Many people dream of owning their own businesses, but never actually make it happen. There’s always an excuse as to why: You don’t have the money. You don’t know anything about business. The list goes on and on. But if running your own business is truly something you’re passionate about, any of these obstacles can be overcome with a little effort.
At age 47, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, the woman we know as Mother Teresa, decided it was time to do something different. She’d been teaching in a private school for years and thought she might have more impact elsewhere. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that listening for her next calling was a good idea.
Too often we make the mistake of seeing entrepreneurs like Donald Trump and Steve Jobs as the examples that all businesses should follow. However, the great majority of firms in this country are not truly entrepreneurial but more what I call “lifestyle businesses.” These lifestyle businesses add so much to our economy and the welfare of so many employees.
I was a 21 year-old entrepreneur when the dot-com bubble burst in 2001. Given the unprecedented volume of dying startups, investors and other business partners became less and less inclined to partner with new companies—especially those led by young founders.
When it comes to running a successful business, the things you do matter. But perhaps just as important are the things we decide not to do. Identifying what activities to put in each category helps productivity, efficiency, and overall effectiveness.
Everyone has times when they fail. It’s easy to separate the world into two camps, those who are succeeding and those who aren’t, but what we often miss is that people move back and forth between those two groups all the time. Today’s great success was yesterday’s failure—and might fail again tomorrow. The key is persistence.
The difference between people who make good choices and people who make wrong choices is their focus. We all face obstacles in what we do, but people who keep their purpose in mind and know where they are going will make easier, better choices.
A lot of people go through life worrying about where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going. But worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. If you are worrying about something, first consider whether you can do anything about it.
To get anywhere, you have to know where you are going. You have to begin with a destination in mind. In business, you have to know what it is that you want—where do you want your business to be in a week, a month, or a year?
How you handle changes and unforeseen circumstances is a critical factor in the success of your business. When you set out to tackle a project, do you put conditions on your efforts, or do you decide to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes?