I was having dinner with a friend the other night. I was in a pretty good mood (as I usually am,) but he seemed to be out of sorts. I could tell because he usually orders a mixed cocktail (he has a really strange system based on the day of the week and the general weather pattern to choose his drink. Either that or he’s been pulling my leg all this time,) but that night, he ordered a beer. Not just any beer, well actually, yea, he just told the waitress “whatever’s on tap is ok.”
I asked him what was wrong. He said that he was having second thoughts about going forward with his business that he’s been planning on starting. “What changed?” I asked.
He said that he’d been talking with another guy that his advisor had put him in touch with, that had successfullyÂ started a business in the same general line of work. He said that he had worked 7 days a week, about 12 hours a day for the first two years. He had a supportive family, and finally after two years, his business was successful enough that he could hire other people to manage it for him.
“So what’s the problem?” I asked. He said he wasn’t really prepared to put in 12Â hours a day for a year before he saw a profit. He seemed to think that all businesses need that level of commitment to get off the ground and become profitable.
I told him about this book I read (I forgot the title) about a kind of study they did on successful entrepreneurs. Now that I think of it, I think it might have been a tape program, and I’m pretty sure I got it from Nightingale Conant. If you’ve never had a look, I recommend it. They got some good stuff there. If you find something you like, you might check ebay first, because lots of times people buy stuff, listen and get great benefit, and then sell it at a pretty cheap price.
So what this program said was that there was a huge range of variables that went into successful business creation. Some people were successful right from the start, some had to work at it over several years, others had all kinds of loans and help from family. It really didn’t matter. The term ‘work’ is really a relative concept. What might seem like ‘work’ to some, may be totally enjoyable to somebody else. Some people might consider putting two weeks of effort to get a ton of money a huge burden, but others might consider three or four years total enjoyment, even if you don’t make a lot. So long as you enjoy what you do.
I asked my friend if he enjoyed doing what he thought he was getting himself into. He thought about, an decided that he really did enjoy it. Then I asked him if he would enjoy doing what the other guy did for two years, 12 hours a day for, and he said no way. Then he confessed that the other guy said the only reason he quit after two years, well not really quit but hired other people to take over, was because his wife had their second baby and really needed his help around the house. So it turned out my friend was imagining himself doing what the other guy was doing and imagining not enjoying it, while in reality the other guy was enjoying it so much it took a second baby and hisÂ wife’s demands that he ease off a bit.
When he put it into that perspective, it made total sense to him. Although the waitress was pretty confused when he sent back his beer and asked for a Vernal Equinox.