I had something really interesting happen to me on Friday. Another test in my new thinking, this one went something like this:
I reached out to a fellow tour guide, someone I don't know but one of the only people I could find who was an independent tour guide. I asked him some questions about the legalities of running a tour business and what he needed to do with the city, etc. He responded pretty quickly and to my surprise and horror gave me a list of things he needed to do to keep his company legal (he uses bikes on his tour, fyi).
I'll admit it, it scared me. I got all frustrated and annoyed. He told me I probably wouldn't be able to start my tours at the end of November, that all of this took a long time, blah blah. I can't even tell you all how close I was to just saying "I can't do this, it's too much work, it's not worth it if I can't start when I want, yadda yadda." I really shut down.
And then you know what I did right? I sat down and thought about it for about 5 seconds. I decided that maybe I should take his advice but also find out for myself. His business is not the same as mine, why am I taking his word on such faith? And I did what normal, healthy people do, I called to find out the answers for myself.
I called the Department of Business for Chicago. I talked to a lovely woman on the phone who told me I need a "home occupation license," so that I could work out of my home. The license is a pretty penny, but I've figured my own way around that. Then I called the Alderman for the Loop and talked to a few people from his office. Everyone seemed a bit confused because I think wanting to give tours is a strange thing, but the final guy I got was so nice and kind of excited for me. He told me there's nothing else I need except my license and he even had me fill out a form so if something comes up he has a record of me trying to do it all legal-like. Since I don't have bikes or anything, it's much easier for me.
So wow, I have to do one thing with the city, my license should only take a few days to come through (even same day if I go wait down there, which I might) so really, it's as easy as pie for me to be legal and start my first tour Nov. 30th.
It shocked me though, how quickly my brain went to "give up, too hard, too much work" when in all reality it was almost no work at all.
My website and twitter links will be up soon for the new biz, trust me, you all will be the first to know!