Entrepreneurship - Are You In It For The Love Or The Money?
Why are you a start-up entrepreneur or thinking about becoming one?
In life, we often hear about those that are impressed by the material things. They believe that money will buy friends, contacts, and prestige.
As Will Rogers said, ‘Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.’
And that’s often the case.
Consumer debt is ugly and is increasing in Britain, in Europe, in America. It’s eating away at our quality of life.
We hear about the lottery winners who have squandered their fortunes within months and are now living dismal lives. Or the risk takers who have put all their savings into starting a business that was never ever going to work because of poor planning and cash flow from the beginning.
Money can lead to happiness, there is no doubt… Enough buys us a life of security but too much may lead us into unknown territories where the genuine reasons we are here on this planet often lead to self introspection and greed whilst too little may lead us on a journey to lack and resentment.
Money regurgitates and re-energizes within our universe, but it does so much quicker if we give out as much as we take in. And, in business, that is sometimes difficult to understand, but so very crucial.
Many would-be entrepreneurs begin a business journey as a ‘quick fix.’ They are in debt or have so much stress in their work environment that they ‘see no other way out.’ There are many other ‘risky’ reasons. We may say to ourselves:
‘Entrepreneurs are rich. I want to be one.’
‘I want to be famous, a business celebrity.’
‘I want to change the world. Leave a legacy.’
‘I’ll never make enough by working for someone else.’
‘I want to make more money for less work.’
‘I want the flexibility to work where and when I want.’
‘I want to be my own boss.’
The reality is very different. Yes, a small percentage of entrepreneurs hit the success button at the business start-up phase. There is always the ‘one offs.’ But most entrepreneurs have reached success after years, even decades of hard work and perseverance. However, we now live in an age, through the internet and social media, where we can learn from those whose businesses have become successes, after months or decades. There are things we can learn from ‘the masters’ from the outset that will catapult us into the success category quicker than was possible years ago.
And the first of these is to take a reality check!
We hear from the winners like Walt Disney, ‘Disneyland is a world of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.’
Winning entrepreneurs are those who know that we bear the best businesses out of a genuine need in the marketplace, combined with a genuine desire to be in it for the right reasons - they love what they do, and success is a life that contributes to other people’s happiness. It’s about a vision, a desire to help people with their entrepreneurial gift.
But it goes deeper than this philosophical approach. It extends into the everyday activities you will encounter along the entrepreneurial journey… Understand these and you will decide if the life of an entrepreneur is for you:
Understand that many start-up businesses take one to three years to even make a profit. You will sometimes have a steady income, sometimes not, especially at the start-up phase. Budget at the outset, start with some ‘money in the bank’ for contingencies. If you run out of money, you will fail. Customize a steady cash flow. Finalize a financial plan.
If having paid time off is important to you, think again about a start-up. It’s simple, in theory, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. No paid holiday and ill health benefits. Budget insurance policies into your financial plan.
And taxes? Learn all about them. Study them. Their rules are always changing. Know the tax advantages and disadvantages of each tax for your business. Your knowledge will pay off!
- Opportunity and Vision
You recognise an opportunity and vision?
Ensure these are backed by research and testing before launch. Sometimes what we predict customers will buy is not always reality.
Don’t exaggerate your business’s value.
Take the conservative approach.
When your research and test results show that, you have a unique idea/prototype that will add value to your target audience, then take the journey.
- Motivation and Communication
Re-think a business start-up if you are not an ‘action taker.’ A successful entrepreneur equates to a person with self motivation and the initiative for task completion.
Develop the confidence and motivation to drive your business forward from day one. As a business owner, your employees and stakeholders will follow your vision. You need to master one-on-one communication through group communications, written and in person.
Don’t fear failure because you may fail many times. But, never give up. Persist through trial and error. Fall down once, twice, ten times, get up stronger! Emotional resiliency is mandatory! Failure is only a lesson, feedback that helps us to grow and improve in the future.
There is no doubt about it, there will be stressful times - income security, hiring employees, learning new skills, developing policies, confirming sales, ‘going without…’
An entrepreneur’s life can be overwhelming and lonely. Plan for the stressful times - meditate, plan your time schedules, exercise regularly.
And think about the other things that cause you stress. Are you a perfectionist? You will never have time to 100% finesse your product or service and will often ‘have to just go with it!’
And, do you have thick skin? You will receive criticism. People may tell you why you won’t make it, why you are crazy for quitting your job, you are a dreamer. Handle the comments that people throw at you!
Always think forwards, be adaptable to change and find better ways to do things. You should review your initial start-up business plan monthly and make ad hoc changes in line with what has been happening in the business, for example, high or low sales turnover. Always plan ahead so that there are no hidden surprises! Planning is an essential part of an entrepreneurial journey. Everyone who wants to be a successful entrepreneur must master this skill and develop great planning habits. Planning creates reality, builds your world.
There are many reasons people become entrepreneurs - the pursuit of glamorous lifestyles, a quick fix to personal problems or to achieve happiness.
The reality, however, is very different. Most entrepreneurs have reached success after years, even decades of hard work and perseverance.
It’s wonderful starting up a business and living the life of an entrepreneur, for those that not only have dreams, visions and aspirations, but those that plan to embark on the journey with the realization of hard work and perseverance.
The pursuit of a meaningful business and life, a productive one, may just be one that contributes to other peoples’ lives, one less about consumerism and instant gratification and more about creativity, work ethics and making heartfelt decisions.
And it goes beyond the philosophical. It extends into everyday activities - mastering the finances, opportunities and visions, motivations and communications, failures, stresses and planning.
Success, whatever that may mean to you, will follow on from the level of love you have for your business.
As Wayne Dyer said, ‘Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.’