The American dream is all about making a fortune on your terms, not working for The Man on his. If you’ve got big ideas and feel stifled by your current career path, it’s natural to begin pondering what it would be like to kick down the walls of your cubicle and start fresh with a company you believe in and trust: your own. However, the worst mistake would be to act purely on passion without reasoning how you’ll make your dream come true, logically and deliberately, only to end up back where you started. As two entrepreneurs who’ve had some success in going our own way (and plenty of failure we’ve learned from as well), we can show you how to bring this fantasy to fruition.
FOLLOW YOUR HEART
According to researchers at the University of Tennessee, about 50% of all businesses fail, with 25% closing their doors by the end of Year One. Often, the reason boils down to greed and impatience: People want to get rich quick and can’t handle losses, so they pack it in before they’ve given their venture a chance to succeed.
Says Gary Vaynerchuk, an expert on e-commerce and the best-selling author of Crush It!, business today has too many “wantrepreneurs” and
not enough entrepreneurs. That is, too many people are motivated by money and lack any emotional connection to what they’re peddling. It doesn’t matter if car washes, for instance, have high profit margins— if soap and car wax don’t get you excited, you’re not likely to succeed in this line of work.
Research shows that the amount of money you make correlates with overall happiness only up to a certain point, anyway—about $75,000 per year, according to a 2010 study from Princeton University. Greater enjoyment of life was not reported with earnings beyond that figure. So if you’re looking to start a business just so you can sell it off and retire early, you’re not only chasing the wrong idol, you’re also unlikely to feel any better about your station in life even if the outcome is positive.
Whether it’s gardening, laser tag, or a business related to working out, build your company around some- thing you’re truly excited about. It’s passion that will power you through the many risks you’ll have to take to make it lucrative, keep you plugging away during hard times, and give you the greatest satisfaction when it ultimately does succeed.