Sometimes we get so caught up in our work and the business of life that we forget why we started our entrepreneurial journeys in the first place. Did we do it for money? For influence? Because we couldn’t stand our bosses? Did we want to be in charge of our own schedules?
When people tell me they don’t do it for the money, I wonder if they’re telling the truth. Wanting to help others is amazing, but you can’t do it if you’re broke and your business isn’t thriving. You can help people when your business is established and you have the money and time to give back. Or, you can volunteer part-time so it doesn’t require all of your time and energy.
Many entrepreneurs say they want to make the world a better place. You can do this by creating a product or service that solves a problem in the world. Even if you’re trying to start a non-profit, you still need to have funds behind it. You won’t make an impact if you can’t pay your employees or invest in the resources that would help you with the problem you’re trying to solve.
Having the freedom to work on your own terms and make your own schedule is probably the most popular reason people want to start a business. The only problem is that when you first start, time is the thing you’ll have the least amount of! You have to work long hours in order to make your product or service take off. But once you get established, it’s all worth it: you can work when you want to, not when the boss tells you to.
My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is working when I want to work and making the money I want to make. Knowing I’m there because I want to be there and not because someone is making me is so exhilarating.
Some people get into entrepreneurship because they actually love what they do. They wake up every day loving their job and the challenge it brings because they weren’t wired to work a normal 9 to 5 job. They take risks and have fun with what they’re doing.
Starting a business might also give you a sense of purpose and boost your confidence. Not everyone can take a risk and succeed in business. 50% of businesses fail in the first five years — that’s half of the people who try to launch a business. You should feel very confident if you’re in business after five years of turning a profit because you’re better than 50% better than everyone in the world who has tried and failed.
Success is different for every person. What does success mean to you? You must know your ‘why’ behind starting your business and then measure your success off of that. My ‘why’ to start my first business was strictly for time freedom. I needed time to care for my son who was born 12 weeks early. Money wasn’t really my motivation, but I knew I had to find a new career path to be the mom I wanted to be.
Later in life, my kids got older and I wanted more freedom to go to their games and attend school events. Now, it’s more about working whenever I want to work and setting my own schedule. Money also played a role because I have a daughter in college and a son who will follow in a few years. Plus, it’s great to make money and take my family on trips and help other people out who are in need.
I’ve seen very successful entrepreneurs who have made millions but don’t live a happy life. They neglected their health and relationships because they were too focused on work. Money may have been their motivation initially, but now they wish they would’ve poured more into their personal life. It just goes to show that you have to have a bigger motivator in life than money alone.
I encourage you to define what success looks like to you. Success to me is operating at peak levels in every area of my life — my physical body, my mental health, my finances and my relationships.
Define your success! It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Set yourself up to win by doing something every week to get you closer to your goals.