Business

5 reasons why you can’t do it and shouldn’t even try

5 reasons why you can’t do it and shouldn’t even try

It seems like every other day I read another article where some self-appointed “guru” is telling his readers that they, too, can do exactly what he does. The (fake) images of his bank account balance appear, the music swells aaaannnnddd… cue the sales pitch.

Even when it’s not as smarmy as all that, the conventional wisdom-de-jour is that with a few life-hacks,  some cool software, and a penchant for indie rock music and/or vegan dorritos, virtually anybody can now start a business and start raking in the dough.

And although that idea may sell a lot of books and generate a kagillion facebook likes, it’s simply not true.  Starting a business is NOT for for everyone, and some people shouldn’t even try.

Thinking of starting a business?  If any of these 5 things are true about you, you may want to reconsider:

1. You don’t care about excellence.

The last the thing the world needs is another crappy product or service. Putting out anything other than your best sends a message to the rest of the world that you don’t care about what you are selling. So why should they?

If you are not going to constantly strive for excellence in your business, save yourself some heartache, and don’t start.

2. You don’t exhibit discipline in your daily life.

Starting and maintaining a business takes discipline. The only way to avoid drifting into the mediocre middle is to have the guts to determine the priorities for your business, come up with a plan, and then execute it consistently.

If you are not committed to making a habit of, well… making good daily/weekly habits, then don’t bother starting a business.

3. You don’t have a deep sense of purpose for what you are about to do.

We are at our best when we operate from a place of deeper meaning. A sense of purpose is like motor oil. You can drive for a little while without it, but you’re engine will quickly seize up and you’ll be stuck on the side of the road.

Develop a passion for something and for the people you are going to serve with your business, and then you may just be able to make it through the tough times that will inevitably come.

4. You are looking for an easier path than the one you are currently on.

The last reason you want to start a business is because someone told you how easy it is, and how much money you can make. The promise of “easy money” will not be enough to sustain you when it turns out to be hard.

Nothing worth doing is easy. If you want easy, don’t start a business.

5. You want to be a teacher, before you become a student.

If I hear “Just call yourself an expert and you’ll become one” one more time, I’m going to throw up. I’ve had the great misfortune of hiring some of these “experts” in the past and let me tell you from experience that the title does not make the man. Oh… and I didn’t hire them for a second job, either.

Look around you. The good industry-leaders took the time to become real experts at their craft. What they share flows naturally from their depth of experience. The great industry-leaders don’t even consider themselves experts at all. They are still students.

If you are looking to start a business selling expertise that you haven’t earned as a student, don’t waste your time. If you manage to fool enough people into believing you actually are an expert, you’ll have to live with that. More likely, though, people will see through the facade and you won’t get any traction.

The flip side is also true, though.

If you are disciplined, committed to excellence, undergirded by a deep sense of purpose, looking for the right path instead of the easy one, and are willing to learn the hard lessons before you teach them? Then you may be almost unstoppable.

Steph and I have a deep admiration for people like you and try to surround myself with them as much as possible. We want to learn from you and with you. So thanks for being a part of our little community!

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Need help? The hidden workforce you might be missing (hint: it’s not what you think)

It seems like everywhere I turn I’m hearing about the benefits of outsourcing your work to India, the Philippines, and other developing nations.

I’ve tried this route a number of times, and I’ve found that the negatives usually outweighed the benefits. Cultural and language differences can require detailed (read: time-consuming) instructions, and even then, frequently result in work that’s “almost-but-not-quite” what I actually needed. Combine that with typically slow communication due to time difference, and I’ve almost never found real savings large enough to be worth the effort.

But what’s a guy to do when he needs skilled work at a reasonable price?  There are certainly freelance sites like eLance and Freelancer, which I’ve used many times in the past.

In the last couple of years, though, I’ve discovered a secret workforce that blows offshore outsourcing and sites like eLance out of the water. 

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The decision you probably don’t want to make (but know you should)

I have a dear friend, also an entrepreneur, who made a really difficult decision this past week. I want to share her story with you, in hopes that it will encourage and push you to do the thing that you really need to do right now.

She’d known the decision needed to be made for a long time (for months, in fact). She knew exactly what action needed to be taken.

Deep down, in her heart and in her mind, she was even convinced that it was necessary to the well-being of both herself and her business.

But she put it off for a long time, and I understand why because I’ve done it before myself. It was a scary decision, because it involved conflict with a member of her team, making someone unhappy and disappointed in her, and required her to say things and confront hard issues that were easier left unsaid.

It was the right decision, though. Right because it also involved protecting her business, her profits, her integrity, her peace of mind, and her joy in working with her team.

I understand what it’s like to face these sorts of hard decisions because it’s the sort of thing Ryan and I have tackled time and again in our years as entrepreneurs.

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The best way to win in your business

Are you losing in your business without even knowing it?

Many people in business believe the best way to succeed is to squeeze as much from their suppliers, employees, contractors, partners, and even customers as they possibly can.

The whole idea is based on scarcity thinking; the belief that there is a finite supply of resources, and that you have to fight to get your share.  In order for someone to win, someone else has to lose.

But that’s simply not true. Your economy, whatever it is, is not a zero sum game.  It’s an exponential game.

The equation isn’t “Ours minus Yours = Mine, but rather Mine to the power of Yours = Ours.

Let me give you a real world example of this from one of our businesses…

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How I used leverage to gain more time and get more done

Just recently I heard Chris Guillebeau say “An entrepreneur is someone who is willing to work 24 hours a day for himself, in order to avoid working 1 hour per day for someone else.

I loved that quote, and Steph and I had a good laugh when I shared it with her last night.  I have lived this for many years as an entrepreneur.

I have a deep admiration for the “action-takers”, the “self-propelled”, and the ones with the endless fire burning within.  Indeed, these are the people that move the world, that bring lasting change, and point us in the direction of a brighter future.

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