You think that running a business will increase your sleep, increase your wealth and generally make your life happier and full of love and light.
Then you get into it, and suddenly you realise – running a business is hard.
So it should come as no surprise that many people end up quitting before their business even has the time to get established.
“Not me!” you say.
“I’m going to go all the way!”
Yet, in the face of the daunting challenges that come from starting your own business, it’s critical to be clear WHY you started in the first place; because the wrong “WHY” can be harmful to your chances of success:
Why #1. I WANT TO BE FREE!
Freedom is fleeting.
Done. That was easy, on to point number 2.
(I’m kidding, but there is a great deal of truth to this.)
When a business person says they want freedom, the freedom they really mean is having more than enough money to pursue their interests without worry.
However, if you want to go into business for this kind of freedom, it’s not a good idea. All you’d end up doing is trading responsibility for delivering your work for the responsibility of paying rent and salaries.
Deadlines don’t go away when the business is yours, they just grow in importance and you trade in a boss you report to for a boss that pays you directly – in the form of a client.
That said, business people who make it through the “honeymoon” period that comes from quitting and beginning a start-up, and then move into a business that is in full swing, will tell you that committing to making things work creates a clarity of action that is freeing and allows creativity to shine.
It isn’t all rainbows and smiles, but it does have a satisfying way of making everything clearer; and good business people relish the joy of finding solutions that come from this deep level of commitment.
For those people who want freedom, look instead at what you would do with that freedom. Create a clear vision of it, make it detailed and visual. This dream is what the “freedom” of business is about and when you hit a wall it will keep you from running away from the pain to the pleasure of your daydreams.
Why #2. I WANT TO PROVE THEM WRONG!
Fixing the Past is Toxic, but unfortunately many people become attached to this as a motivating factor.
Certain types of business owners are sadists. I don’t mean toward their employees, but rather toward themselves. They love to experience the torture that comes from focusing on the “naysayers” in their lives. It comes from this subconscious need to prove wrong, anyone who ever defeated them, degraded them or insulted them.
These people get into business to prove people wrong and are constantly looking for people to conquer. It always ends up being more about proving than it does about creating any kind of joy or positive experience. The issue with this motivation is that once enough is done to feel some level of success, the motivation seems to disappear and people end up losing their momentum and get stuck. Once it’s removed, then what next?
What serves these character types more is to connect with what the kind of life they want to create for themselves once they have achieved success. When the target is great enough and means enough to them, it will shift them away from the past and the pain that exists and turn their attention to the future.
Why #3. I WANT A BIT MORE (INSERT ITEM)
We have all heard that person who says, I want to make more money, or I want more time. I just want to have a bit more freedom. It doesn’t matter what they want, its likely that they will never have enough because they never seem to get what they want despite how hard they work.
Business owners spend lots of time, money and effort to understand their products, their target markets and the mechanics of their business. Many of these owners start by setting goals for the first, maybe the second year, and then they get to work.
In no time, as they get to work, fires start popping up and suddenly all they seem to be doing is putting them out or resolving issue after issue. It seems to be a movement from one short term objective to the next.
When they have to concentrate on just keeping their heads down and focus on getting sales, they often lose motivation and find themselves wanting to quit. This usually comes from the fact that the vision they created for themselves is too small, or forgotten – and sometimes worse, not the right one for them.
It is never a bad idea to take a good look at your business and see if it could use some work. Keeping your goal big, a little scary and challenging can evoke a powerful drive that overcomes the doubt when things get tough. It takes the business away from filling the small pockets of desire and move it toward something bigger that requires sustained commitment and effort.
Business can be challenging and full of unknown variables and unexpected issues. Overcome these key “WHYs”, and you’ll have a much smoother journey.