“Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.” ~Mike Rowe
Do not start a business in something you don’t love.
You might think, what is the difference between working in a job one doesn’t love and a business one doesn’t love. A LOT! Most of it has to do with the difference between being an employee and an employer. Want to move to Tucson, get a job in Tucson. Boss is a dick, quit. Want to take an extended vacation, take a leave of absence. Overwhelmed with the stress of the job, say fuck it. None of these are possible if you own the business, especially if your boss is a dick.
My point is to make the situation temporary so you can get the hell out when you want but this is impossible if you’re the owner, unless you sell the company, which is not always likely. I currently own a profitable (barely) business that is worth a large sum of money. I even had a generous offer on it a time or two. The problem is, it’s based on my relationship with another business owner, my primary customer. No bank will give a loan for a company that has only one customer. Though I am grateful, I am stuck with a business I don’t love and will probably dissolve before I could ever sell it.
Running a business consumes your life.
Very few businesses are “set it and forget it.” Most require every free moment of your life. If you are a business owner, you probably work on the toilet or dream about your work.
Even those gurus who promise to teach you how to start a “make money while you sleep” business are working their asses off! I abandoned all of these “I’ll show you how to make a million dollars” teachers when I realized that how they made a million dollars was by selling these programs. The thing is, even though they are making a killing by selling you a course, they are consumed by the process. In order to be successful in doing so, they have to build their email list, be active on social media, create a converting landing page, and of course, develop the money making program itself.
I am willing to bet that when these “entrepreneurs” have their first $250,000 launch, it took most of their waking hours to get to that point. Also, now that their product is live they have to work out the glitches and keep up with their customer service, so they continue to work their butt off. But hey, that’s a lot of money right? They deserve their beautiful house and fancy car. Remember what I said about the cost of living?
Now they have to do just as good with their next launch in order to maintain their cost of living. Do you see where I get that a business consumes your life? The example I give is of people making “easy money” on the internet. What would it be like if you had to trade your time for dollars? I can’t imagine ever being consumed with something I don’t love. No thanks, I’d rather just have a job.
Make your next project failproof.
What I mean by this is if your business doesn’t succeed you should still come out on top or in the least, on an even keel. Tim Ferriss was recently asked about starting a podcast. He gave an encouraging response. He also said if you are going to do it make sure you get something out of it if it doesn’t take off. Tim had already been a success as an author and even gave TV a shot next on his list was audio broadcasting. He wanted to give it a try, for more than anything else, for the experience. He created six episodes and in the process learned a ton about broadcasting, interviewing, and podcast production. He got everything he wanted out the project in the making of those six episodes. The icing on the cake was they were good, and they propelled him to be what people are calling the Oprah Winfrey of podcasting.
A personal example was my recent Kickstarter campaign to manufacture merino wool t-shirts for tall people. With a goal of $10,000, I raised $600. A failure? Yes but I think I came out on top. I lost very little time and money but gained the experience of how to run a Kickstarter campaign. If I ever need to do another, it will be a piece of cake.
Currently, I am working on two books. Something I love. When they are done, and I publish them, it won’t make a difference if they are a success or not because I got so much pleasure out of writing them. Would, I like for them to sell a million copies, be featured on Oprah’s book club, made into movies starring Selma Hayek, and launch me into Steven King-esque celebrity status? Yes! I would love all of that, but that’s not why I am doing it. I am doing it because I love it. It’s fun. I get to create this make-believe world and tell a story. I wish I had allowed myself to do this decades ago. If I don’t sell a book, I’ll still come out on top because of the pure pleasure I got from the experience.
For me, becoming a novelist is a failproof endeavour. What is yours?