Why do you go to work? For many people work is a means to an end. They work because they want/need a paycheck.
But ask an entrepreneur why they chose their profession, and you’ll find a story about love and passion, the story also usually involves exhaustion.
Let’s face it; running your own business is hard. I know. I’ve run three business, two successful and one not so. I also coach entrepreneurs. Here’s what I’ve observed:
Entrepreneurs treat their business like their baby. You’re emotionally invested in every aspect of her development.
People who work for a paycheck tend treat their work like a baby-sitting gig. You just want to keep it alive until the real parents come home.
My hairdresser, who has owned his own shop for over 20 years says, “Your business is your everything. Or at least it starts out that way. The true test is after three years. Then you know its not going to be any different than it is. That’s when the reality sets in.”
Owning your own business seems like it would provide more freedom. But those who own businesses will tell you; more often than not, it feels like the business owns you. Tedious requirements like taxes, reports, licenses, marketing, staffing and having to consistently generate sales amidst the highs and lows of economic conditions outside your control can suck the soul out of even the most passionate entrepreneur.
The challenge for business owners is to keep your sense of purpose and enthusiasm alive on the bad days, and to imbed your passion into your team. Nothing is more frustrating than putting your heart and soul into your business and having your clients or worse, your employees, treat your baby like a passing fad, something they drop the second something shinier comes along.
In my experience, the two biggest challenges entrepreneurs face are:
Here’s how it plays out, the entrepreneur starts his business with steadfast purpose and boundless enthusiasm. He has some inevitable setbacks. He remains committed but his team, backers, family; fill in the blank, start second-guessing the endeavor. The doubts have a chilling effect on the entrepreneur’s enthusiasm; the stress spreads to the team, and, ultimately, the customers.
British statesman and novelist Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The secret of success is constancy of purpose.”
Large organizations have resources to keep their sense of purpose alive. They do retreats, they provide perks, and they hire consultants like me to help them accelerate growth and emotional engagement. But for small business owners, every problem always circles right to back to you. When you’re at your most depleted, the only person you can turn to for help is the tired person staring back at you in the mirror.
I confess, I have a passion for small business owners. For me the hairdressers, donut shop owners and plumbers of the world are the unsung heroes of our economy. They put their hearts and souls in helping our lives work.
I created the Noble Purpose Institute to give entrepreneurs access to the techniques and strategies I’ve use to help larger start-ups organizations like Hootsuite and G Adventures increase (and sometimes double) revenue. Here’s the inside secret, making money matter. But the more purpose and joy you bring to your business, the more purpose and joy your team will bring to customers, which is what makes the money wheel turn.