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Nobody Does Accounting in their Underwear

One of my favorite movies is “The Italian Job.” If you haven’t seen it, then…well, I can’t even think of anything to say. You just need to see it. There’s a scene in the movie where Charlize Theron is trying to crack a safe in her underwear. I was watching the movie last weekend, and Meghan walked in the room and said “Why is she doing that in her underwear? No one does that.”

I had a meeting today with an entrepreneur who is struggling with a successful first hire. He’s had some bad luck with a couple of folks, neither of whom stayed with him, and we were talking through his challenges. As we moved on to other topics, we kept finding ourselves saying things like “Well, I guess we’ll never do that again, huh?” and “It only takes one time and you’re burned,” when referring to things that happen in new companies that you never expect.

Starting a new business has a deceptive quality about it. Every single person that starts one comes in and says, about something, “Man, that is harder than I ever thought it would be.” There are no guidebooks. There are no manuals. There are tons of books out there, but not one of them would prepare you fully for what it feels like, in your gut, to own and operate your own small business. All the movies show is the cool stuff; the books sometimes talk about the hard things, but they always end victoriously; and when you do hear about failure, it’s so glamorized and overblown, it sounds exciting. My client is not rejoicing in the turmoil currently swirling about him because of his hiring challenges. He is sweating and looking for answers, because he needs someone to help him but is struggling with being able to afford the right person. You’ve been there, right? I know I have.

Just like no one cracks a safe in real life while sitting in their sexy underwear, running a small business isn't always glamorous and exciting. And that’s why we enjoy working with our Start-Up School clients so much. We’ve seen it; we’ve done it in most cases; and we’ve all experienced the same heartburn. There’s safety in numbers, my friends.

So, to all my entrepreneurial friends…when you see that scene in “The Italian Job,” remember that I said it first. No one does accounting in their underwear.

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