Just about everyone has that dream life they want. Most people have at least a notion of what they would do every week if they had the means to do what they love every single day. There’s so much the world can offer – and so many ways you can contribute – when you have the time and resources to do so. But is there more to the picture than that?
You bet there is. Most people would love to run or own their own business, but most people have failed at this attempt. It takes a lot to succeed in business – primarily, a lot more than what meets the eye. But the people who have achieved the highest successes are nearly always those who have run through the darkest valleys of failure. I am well acquainted with such valleys, and I want you to avoid some of the mistakes I made, if it’s still possible (depending on your journey).
1. Don’t do something for the money.
If there’s one thing to avoid in business, it’s getting something started simply because you think there’s a lot of profit to go around. You’ll be chasing this money, instead of chasing the opportunity to serve people, which is the real reason people become successful with what they’ve chosen.
Back in 2013, I started a window washing company with my friend Josh. We were both working jobs we greatly disliked up until that point, and we were looking for a way to get out without having to go back to college. We were and still are musicians and creative folk, and we were hungry for an opportunity to be self-employed while still having the freedom to pursue our passions long term.
Long story short is we found out (to our not-so-surprising surprise) we didn’t like window washing that much and we weren’t in it for the truly long haul (like we were with music and art). We were also chasing the dollar – something that’s guaranteed to leave you feeling frustrated, hopeless, angry at yourself and more often than not empty-pocketed. Please take a lesson from us and don’t start something unless you’re actually in it for the long haul (particularly, even if it never had financial reward).
2. If you can’t get up every day and want to do it a little better each time, it’s not for you.
This is the other secret sauce of doing what you love long term. You have to find or uncover something that’s so personally enriching and rewarding to you (through the work itself) that you want to get better at it every single day. This means the work should be deep enough that there’s room to do it your whole life. It doesn’t mean the work will be completely repetitive, or that there’s never anything you wish were different, but it should resonate with you on a deep level every time you do it.
3. Get started with the right people.
I can’t stress this enough either. The people you do business with, or the people you start a business with, are more important than anything else. You have to be smart about who you choose to handle finances, help with your marketing and finish projects with. How someone does one thing is virtually always how they do everything. Watch people in the small habits, because this is what reveals how they handle big things.
4. Think about how useful your business will be to people.
This is yet another critical takeaway. People do business with people they like, know and trust, and who are generous. Your business and what it offers has to be extremely practical and useful to people, otherwise they’ll go somewhere else.
Now please, don’t take me the wrong way. This point isn’t simply talking about direct or surface-level usefulness. For example, an individual who purchases an info product on weight loss doesn’t actually want the product. They want what the product will give them – certain knowledge, a feeling, and most importantly, results that are different from what they had before. It allows the individual to have a fitter body, feel more comfortable in their own skin and live a greater life of longevity.
I hope this post has helped you learn what mistakes you can avoid. Are there mistakes you’ve made in business? Are there tips you’d love to offer to other people? Please provide your comments below.