The idea to write this post started with a twitter conversation Jonathan kicked off with these words of wisdom:
Don’t lead with “how’m I gonna make money?” Instead, ask “how’m I gonna blow people away and change lives?”
Most of us can agree that this principal is spot on for entrepreneurs with big dreams.
…I knew he had put his finger on an issue I’ve personally witnessed time and time again. He was talking about something that goes on inside the minds of business owners. Something that makes or breaks dreams.
It’s time to shed some light on the psychology that motivates entrepreneurs.
In my experience there are only ever three reasons that people get into the business game:
1. To have an impact
2. To make money
3. To win freedom
This is what I call the “hat-trick for entrepreneurs”.
Lining up the hierarchy of impact, money and freedom is crucial to building a successful business. It’s even more of a non-negotiable if you want your business to have a positive social and ecological impact.
Successful entrepreneurs score the hat-trick every time
If your number one focus is freedom and you don’t care about anything else, become a gypsy. You may not be able to take hot showers, but you’ll have no one telling you what to do! You’ll be free to go anywhere and do anything!
Thing is, because you haven’t got your hat-trick hierarchy figured out, you’ll discover that the closer you get to freedom, the further away you get from wealth and impact.
Unless you really are a gypsy, our society has conditioned us with deep-seated beliefs that money is the solution to all our problems. The entire credit card industry is built on this conditioning.
The importance of money is so intensively programmed into our minds that it isn’t at all surprising that many wannabe entrepreneurs focus purely on “How’m I gonna make money?”.
Our money and consumption obsessed society makes many newbie business owners stack dollars at the top of their goal hierarchy.
These jumbled priorities only get reinforced further when financial crisis and debt drive folks to desperation. Problem is…
Few get rich by focusing on (just) money
Just focusing on making dollars doesn’t work. Every successful entrepreneur will confirm that success happens by adding value. In other words, by having some kind of positive impact on your customers.
By asking “How’m I gonna make money?” people try to side-step the requirement to create impact by adding value. We can see various attempts at this shortcut all around us, in the spammers and other con-artists who litter the internet.
Few of them make money legally and none of them last. Why? Because impact is a mandatory requirement for successful business.
You simply can’t sustainably maintain a business without creating an impact – even if it’s a small or accidental one.
So what is the fast track to business success?
Make impact your number one priority. Focus on creating enormous value. Go so far that, as Jonathan said, you change lives.
Your business doesn’t necessarily have to rescue orphans from Africa – although, if you can do that, that’d be great! Having an impact just means adding value to the interactions your business has with it’s customers.
Bloggers and info-marketers can design their products to solve problems that change lives. If you’re a web designer, simply ensuring you take every single customer’s breath away with your first draft… could be impact enough.
Manufacturers of widgets can design products so valuable that we can’t bear to live without them. Every business can delight with customer-service.
Creating an impact is the only real shortcut to success you’ll ever hear. It’s a tried and true principal. Want a case study? Just look at the Fortune 500… or Problogger’s list of 30 bloggers to watch in 2010.
What kind of impact do you want to create? What do you think?
Peter Shallard is the Shrink for Entrepreneurs. He helps business owners figure out how to achieve wealth, freedom AND sanity – figuring out all three is tricky! Check out his blog or for mini Jedi-mind-tricks, follow @PeterShallard on Twitter
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