More Hours, More Money
Quitting your job and starting a business can be stressful. Find an outlet that keeps you engaged in your work, even if it doesn’t produce direct income. Productivity can take many forms, including blogging, podcasting, or creating videos.
If possible, ask for help in starting your business. In the US, for instance, a spouse or partner may be able to provide health insurance. A friend or family member may be able to help with your initial expenses or even offer a used office desk. A bank may be able to loan you enough to get you through the first few months.
Your chances of success increase significantly when you are passionate about your work. Pay attention to what gets you excited and engaged. Is there a subject you can’t stop talking about?
Keep your options open and understand business model basics. You may start with services, and then see the potential of products. Try to remain flexible enough to evolve and avoid traps.
The chances of striking it rich are very small. Your time may be better spent focusing on what you value in life, and how your business can support that lifestyle
Return on Luck
If luck shines on you, be prepared to seize it and run with it.
Attention is a powerful asset. Experiment with ways to earn attention and be ready to convert it into a business opportunity. Look for opportunities to create something useful and solve a problem. Quick income schemes come and go. Utility endures.
If you’re sharing something publicly, be sure to brand it. You never know when an event or person will come along and pluck your work out of obscurity.
Improvement happens incrementally. Rather than trying to solve all the problems, fix what sucks most and try again.
Be yourself, even if it means looking like an amateur for a while. A lack of polish can make your work relatable and unique.
Work for Hire
Circumstance is an amazing teacher. Get started quickly and solve problems as they arise so you’re not wasting time or worrying unnecessarily.
You get what you ask for. If you are hired to create something, look for ways to make your brand part of the experience.
If you have solved a problem, share it. Reach out to companies and people who might be interested in your solution and offer your work for free. Sharing your passion can open doors.
If you have demand and are unsure of how to price your work, raise your prices with each new project until you find a ceiling.
Your intellectual property matters. Be aware of when you’re giving it to others and consider how it could help you in the future. Build your IP over time.
Choice as a Shareholder Value
Small business owners are often the only shareholders. Once the company is profitable, consider what values the company can produce. What shareholder values matter to you?
It’s easy to assume that the goal of growth is a given in business. Remember that it’s not always required and that business success can take many forms. What are you really after? What will you consider success?
Happiness and satisfaction matter, and money is not the only way to achieve it. In fact, at a certain point, money comes with diminishing returns. Ask yourself what drives satisfaction in your life and how your business can promote it.
Success is often demonstrated through the acquisition of material things like cars, vacation homes, and fancy clothing. This kind of visible success is not required and may not be a path to happiness. Ignore the Joneses and the Kardashians.
Time can’t be saved up and used later. The only way to have more of it today is to design it into your life. Taking control of a life that’s out of balance starts with making deliberate decisions about how you spend your time. Time is the new wealth. Starting today, you can decide to make it grow.
Designing for the Future
Design for the long term. Take time to consider how a decision today might look in five years. If your model takes time, be prepared to weather the storm by reducing expenses.
Relationships matter. Whether you’re a married couple or business partners, personal relationships can impact the business. Be sure you and your partner share the same vision and values.
It’s okay to be small. Small businesses can be agile and scrappy. And today, through online opportunities, small businesses can scale.
It’s not enough to plan a new path. At some point you need to take the plunge. If you’re in agreement, set a date and make it happen.
Change is easier while working within constraints. Make a list that represents what your business is and, crucially, what it isn’t. This list becomes a guide for decision-making by creating rules that must not be broken.
Decisions don’t have to be binary. Choosing a new path might mean easing into and out of new directions. If you stay focused on the end goal, it can be an evolution.
A Platform of One’s Own
The sources of your initial success may not sustain you. Be prepared to find new ways to reach customers.
Be aware of platform risk. If you build your empire on someone else’s property, their decisions can impact or even destroy your business.
Creating media comes with costs and there are more income sources than ever before. Consider crowdfunding to launch and support your work.
Make your website the home of your business. There is no replacement for owning and being in absolute control of such an important resource.
Traffic from search is powerful and free. Be skeptical of experts with big promises. What matters more than anything is creating quality content that attracts and engages people.
Live the Monetorium
Attaining the lifestyle you want isn’t simply a matter of more income. It can also relate to how you spend that income. A penny saved truly is a penny earned.
You probably can’t spend your way to happiness, but spending can quickly fill your life with commitments and assets that create drag.
Use the monetorium to achieve a goal through small sacrifices. Challenge yourself to change your habits and live more practically by maintaining your belongings and reducing waste.
Question what you consider to be “the good life.” By experimenting with new lifestyle approaches, you may be able to rewire your values and find happiness in simpler things.
About half of your happiness is biological and can’t be changed. About 40 percent is based on your choices and decisions. You may be able to increase your happiness by using your strengths to help others.
Turning Copycats into Customers
If you have expertise, there may be business opportunities in helping others learn how to do what you do.
Lawyers are expensive. Educating people about how to use your work can be more productive than sending cease and desist letters.
When working through a new opportunity, take a step back and ask what biases you have regarding your partners and their input. Be prepared to change—the company may depend on it.
Public speaking is a skill that can only be improved through doing it. If you accept the challenge, you’ll gain confidence quickly and have a new source of income that can help support your small business.
Online courses require upfront work, but can be attractive to customers and help you become a thought leader.
Success through Failure
If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. No business is immune to failure and it can happen quickly when markets change. Stay focused on the big picture of your industry. When change happens, be prepared to evolve.
Most business ideas fail in one form or another. Get used to seeing failure as a necessary element of success. Accept the challenge and keep hope alive.
Building new things is fun and exciting, but it can also be wasteful. Don’t get distracted. Stay focused on your core offering.
When you see change happening, don’t assume it’s a threat. Be open to reaching out to potential partners and creating new relationships that extend your reach.
The Power Not to Care
Not every business has to grow and conquer. It is possible to design a business to be small and achieve power through autonomy.
This new form of business comes with different measures of success that are based more on lifestyle and flexibility than brimming bank accounts and jam-packed schedules.
A company that’s “Big Enough” by your standards may not earn respect from other entrepreneurs who don’t get it. Forget about them. You’re playing a different game with different outcomes.
The expectations of society and the business world can feel overwhelming. There is constant pressure to do what you’re “supposed” to do and run a business the way it’s “supposed” to be run. Learn to ignore it.
Designing a business to support the lifestyle you want comes with trade-offs and sacrifices. Hard work, long timelines, and an acceptance of risk may be required. There are no shortcuts.