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Starting a Business

Starting a Business That Increases Your Happiness Will Make You A Better Person

Work needs a goal and happiness is the one goal everyone agrees is worth working for.
Starting a Business That Increases Your Happiness Will Make You A Better Person
Image credit: Maskot | Getty Images
VIP Contributor
Entrepreneur and Connector
10 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Happiness. It’s what most of us strive for throughout our lives. Can you start a business that increases your happiness at the same time? Is that possible?

After all, those with a positive well-being are found to have a lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and normal body weight. Being happy can strengthen the immune system and help you fight off everyday stressors.

Considering that we spend one third of our lives at work -- happiness shouldn’t just be confined to just our personal lives. When people are happy at work they’re more engaged and productive, teir morale is higher and they call-in sick to work less often. That’s definitely good for your bottom line.

Create your own happy job.

With a job you don’t always have control over your work and employment happiness. If you start a business -- build one that increases your happiness.

Let’s say that you don’t find your job fulfilling. Maybe you don’t clearly understand expectations -- or perhaps you work with toxic co-workers. Those are things that you can bring to a leaders attention. But, ultimately, it’s up to them to steer the ship correctly.

If you start your own business you can create a business culture that fosters happiness among you and your team. How exactly can you start a business that will increase happiness? Well, here are seven areas to focus on.

Related: 5 Daily Habits for on-the-Job Happiness

Start simply to increase your happiness.

Happiness lies in simplicity. This means finding joy in all those amazing simple pleasures that life has to offer. It could be laughing at a YouTube video or being told that you’re crushing it at work. How can you apply the business happiness concept when starting your own business?

For starters -- start your business as easily as possible. It could be a side hustle that you work-on when you have downtime. You can register a business, build a website and find a product or service to sell in almost no time. You can do all of this (and more) for under a thousand bucks.

There’s no shortage of online tools to legally register your business -- as well as market and promote it. You could build a WordPress site to host a blog and then use a plugin to accept online payments.

You can  promote your happiness in your business through guest posts and engaging your audience on social media. Don’t have the time for all of this? Outsource some of those tasks to others. For instance, you could hire one freelancer to build your site and another freelancer to create your content. Someone else can take care of the books.

As your business grows you can decide when (if ever) it’s time to go all-in. In the meantime keep your new business as simple as possible until it’s time to take it to the next level.

Secondly, no matter where you’re at with your business, make sure that you set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

This acronym stands for your smart (and happy) business.

  • Specific (simple, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time/cost limited, time-sensitive).

This ensures that all of your business goals will be clear and reachable. It will also help you save time -- all while boosting your productivity.

Don’t chase the money -- follow your passion.

This will be a key in start a business that will increase your happiness. As Richard Branson once said, “If you do good and have fun -- the money will come.”

The point of starting a business is to make a profit but maximizing profit shouldn’t be your main focus. Increasing your happiness -- should be about chasing your passion. This business is something that you love and have a great interest in. When you do something that you love, that makes you happy -- those setbacks you experience as an entrepreneur won’t impact you as much.

You’ll still wake-up every morning and look forward to going into work because instead of harping on the negative, you’ll look for ways to learn and improve. When you have passion you feel a sense of purpose that is fulfilling and motivating. Your happiness in your new business will continually improve your vision.

Related: 5 Ways You Sabotage Your Own Happiness

Have fun! You are increasing happiness.

You want to have fun with your business. Fun can be had by:

Playing games and contests: This could anything from friendly sports match to going out to a trivia night to team-building exercises like an egg drop competition. It’s an effective way to build camaraderie, display various talents, and break-up the monotony of the daily workday.

Celebrating success: Did you or your team reach a milestone? Congratulate them through an awards show, shout-out in a newsletter, or write them a handwritten thank you note. At Calendar, I show my team the positive reviews we receive to show that customers appreciate the hard work we’ve been putting-in.

Incorporating mindfulness: Everyday you should meditate or do yoga. It clears your head and puts things in perspective.

