No matter what you do in life, I guess we all have the same goal: we want to be happy.
You could be a teacher, an entrepreneur, a plumber, a freelancer, it doesn’t matter, we all want to be happy in life.
And so it comes as no surprise that the goal of starting a business should be to make you happy.
Money is not a goal
I’ve already written about this before, but I believe that entrepreneurship is not about money.
If all you want in life is to make money, don’t start a business. First of all, because there are better ways to make money than starting your own business. Plus, you’re not going to be able to grow a business to the point where it makes you lots of money if your only motivation is you want to become rich.
Sure we’ve all heard about people starting a business and becoming filthy rich. But that’s just a minority!
The truth is nobody wants to hear about people who tried starting a business and failed, they’re not sexy, they won’t attract viewers/readers.
At the same time, most people won’t find small business owners sexy either, so you’ll rarely hear about people who are successfully running a small business and supporting their family, but are not multi-millionaires.
So it comes as no surprise that most people think starting a business is the best way to become rich…except it isn’t!
Whatever you do, always choose happiness first
This is quite easy: if something doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it!
If starting a business doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.
If you have a business idea, but you know that’s not what you want to work on, don’t do it.
Starting a business and running it every day takes a lot of effort. It’s really going to test your nerves and put you under a lot of pressure.
So if it’s not something that makes you happy, there’s no way you’re going to make it!
Can you imagine waking up every day to work on your business as it’s just starting out and you know there will be obstacles waiting for you that day, plus you know you get to work on something which is not making you happy?
I want to make an example which is not really business-related, but that will give you the idea: I love writing code, I like to do it even just for the sake of it, indeed there are times where I will write a new app just because I feel like it, not because it’s something I want to sell. And when I code, I’ll often find myself facing difficult problems which I need to solve in code, problems that at times took me weeks to solve, but you know what? I couldn’t wait to work on those problems because coding is something that makes me happy.
And the same applies to business: every business I had in the past made me happy, even the ones that didn’t make me any money. And if they stopped making me happy, I quickly found ways to pivot or close the business altogether.
You have to report to yourself
No matter what you do in life, you can’t lie to yourself.
You might tell others that you’re happy doing what you do, that your business makes you happy, that you’re happy working with the kind of clients you’re working with and so on.
And people listening to you might even believe you, how could they not?
But if what you’re telling everybody isn’t the truth, there’s one person who’ll always be able to tell: that’s you.
I don’t want to sound spiritual or new age, but really you can’t lie to yourself. And when you do try to lie to yourself, you’re in for a big pile of misery!
What can a big bank account do if you’re not happy? Will a nicer car make you happier? will a bigger house make you happier?
Maybe, but probably just for a few days and when the thrill of making a big purchase ends what are you going to do? Work some more on the business which doesn’t make you happy so that you can make more money to spend on more things which don’t make you happy?
To me, this is common sense, but I see so many people chasing money as their ultimate goal, and while they may end up rich, I doubt they’ll be any happier than when they began.
Smaller makes happier
I already told you to not read the news. I don’t want you to read stupid stories made up by mediocre journalists. And if you want to start a business, I don’t want you to read about the latest prodigy who turn an idea into a billion dollar company.
First of all, because those are anomalies and I mean it in a good way. What Mark Zuckerberg did is phenomenal, same with Elon Musk, and Google? Wow!
But the problem is their stories are much less linear than the media would like you to believe.
Also, they might be a lot less crystal clear.
I don’t want you to believe that you either get to a billion or else you’re a failure. Because that’s not true.
Getting to a billion is astonishing, but as I said it’s an anomaly.
What’s really great is bootstrapping a business, without other people’s money, no VCs, no bullshit. Just you and your business. Growing it one client at a time, one employee at a time. Listening to your customers, treating your employees as best as you can. And ultimately growing that business to a point where you’re happy with it, maybe it’s still relatively small, but you’re happy.
You are happy, your family is happy, your employees are happy, your customers are happy.
Could you use more money? Sure, but at the expense of happiness? Nope!
Do you want to start a business?
In my career, I started more than 10 businesses, some where great, others not so much and a couple of them failed hard. At 23 I was nominated by BusinessWeek as one of Europe's Best Young Entrepreneurs. It was and still is a great ride and I want to share everything that I learned with you.
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