Answering this one seemingly simple question will help guide you in the good times and the bad.
While building out this new venture, I had to ask myself hundreds of tiny questions. What is the company going to be called? What’s its purpose? What will the logo look like? Should I set up an LLC, S-corp, C-corp?
There are so many little details to consider, but the most important question you need to answer before starting anything is answer honestly – “Why am I doing this?”
The way you answer this will certainly evolve over time, but at the beginning it’s important to have an understanding of why you want to, or already have taken the leap into Entrepreneurship (and become an Automated Executive).
For me, the answer was simple: I felt a calling to do more with my life, and it needed to come in the form of helping others grow their business, automate as much of it as possible so they can experience more freedom to enjoy the important parts of life – friends, family, and just being.
Time is the one thing none of us will ever get back. No matter how much money you make, power or influence you amass, or riches you experience, time is the greatest equalizer of us all.
That’s why I feel it’s vital that we all are able to squeeze the most out of everything we do in our personal and professional lives. This doesn’t mean spending every waking hour engaged in the most high-energy thing you can think of. It simply means we all need the freedom (or ability) to find a true and lasting work/life balance.
So, no matter where you currently are in your life, business, and family endeavors, take a few minutes now to answer honestly, “Why are you doing this?” The answers may surprise you.
Pro tip: Just saying you’re doing this for more money, or to not have a boss, or some other superficial reason will almost certainly result in your business failing. Why? Because once you have more money, or become your own boss, and that very simple need has been fulfilled, you’ll drift of into complacency, and your business will dwindle. There’s actually a term for this: “Business Cycle“. Companies who lose sight of their “Why” inevitably go down the road towards failure. Only the ones who find it again survive.
Starbucks is a perfect example of this. Many don’t know that, for a brief time in the 90’s, Howard Shultz left his position as CEO at the company. The man who had transformed the coffee shop experience into one that focused on getting customers to stay longer not shorter had left. He thought his job was done. Soon after, the company shifted into how they could sell more coffee, and drifted away from continuing to enhance the customer atmosphere. In other words, they lost their “Why” and the company suffered. Eventually, they brought Shultz back in to get them back on track, and as you know, Starbucks is alive and well today.
With that in mind take some time to build the foundation of your (mental) game right now. It’s what will guide all your future decisions, so GO DEEP. Go deeper than you normally would, too. It’s OK, no one’s watching so it’s ok to be completely vulnerable with yourself in this exercise.
Since my life’s mantra was “I Want Everyone To Enjoy More Freedom!” it lead me to understand that the only way to achieve this was to help others get back more time back in our my days. “Time” being the one thing none of us can get back, and the one thing we’re all running out of. Of course, one fool-proof way to get back more time is to automate as many things in our lives and businesses as possible, especially those that can deliver a measurable ROI.
Want help? Think about this…
Tired of not eating right? Start meal prepping every Sunday so there’s a healthy lunch automatically waiting for you every afternoon.
Want to exercise more? Buy a workout DVD, then set your router to automatically turn off the Wi-Fi for one hour per day. It’ll become a built-in reminder to stop binging shows, and make time to move more and eat less.
Need more inspiration in life? Set an annual calendar reminder to re-read this post and reevaluate your “Why”. I can assure you that your “Why” may evolve over time, but what won’t change is the fact that we can all benefit from a little honest self reflection from time to time.
One more Pro Tip: If you’re struggling with your “Why”, or want some inspiration then check out Simon Sinek’s book: “Start With Why“. Simon does an amazing job of highlighting how others have developed and used their “Why” to create truly innovative and successful companies over the years, including Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Apple, and more.
Anyhow, once you’ve answered this question truthfully, print it out and tape it to your computer monitor. Stick a copy on the refrigerator door, and on the bathroom mirror so it surrounds you. Eventually, your subconscious will absorb it and make it a permanent component of everything you do in life. It’ll become the driving force that gets you out of bed in the morning, helps increase your productivity, and serve as your life’s new mantra, or purpose.
So again I ask, “Why are you doing this?”
Be honest now so your “why” becomes a strong foundation to lean on in the good times and the bad. When things are good we always assume life will continue on that way. However, when times are bad and we’re living in “scarcity” it’s good to have a solid reminder of “why” we’re doing what we’re doing. That way, it becomes the inspiration needed to power through back to the good times.
What’s your “Why”? Send me your thoughts! I’d love to hear what drives you.
Talk again soon,
Thomas Buttino, Freedom-for-All Seeker