Success is not something you achieve. It’s something you already are. Inside.
There are many reasons for starting up a business of your own. But contrary to popular belief, being in business is not about making as much money as you possibly can.
In “What Matters Most is Your Why“, I explained that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And I shared that I created SMARTSTART programs for one simple reason:
I believe everyone deserves to be able to make enough money from their chosen work to provide for their personal and family needs, at whatever level desired.
Sadly, many business owners are not experiencing results that come even remotely close to allowing them to do that. This, despite working harder than they ever have before and having spent obscene amounts of money, often money they didn’t have or couldn’t afford to spend, on conferences and training to help them build successful online businesses. Indeed, some clients have shared the most heartbreaking stories ever.
I want to help change that. Because I know what is possible, having done it myself multiple times.
A business is an holistic entity. You need to understand that first and foremost. If you focus on only one element, say for example your website or marketing strategy, at the expense of ignoring the rest, it just doesn’t work.
However, the more important reason for being 100% clear on your why is running your own business has a tendency to take up your life. Often your whole life, especially in the early years and in times of growth, expansion and decline.
We must radiate success before it will come to us. We must first become mentally, from an attitude standpoint, the people we wish to become.” –Earl Nightingale
Now there are many things that can bring you to make this decision, to build a business of your own, for your life. Perhaps you have a killer idea for a new product or service. Fantastic! (We’d love to help you with that.)
But before you put your life and life savings on the line for it, you need to take a hard look at a few things. Such as:
- is your idea likely to be contagious?
- is there are market for it?
- is that market large enough and hungry enough for you to create a sustainable income from this idea?
- if there is a market gap you can fill, can you come up with at least 5 unique selling propositions for your idea?
- is there anyone else doing what you intend? (If so, can you go ahead without infringing on their legal rights?)
- is your idea financially viable?
If you’ve done all that research, and remain committed to your killer idea, do you have a deep belief in it?
It’s important to understand that, no matter how much passion and enthusiasm you have going in, you’re going to be working harder than you ever dreamed possible. It’s not going to be all fun and games. There’s a lot of grunt work that must also be undertaken. And a lot of disappointment, criticism, and rejection to weather. Are you sure your belief in yourself can sustain you through it?
You still must do extensive market research to confirm your belief in your why is transferable to others who will be willing and able to pay for your product or service. You’re likely to know your target market better if you know your field well. And the better you know your target market, the more likely it is your marketing efforts will succeed. However, there are truly no guarantees other than your product or service is not for everyone. If you don’t believe that inalienable fact, work on overcoming it now. You’ll save a lot of money and heartache that way.
I know many of you start a business because you want to be your own boss. However attractive this idea is to you, for your own sake you must let it go. The added responsibilities you’re taking on by having your own business are taxing. In reality, you no longer have one boss, you now have many. Each with a different (and often competing) agenda!
Possibly you’ve decided to start a business of your own out of necessity. I get that. Many do. The recession has left millions of people unemployed and unable to find work. Retirement isn’t what it used to be. Maybe you followed one path right out of university only to discover your calling lay elsewhere. All very good reasons to go out on your own.
Just don’t spend too much money on a business you’re not going to stick with for the long term because the business lifecycle is such that it’s going to take you several years to make that money back.
And, if this is a business you plan to stick with for life, all the more reason to do things properly from the beginning. You’ll also learn a lot more than if you take a haphazard approach to moving forward with your plans. Not to mention that the challenge of learning and mastering new skills will be a lot more enjoyable for you.
You may have noticed I didn’t mention you can make a million dollars at the press of a button. It’s not that making a lot of money from your business is impossible. It isn’t. But if that’s your primary why — the main reason you are doing it (or worse, your sole intention for starting a business) — you’re not likely to experience it. Instead, you’ll be less inclined to persevere when the going gets tough. And it will.
So when I suggest drilling deeper into your why, what I’m really asking you to do is be honest with yourself about what you expect in return for your commitment to your business.
Believe it or not, the clearer you are on this, the easier it will be to come up with the products and services that are right for you to create. And the easier it will be to know exactly how to go about creating them.
Start today by making a checklist of how you’ll know you’re on the right path in this regard.
(Next time, we’ll tackle the third and final layer of why and I’ll show you how all the pieces fit together.)
P.S. In my case, I need to be able to tick the following boxes as to “why” I’m working on the projects I’ve committed to. In some way, each product or service in the SMARTSTART family must help other business owners:
- develop business literacy
- simplify or demystify the complex
- turn mystery into mastery
- grow personally and professionally
- love their work!
More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.
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