It’s such an honor to have Erik Wesner on Amish Crossings. His website, Amish America www.amishamerica.com is considered one of the most reliable sources to learn more about the Amish. But I’m not the only one saying that. American Experience, the PBS documentary show, has a link to his website for further reading after watching their film, The Amish. He's also contributed to Amish-themed articles for Time Magazine, CNNMoney.com, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Washington Post, and numerous other media. OK, it's obvious I'm honored to have him on my blog!
Erik’s book, Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive is based on 60 interviews with Amish businesses. I found the book fascinating. Let’s jump into the interview.
Erik, from all you've learned from the Amish and share in your book, Success made Simple, what advice do you have for people who want to start a business in 2012?
Let me just share a few ideas commonly seen with Amish that may fit to the present circumstances. One is that many Amish don’t dive in without a backup plan. A lot of the entrepreneurs I spoke with started businesses as “sidelines”—a furniture-making business done in extra hours after a main job, for instance. This allowed them to build the business up while keeping the security of a main job. I think this is particularly relevant in the current economic climate.
I hear starting a small business takes all your time and money. Is that true for the Amish?