Earlier this month, Forbes ran a blog post that delivered advice for young entrepreneurs. As with many advice articles aimed at beginners, there are great reminders for the seasoned. The article, providing the five mistakes most commonly made by young entrepreneurs, doesn’t translate well to farriery, although what says entrepreneur more than starting a new business from nothing?
The one lesson from this article that will register with farriers is the failure to maintain focus. I’m sure attention migrating from established goals has ruined more than one farrier practice. Buried within this section is a more resonate mistake: the reluctance to ask others for help or insight. In my opinion, this isolationism is a far more common mistake made by farriers.
The article’s author, Michael Matousek, adds:
“There’s also no shame in asking for help or advice. You should always be willing to learn from those who have a type of expertise that you might lack.”
The subject of mistakes has been on my mind recently. The May/June issue of AFJ features a story about the day I spent with Minnesota farrier Mark Thorkildson. Like every farrier, his early career featured some horses that were tough and dangerous to work with. He would fight through it, eventually getting the job done. But as he points out, nobody really won. He made a few bucks trimming the horse, but at what cost? Your career and well-being is never a wise gamble against the money you’ll make from working with a difficult horse.
Furthermore, Thorkildson says that the horse loses out too in this scenario because it didn’t receive the best job by the farrier. A rushed and anxious job never provides the depth of attention each case deserves.
Mistakes are experiences to learn from. However, this is a particularly difficult lesson. The young are often headstrong or feel that they have something to prove. Refusing to work with the horse unless it is tranquilized or turning down the job altogether are, in the mind of some youth, a sign of weakness. As farriers mature, they will learn otherwise — hopefully before it is too late.
What are the five most common mistakes that farriers make early in their careers? Other than the two mistakes made here, what would you add to the list of mistakes that farriers can make? Post them in the comments below.