By Ed “Skip” McLaughlin

You can’t wait to start your own business. Yet, fear of failure continues to hold you back from venturing out on your own. Here’s what you need: The Big 3!


A strong support system means your significant other is equally committed to your business vision. This takes time and in-depth discussion to figure out. If your partner is pressing you to spend time together away from the business, you may have the prescription for failure. A business is like a child that needs constant love, nurturing and time. It usually takes total focus to make a business successful – particularly in the first few years.

My wife, Barbara, was born on a farm in Arkansas. Her father ran a truck stop before he became a farmer. There were no frills and constantly working to make ends meet was the norm. Barbara understood my need to focus on building the business from the get-go. She never pressed me to come home, and always understood when I was away.


A willingness to sacrifice means that you will give up things that you like the most in exchange for ensuring the realization of your business vision. This sounds easy on the surface, but long-term sacrifice is painful and giving up creature comforts is hard to do – especially when it involves your significant other. Sacrificing for business success can be the equivalent of going on a multi-year diet. It is not easy, but the rewards can be great.

Barbara and I had been saving to buy a home. We needed more space for our two young children. Instead, we agreed to take the down payment and invest it in the business. In so doing, we moved our family of four out of a rental home with three bedrooms and into a rental cottage that was half the size with two bedrooms. We called it the house behind the house. We lived there for four years during the liftoff phase.


A powerful work ethic means you are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed – even literally working past midnight 7 days a week. Are you willing to push down expenses by sharing everything, including hotel rooms? Are you willing to fly to meet with customers and suppliers on a moment’s notice only to take a red-eye home and go straight into the office and work past midnight to get the proposal out? My business partners and I prided ourselves on out-working, out-thinking, and out-innovating the competition. Early on, we knew that maintaining our first-mover advantage hinged on our work ethic.