Why Start a Business?

What have you discovered about your life so far?

Mark Twain wrote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”

My hope for you is that in twenty years you are saying, “I did explore the trade winds of my time and I found secret talents, met outstanding people, acquired a wealth of knowledge and even discovered a few treasures.”

Defining the word ‘treasure’ is where your work begins in uncovering your motivation to start a business: it might be launching a social venture, creating the newest social network, or developing a greener way to make better clothing.  If your current work is empowering you to dream and discover, then you can stop reading here.  Yet, if you have a burning desire to take something that has been living in your heart and see it come alive, then read more to explore your motivation for doing so.

“Success comes down to how honest the entrepreneur is with himself about his excitement for the work he is doing.”  An investor who funded over 120 companies told me that.  So here are a few questions to see what you’re excited about:

Do you want control over your work?  Is it purely about the financial rewards?  Are you extremely passionate about the industry?  Do you have a hobby that you would love to get paid for doing?  Are you imagining six-hour or twelve-hour work days?  Do you want to be around more fun, intelligent, lively people?

Within ninety seconds, be extremely honest with yourself and draft a few answers to the above questions.  Refer to them when you are defining your role, setting goals or bringing on investors so that you can make agreements that align with your motivation.

There are many reasons to start a business, however it is important to make sure that whatever is motivating you is allowing you to explore and make pivots based on your discoveries.

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