Making Money Is About You, Not Your Business Plans are important but the foundation of business success is your confidence in yourself.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I seem to attract every man and his dog who wants to start a business. I don't know why I'm seen as the guru and I definitely don't want to be. Yes, I had a successful business, and yes I know a lot about the online world of making money. Doesn't mean that's the secret. Someone even asked me the other day on Facebook if entrepreneurship will make him die.
Before starting a business, you need to understand that making money has nothing to do with business itself. The foundation of a business is you, to begin with. The trajectory of the business will be entirely determined by the trajectory of your life. There are certain aspects of you that must work like a well-oiled machine before we can even begin on the business. I know you don't want some cliché life coaching and that's not what I'm going to give you. You will need some practical guidance though.
Here are the five points to consider before starting a business:
1. Preparation and struggle
Are you at the point in your life where you're prepared to struggle? Entrepreneurship is about as easy as launching one of Elon Musk's rocket ships into space and landing it on Mars. Knowing that you are going to experience extreme struggle takes preparation.
Try hiring a personal trainer that is going to push you beyond exhaustion. This is great preparation and will get you in the right headspace. Write down all the aspects of your personal life that need work, and then go and work on them. Be brutally honest with yourself to the point where you want to cry. Only then can you say you're prepared.
Related: Why Valedictorians Rarely Become Rich and Famous -- and the Average Millionaire's College GPA is 2.9
2. Love life
People ask me why I continue to produce free content with no monetization strategy instead of starting another online business. So, let me give you the answer: My life love is all over the place. It's up and down like a rollercoaster and it needs serious work and attention.
You can't start a quality business with a relationship in turmoil and your emotions all over the place like a messy freshman's dorm room. You have to understand your love life because many of the attributes will be the same ones you need for business. Questions to ask are:
- Do I give without expecting anything in return?
- Am I happy with my current self?
- Can I sacrifice anything without holding back?
- Am I willing to give it my all and continue to fail and have heartbreak?
If you're not answering yes to all of these questions, then you're not ready for business. Business is about sacrifice, giving and most of all, being happy with who you are. If you don't love yourself, and you can't love a romantic partner, what chance do you have of loving your team or loving your customers?
Well, the answer is, of course, zero chance. The world's greatest business plan can't guide you unless you can guide yourself and your team. Love is what guides us, so you need to sort out this part of your business first of all. You need to learn to love again.
Related: 50 Signs You Are Married to an Entrepreneur
3. Small daily habits
The big audacious habits you have are not the one's I'm concerned with. It's the small habits you have like biting your fingernails or continuously eating sugar when you know you shouldn't. Business is about discipline and in the startup phase, you're going to be pulled in a million different directions. For you to have any chance in the game of business, you're going to have to be incredibly disciplined.
The small daily habits you have are a reflection of how your life is tracking and they will be the pulse of your business once you begin. Here are a few to consider:
- What do you eat?
- When do you go to bed?
- Who do you spend time with?
- Do you read books regularly?
- What do you do to keep calm after a hectic day?
The questions above form part of the answer. I believe from experience that you need to: read daily, watch what you eat, go to bed no later than 10 pm, surround yourself with positive people and chill out with meditation. It's not because I'm a hippie; it's because it freaking works.
Related: 10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate From Your Daily Routine
4. The comfort zone factor
Just writing this made me feel guilty. We're all guilty of it. Starting a business is really bloody uncomfortable and so this must be a consistent feeling for you before doing any startup. I'm not just talking about asking a difficult question once in a while; I'm talking about doing crazy stuff. Things like: giving a talk to 2,000 people, helping the homeless, telling people they're not going to be able to stay in contact with you and jumping out of a plane and then doing a somersault. I haven't done the last one yet but I did try my hand at kitesurfing … haha.
How you do life is how you do business. If you do life in the mother's womb of your comfort zone, you're probably going to suck big time as an entrepreneur running a business.
Related: Why You Need to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
5. Believing in yourself
Business is nothing more than a set of beliefs that gain mass adoption. These beliefs drive the company and it's people to change the world in a valuable way which will bring you all the money you could ever dream of. Before drafting those beliefs though, you have to believe in yourself. You have to understand that you can do anything you put your mind to and that you are already enough.
Believing in yourself is not about ego. Believing in yourself has more to do with an unwavering faith in the journey ahead. It's believing things will work out even when there is no reason to do so. It's seeing the positive lessons in even the darkest experiences. It's being prepared to fail and then sticking your middle finger up at the pain that comes from it.
Believing in yourself is the single most important step to starting a business. No one is going to join your team unless they believe that you believe. You have to sit down and practice believing in yourself before you ever start any entrepreneurial journey. You can't lie to yourself. Your belief must be genuine and you must feel it with every bone in your body. You must know that you can do it.
Do you truly believe that making money is about more than just business?