counters Phil. "I mean, there's a big upside. But I have a stable job right now."
Jay hears the concern in Phil's voice. He sits down next to him on the front step and speaks plainly with him. "I think that there's only really one question," Jay begins.
Phil interrupts, "Whether I'm ready to run my own company?"
"Nah," Jay dismisses the question. "You're great with people. We know you're a good salesman. You've managed to provide a good living in tough times."
"Then what?" Phil presses. "Is this the right time?"
Again, Jay dismisses the question. "Never a perfect time. House could burn down tomorrow." Jay then gets to the heart of the matter. "Question is: do you want this?"
"Yeah," Phil nods. "Yeah, I really want it."
"Then gamble on yourself."
Jay pauses to let the words sink in before delivering one final note of encouragement, "I'd gamble on you."