The two worst (and maybe most common) reasons to start a business

by Jason on November 15, 2011 · 0 comments

rock climbing photo by prayitno

Reasons matter, folks.  It’s true in sales (the whole “reason why” thing and all that) and it’s equally true in your motivations.  If you start your own show, you will be tested.  There will be days where you won’t want to get out of bed, and you’ll trick yourself into just taking a break, and then that break lasts a little longer, and then it’s pretty much over.

But looking around, especially in the internet era, where the costs of getting started are ridiculously low, I see a lot of people forgetting how important a reason is for doing any of it.  And there are two that make absolutely zero sense.

Oh, and “I figured I could make money” isn’t the worst of them.  It could be, maybe, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, but I think these are bigger danger signs:

“I’ve always wanted to.”

So you’re starting a business because you’ve always wanted to.  You’ve dreamed for years of running your own show.  So what? Do you really think that that’s going to sustain you the second it gets hard?  I’ve always wanted to be able to bench press 300 pounds, but it turns out you can’t just go to the gym one day and check that off your list. It takes work, and “it’d be kind of cool someday” isn’t going to get you there.

Now, if you can turn that into the first part of a sentence that’s followed by “because” and then a real reason, you might be onto something, but if you haven’t done the work to get yourself to a full sentence, you need to go back to work – your job or sentence crafting.

“I don’t have any other option”

Now, there are some people who’ve legitimately burned all possible bridges and have no viable route forward other than to start their own business, but they’re the exception, and here’s why: if you’ve convinced yourself that you’re unemployable, you’re coming from a place of fear and desperation.  Your prospects will sense that, and they won’t do business with you.  You usually have other options, even if they’re not obvious or uncomfortable, and if you refuse to recognize them, you lack the self awareness that’s critical to your success.

And yes, I have my reasons why I do what I do.  And I plaster them everywhere, on my screensavers, my phone lock screens, and anywhere else I can think of, because those reasons are really super-important on the days where I would have lost less money and done less damage just by staying in bed.  Those days come less often now, but they happen, and it’s crucial to both vaccinate yourself against them and have good reasons to keep pushing forward when they come.

Photo by prayitno

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