Before you make the decision to take the entrepreneurial leap and start your own Internet business, the first question you need to ask yourself is, “Why?” Why are you starting your business? You likely have the option to continue working at your current place of employment and receive a steady paycheck, but you are choosing to put many thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears to create a business where there was nothing before. The buck is going to stop with you. You are now going to be responsible for everything: market identification, product development, marketing, sales, operations, customer service, accounting, legal, taxes, and all the other things that come with starting a business. You are going to be the one responsible for putting out every fire that threatens your business and be responsible for making the whole machine run smoothly. Every. Single. Day.
Building an Internet business from scratch is not easy. Not everyone can do it. When you make the decision to start, you are signing up for months of hard work, sleepless nights and less time spent with your family. You better have good reasons for why you want to give this a shot. You cannot kind-of, sort-of, maybe start a business. If you believe you are ready to make that decision, you need to commit all of your best energy into building and growing. This means remaining head-down for months on end and working hard before you have earned any meaningful revenue. In those moments when you have to choose between staying and working on your business that has not had any traction yet and going out with your friends or family, you need to have your “Why” firmly in place to remind you of the reasons you started your business in the first place.
Your “Why” Shapes Your Business
If you know why you want to start your business, you will be able to answer just about every other important question to shape what your business needs to look like. If your goal is to escape the 9 to 5 to work at home so you can spend more time with your family, you will not want to structure a business that requires you to have an office and a bunch of employees. If you are starting your business because you have to be the master of your own domain, you probably do not want to start a business that will require you to raise venture capital, because you are just going to end up with more bosses.
If you want to have more freedom with your time and schedule, you do not want to build a business that requires you to be on-call for your customers during all hours of the day. If you hope to quit your full-time job and replace it with your Internet business, realistically you will to need to create a business that generates at least as much net profit as your salary paid you last year. When you have a clear and concise reason for why you want what you set out to achieve, you will have a lens through which you must make every future business decision.
I know my “Why”. I have built my businesses because I want to be the master of my own destiny. I want my success to be fully dependent upon my ability to deliver and generate value. I want the ability to generate a six-figure income so I can provide for my family and give generously to the charitable causes that my wife and I care about. I want freedom over my time so I can play with my son every morning, serve in my local church, and have lunch with friends, family, and business acquaintances any day of the week. I want to be able to visit family and go on vacations without having to ask permission from anyone else.
It took eight long years to get to where I am with my Internet business. I have put in my hours, I have tried and failed and tried again, and now I am living my goals of total freedom over my time while my business continues to provide more than enough income for my family’s month-to-month expenses and entertainment. When you have built a successful business that is working for you, you will be able to look back at your journey from where it started. Your decisions and strategies made along the way will seem like no-brainers. Hindsight provides that clarity. But in the beginning, you are at the base of a large mountain that you need to climb. It is easy to wander off the path or give up along the way. If you want to make it to the top and build a successful business, keep your focus on your “Why”.
- Complete this sentence: “I am starting my business so I can…”
- List any constraints that you need to be mindful of while building your business.
- Begin mapping out the other questions that will naturally stem from your “Why” (How? When? What?). Try to answer them. These other questions may change over time, but your “Why” should remain your foundation.