Profit: should it be your reason or result?
As an new entrepreneur with much to learn, I’ve made a few mistakes.
Mistakes that have cost me money, mistakes that have cost me time, and mistakes that have cost me integrity — luckily not too much!
I hold my hands up, I felt slightly embarrassed. Let me explain.
Not too long ago when I first started this blog, I was following an idea/model that was being taught to me by someone who is very successful in internet marketing. Yes, I had a message I was passionate about, but I thought I could create a blog, follow some steps, and make money.
Wouldn’t that be easy?
I bought the domain, I chose a theme, I wrote a few bits and bobs (which I have since deleted) and throught I was set to go. I added a few affilliate links (which I currently have none of on the site at the time of writing this!), and hoped to make a little commission.
I quickly realised that it didn’t feel right. My goal was to make money; helping people was floating around somewhere in the background, almost like an extra in a TV show.
Just to clarify, I did still provide information that I thought was of value, but my main interests were for personal gain, and the quality of my writing wasn’t all that great.
Well, after not very long I was frustrated.
Not only did I not feel good, but I didn’t make any money either. A couple of friends read my blog, the feedback was that it was okay. I mainly got complimented for taking action and creating something, but what I’d created in all honesty, sucked balls.
That’s when I took a break from the blog. I’d pretty much given up, as I hated the feeling of not being genuine, and I didn’t want to continue. Whilst I had left my blog to gather internet dust (I’d paid the domain for something like 6 months upfront) I was battling with the same old question I’d been asking myself for ages.
What is my passion?????
This question bothered the hell out of me. So many times I would get upset and frustrated that I couldn’t figure it out. Over and over and over I read in books, articles, on social media, in audio books, on podcasts etc. “To be successful you have to find your passion”.
I would get SO worked up about it. I kept asking myself what was wrong with me.
One night I got into bed, I’d been crying. Ricardo was trying to reassure me and help me figure it out, but I was no longer in the right mental state and just rejected everything he suggested.
“I’m just an empty shell of a person!” I remember saying. And wailing.
That’s how I actually felt.
So I gave up trying to figure it out, and decided to just keep learning and improving myself.
Then a funny thing happened.
I bought a book called Be A Free Range Human by Marrianne Cantwell. Not only is it A-Mazing, but it also led me to an article she wrote about finding your passion.
It actually starts off with:
“Not knowing your passions must suck. It must mean you’re an empty shell of a human being with no prospect of ever escaping the flatline ‘blah’ of commute-work-commute-die existence.”
It was like she was reading my mind! Well, she went on to reassure me that there was nothing wrong with me at all! It was the first thing I’d read that had given me hope.
So, I carried on reading the book and doing the exercises, and started to peice together something that suited me.
I realised that I do have a passion. It’s not a passion for a sport, or a product, or an activity, or an industry or anything that you may typically think of when you think of passions.
I am passionate about my message.
Before I even set out to learn how to become successful, I was hell bent on espcaping the rat race for as long as I can remember. My dad had planted the seed when I was still a kid, and entering the ‘real world’ only ignited that belief into a real drive.
Then learning everything I was learning, reading the books, listening to the speakers, learning from mentors etc. just made me want to shout it from the rooftops! I wanted to tell my friends, my family, colleagues, even strangers! To help them see that there is another way, if only they would look for it.
So as an experiment, to see if it was something that I did actually enjoy, I decided to pick this blog back up, and start using it to really spread my message.
Even if nobody reads it.
I know it will take time to build an audience, but I am really doing this now as it’s something I want to do to help other people. If it earns me money further down the line, that’s great, but it’s not my reason.
It’s not my why.
My why is to help people.
Any you know what? It’s feels so good! Already people have given me feedback to say that my (currently very limited content) has helped them. And that’s incredibly rewarding.
It’s also not something I would have been able to figure out I wanted by sitting down and making a list of ‘passions’.
You have to have passion, but you don’t have to have a passion, in the typical sense.
So I learned a lesson.
Do what you do to help people.
Even if that means being the new, better version of yourself that you are developing. Just whatever you do, don’t be fake with your intentions, like I was at first. It feels horrible, and it won’t get you anywhere.
This week I listened to something Jim Rohn said which fit nicely with this lesson:
“Make money at the service of others, not at the expense of others.”
Be of service. Help people. Whatever it is that your business is about, make sure you deliver true value. That should be your reason; not just to make a profit!
There’s a fantastic TED talk by Simon Sinek that I really recommend you watch, that illustrates this brilliantly.
And if there’s ANYTHING that shows just how well this works, listen to this story.
I’m part of a closed facebook group which supports entrepreneurs; Mark, the creator of the group gives absolutely fantastic advice to the members, and we all help each other. It’s a very nice community.
This week Mark made a post, with the intention of encouraging everyone to keep going, to keep progressing. He does this regularly and I find it really useful.
After starting the post, he decided to throw out an idea he’d had for a while. He’d been waiting for ‘the right time’ but decided to stop beating about the bush and take action! He invited a select few people to join him in person for some help with their business; three full days for £1250.
And let me tell you, his advice is always outstanding!
A few days later he posted something different, asking people what their main three business struggles were at the moment. I posted my answers along with some others.
Mark replied to every comment offering a little advice, and realising that there were a lot of people needing help that couldn’t have afforded the £1250, he did something new.
Instead of charging people a set fee for his help, made an offer. If we wanted, we could have a 1 hour skype call, 1–1 with him, at the cost of whatever we charge for our services. In his words, he thought, ‘You can’t object to your own hourly rate right? Because you are worth that right?’
Someone paid him £180. Someone paid him £15.
The point is, he did all of this because his intention is genuinely to help other people. Yes he is getting paid for his value, but as Simon Sinek says in the TED talk above, profit is the result, it is not the reason.
So after two facebook posts with no intention at first of making any money, guess what? Mark ended up £3k better off. With happy, willing to pay customers.
That’s what happens when you are genuine. People believe in you. People value you. People will trust you.
If you want to make money, provide value. Help other people.
Do it because you want to help them. Not just because you want money.
You will be happier and you will be richer.