My Beautiful Laundrette

My Beautiful Laundrette: The ‘joy’ of being your own boss

By Conor Slevin

In a new regular column for Altrincham Today, Conor Slevin, the owner of Altrincham Dry Cleaners, takes a sideways look at life and work in the town. This week: Being your own boss.

I’ve never written a column before and I don’t know what I’m doing.

Mentioning this at the outset avoids awkwardness later on when you realise you could’ve spent these precious internet minutes sharing pictures of salads or laughing yourself unconscious at kittens doing cute stunts.

Blame the publishers of Altrincham Today. They invited me out for coffee and asked me to contribute my ”ranty but not libellous” opinion on life in Altrincham. They admitted that all of the serious columns are already being written by people who actually know what they’re talking about. I guess I could’ve been insulted, but I like coffee and soapboxing in almost equal measures, so I said yes and made them buy me more coffee.

This week’s unresearched and opinionated crankiness focuses on the glamour (LOL) and freedom (*rolls eyes*) of BEING YOUR OWN BOSS HASHTAGirony.

[pullquote align=”right”]It says “Gaffer” on your business card, but you’re answerable to EVERYONE – staff, customers, suppliers, The Revenue, landlords…[/pullquote]Altrincham, not short of an entrepreneur or two, is home to a wide variety of small, owner-managed businesses. “Wow! You’ve got your own business?? You must be ROLLING in it!” Most owner/managers hear that at some point and shake their heads wearily in response.

Sure, we live in one of the wealthiest areas of the UK and there’s plenty of evidence that talent and hard work can pay off bigtime. Aston Martins are popular runabouts (That matt black finish? That was cool the first couple of times we saw it. Let’s have shiny again, please.) and some local houses can be seen from space.

For most, self employment means owning your business and your business owning you. There’s maybe no greater motivation than knowing that if you don’t get up and out more or less every morning you won’t get paid. OK, so it says “Gaffer” on your business card, but you’re answerable to EVERYONE – staff, customers, suppliers, The Revenue, landlords…

You’re front and centre, strategising and directing, hiring and firing, hustling for business, dealing with the occasional crisis and emptying the bins. By the way, who do I need to bribe to have our emptied wheelie bins returned to approximately the same postcode?

I’ve gone off topic, haven’t I?

It’s not easy to make a living in a town like Altrincham which, let’s be honest, isn’t the thriving commercial destination it was. For the record, I’m confident it will be great again. Want a tip? If you want to make serious money around here, be the guy who supplies the “RETAIL PREMISES TO LET” signs. That might be a topic for another day. And for someone who knows what they’re talking about.