Anyone can start a business, but only a few can sustain one. That’s the premise of Paul. E. Casey’s new book, Is Self-Employment for You?

Casey Communications Inc., the company he founded in Seattle in 1988, is still going strong. He attributes his success in selling and placing broadcast and print advertising to hard work, continuous “cold calls,” and “street smarts.” In his book, he shares some of the mistakes those in business for themselves make, and discusses how those pitfalls can be avoided.

It’s not the business plan that dictates whether you will be successful, but rather your experience—particularly life experiences, Casey contends. Some of his theories are “radically different” from conventional wisdom. For example, many businesses fail because they have too much money. He learned the hard way that the customer is not always right. A client once left him with an unpaid bill of $10,000 on a transaction. To stay afloat he had to move out of his four-bedroom home. Working on his own for 15 years taught him that competitors can be your best friends. And failure can be a friend, too.

Casey suggests that prospects for success as an entrepreneur will be determined before you even get a business license. Business mindset and personal lifestyle decisions must be strong considerations first. He devotes a full chapter to the downside of forming a partnership. Why double your expenses and reap only half of the rewards?

Some entrepreneurs take the plunge for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time. Casey addresses both. He talks about location, keeping overhead low, hiring “free agents” for certain tasks, learning to delegate, and trouble signs. He also offers seven steps that should be considered by those thinking about creating their own business.

Casey leaves little to chance—from organizational skills to telephone etiquette and effective business cards. “Getting the name of your business right is the most important decision that you will every make,” Casey says.

He adds, “Knowledge is power. The more you know about the way things really work in the world of self-employment, the better prepared you will be to face what lies ahead.”


Casey, a 1975 Washington State University graduate in political science, was a two-term ASWSU president in 1973-74 and 1974-75.


Paul E. Casey ’75
Hara Publishing Group
Seattle, WA