Being grateful: Instead of focusing only on the negative, start a gratitude journal. Once or twice a week jot down something specific that was awesome. It helps you reflect on the positive things in your life.

Giving back to the community: Helping others makes us feel great. Schedule time-off from work for you and your team to volunteer at a local non-profit.

Celebrating birthdays and work milestones: You don’t have to go crazy with birthday parties and cake. But you can give your team a gift card for their birthday. If your business has reached a milestone, celebrate with your team, like going to happy hour.

Don’t forget to include your customers. You could thank them for their support by inviting loyal customers to an event or offering them a coupon.

Develop a growth mindset -- to increase happiness.

After decades of research Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck came to the conclusion that there are two types of mindsets:

A fixed mindset is where people believe that the qualities they possess, like intelligence and talent, can’t be changed. Instead of developing these qualities, they document them. They also believe that success can be determined be talent alone.

A growth mindset: is where qualities like intelligence and talent can be developed. Through hard work, learning, and resilience those with a growth mindset can achieve anything.

As an entrepreneur -- it’s important that you develop a growth mindset. This means constantly learning and growing as person. This could be through learning a new skill or enhancing the skills you already possess. It also means learning from your mistakes instead of believing that you’re a failure.

What’s more, it also means that you don’t neglect your health. By exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep -- you’ll have the energy and focus to develop a growth mindset.

Related: How to Prioritize Your Health and Happiness as an Entrepreneur

Foster meaningful relationships.

Do you know what really keeps people happy throughout their lives? It’s not money or fame. It’s the relationships that we develop and maintain. I believe the same is true when you’re an entrepreneur.

Finding mentors and other business owners gives you a chance to seek advice. They’ll also be there to support you during the good and bad times. Other people can also connect you with investors and refer you to customers. In short, your mentors, friends and business acquaintances are the key to success. This means both now and when your developing and growing your business.

If you feel that you need to expand your network -- join a networking group like SCORE, Entrepreneur's Organization, or your local Chamber of Commerce.

Make happiness your business model.

Companies like Southwest Airlines and Zappos aren’t just successful household names. They’re also known for making happiness their business model. Laurence McCahill at the Happy Startup School has a three-step process to making happiness your business model.

Define what success looks like to you: It’s not the money in your bank account that determines your success. It’s all about the life you want to lead and how you want to make the world better.

Define your startup DNA: The foundation of your success should always be your values, passion, and purpose. This won’t just make you happier. It will also guide you in all the decisions you’ll make as a business owner.

Test ideas and experiment with different business models: Don’t be afraid to keep trying out various business models. You ultimately want to find one that aligns with your values, passion, and purpose.

Stay happy and positive -- no matter what.

Finally, you want to be able to maintain that happiness you experienced when starting your business. You’re going to experience numerous ups and downers as a business owner. This can leave you feeling drained. Even worse, put you in a negative state of mind.

Here’s a couple of ways that you can stay happy and positive as a business owner:

Only set attainable goals: Following the S.M.A.R.T. goal system is an effective way to achieve this.

Don’t take “no” personally: You’re going to hear “no” a lot. Shake it off and move on to the next prospect or investor.

Stop spreading yourself too thin: Don’t say “yes” to every request and event. Doing so will only stress you out because you’ve overextended. Focus on your priorities and only say “yes” to the things that can make you a better business owner.

Achieve work-life balance: Don’t work 24/7. Make the time to do the things outside of work that keep you happy and sane.

Cultivate a positive work environment: There’s several ways to do this. Start by keeping your workspace clean and organized. Surround yourself with plants, photos, and inspiring quotes. Secondly, encourage team building exercises and remove any toxic employees or clients.

Be a problem solver: Instead of creating problems, look for innovative ways to solve them.

Spend your time wisely: Definitely keep busy. But, make sure it’s a productive use of your time. You don’t want to work just to work. The same is true of your down time. Instead of watching Netflix all day, use that time to read, exercise, or learn something new.

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