The 3 Worst Reasons To Start A Business
Entrepreneurship seems to be what all the cool kids are doing in 2020.
Instead of looking up to famous actors and musicians, many of today’s young people idolize famous entrepreneurs like Gary Vee. Or Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez, or Steve Jobs, to name a few.
And there are countless business influencers all over Instagram, posing next to Lambos, wearing everything Gucci, and quoting passages from books like Think and Grow Rich. Many of them are teenagers or people in their 20s.
They make this flashy affluent lifestyle that used to seem available only to Hollywood stars and trust fund kids now seem achievable to everyone via entrepreneurship.
Many of them preach about how they came from nothing, yet still became super-rich and successful, and it all sounds pretty damn inspirational.
And with so many people still unemployed or struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of starting an online business has become more popular than ever this year.
Working a job no longer sounds safe anymore since it could suddenly disappear at a moment’s notice.
But entrepreneurship is not a golden ticket to solving all your problems. It has its own unique set of challenges, too, and not everyone is cut out for it.
Some people are much better off working a job. And there’s no shame in that.
What is your “why”?
Your answer to this question can provide a lot of insight as to whether you’ll make it as an entrepreneur.
There are plenty of great reasons to start a business — like if you have a fantastic product to sell or a skill you can perform at a high level as a service, but there are also plenty of bad reasons.
These are the three most common bad ones I’ve seen:
1. You hate your job
My first exposure to the online business world was in 2017, when I got recruited by an affiliate marketing company. One of their reps found me on Instagram, and she sent me a DM explaining how she was able to quit her 9–5 job and travel the world full-time by selling their high-ticket online courses on her social media channels.
That was this company’s entire brand message: quit your job by earning passive income and achieve the freedom to do what you love-like traveling or playing with your kids or making art.
It all sounded pretty great because I hated my job and wanted more free time to do creative things like writing.
And that’s precisely why I failed because I didn’t necessarily want to run a business. I just wanted to quit my job.
I noticed, though, that the people in that company who had the most success were those who already had prior business or sales experience. They were there because they truly loved the process of building and running a business, and they truly believed in that company’s products.
They were running toward their business, rather than running away from their job.
I’ve seen so many others make this mistake, particularly in the affiliate marketing and multi-level marketing spaces, which have a failure rate of 95 percent, compared to 80 percent for traditional small businesses.
Since the barrier to entry in those spaces is much lower, they tend to attract more people who are there for the wrong reasons. Myself included.
Although running a business may sound like a dream, if you feel miserable and stuck at your job and crave more freedom, you need to have something motivating you if you want to succeed.
I’m lucky that I’ve since found different business ventures that I love because that keeps me motivated during the inevitable challenges and shitty moments.
The whole experience taught me that I do want to run a business, just not the kind I initially started with.
At the very least, though, you must believe in your products or services and enjoy the day-to-day running of your business because a typical day in the life of a business owner will be very different from a typical workday at your job.
Otherwise, you’re just running away from your problems, and you’ll probably end up creating new ones.
TL;DR: Start a business because you want to start a business. Not because you want to quit your job.
2. You want to get rich
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming of becoming wealthy so you can buy a lot of cool stuff. It’s something that many people dream of, and have dreamed of for generations.
And it’s well-known that the most common methods for achieving financial wealth are starting a business and investing in something like stocks or real estate.
But your customers can tell when you’re only in it for the money. And they won’t like or trust you, which means they probably won’t buy from you.
You’ve probably dealt with a sleazy salesperson at some point in your life. Maybe it was at a used car dealership or one of those kiosks selling $200 hair straighteners at the mall. And it probably gave you a bad uncomfortable feeling, like “Ewww, this person’s just trying to sell me something.”
When I was an affiliate in my first company, though, I became that sleazy salesperson. All I thought about was money because I wanted to quit my job and live that glamorous Instagram entrepreneur lifestyle so badly.
But there’s this concept in the business world that the amount of money you make is directly correlated to the value you provide. So when you focus on delivering more value, you end up making more money as a result.
When selling affiliate products, providing value can come in the form of top-notch customer service and having a strong personal brand that differentiates you from the company’s other affiliates. Because when your competition sells the same products as you, you need to find different ways to stand out.
I get the temptation to want to do something just for the money. It’s such an easy trap to fall into, especially if you’re miserable in your current life situation like I was.
But money can’t be your only focus when building a business. Sure, you have to pay your bills and feed your family if you have one. But your main focus needs to be on providing the highest quality products or services in the market.
Your goal should be to be the best rather than the richest.
If you can do that, the money will eventually follow. And if you can’t, you’ll probably remain broke and end up wanting to quit out of frustration.
TL;DR: Start a business so you can share amazing products or services with others. Not so you can get rich.
3. It looked cool on social media
Famous entrepreneurs like Gary Vee and Grant Cardone are treated like rockstars these days.
I saw this firsthand when I attended Grant Cardone’s 10X Growth Con in 2019. The event felt like a combination of a business school and a rock concert.
And being able to post content from Growth Con did bring me a bit more entrepreneurship credibility.
But we all know that social media is not real life. Most people only post their highlight reels and not their blooper reels.
The day-to-day reality of entrepreneurship looks a lot less glamorous in real life than it does on Instagram.
My last ex was one of those wealthy young entrepreneurs, the type you might see on IG. He drove a yellow Porsche and loved designer clothes. But he also spent approximately 12 hours a day glued to his laptop, and he’d been active in his industry for about 10 years since he was 16. He didn’t get rich quick.
While I typically worked about 9 hours at my day job, went to the gym, and then spent a few hours before bed working on my business when I was an affiliate in my first company.
I rarely posted about that on Instagram, because it was boring and repetitive as fuck, by IG’s standards. I figured my audience wouldn’t think it’s very cool or exciting.
But that’s the reality of entrepreneurship. If you’re just in it for the Porsches and designer clothes so you can look cool on Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.
There’s no shame in wanting those material things. You need to be prepared to hustle a lot over a long period to get them.
Otherwise, you may as well stay at your job because entrepreneurship can be frustrating and miserable if you don’t have the right mindset.
TL;DR: Entrepreneurship is very different in real life than it is on Instagram.
So, in summary, don’t start a business for any of these three reasons:
- To get out of your job
- To get rich
- To look cool on social media
I’m not saying your business is guaranteed to fail if one or all of those reasons is your main motivator.
But they do make failure a lot more likely.
The Mini Post-Grad Survival Guide
A 5-day email course with tips on budgeting, investing, and productivity for 20-somethings. Sign up for free.