Being an entrepreneur means spending time in the red before getting into the black.
Since starting my own business six months ago, I’ve made enough money to stay afloat, but not enough for me to help support myself and the two babies that I would like to have.
When people reach their late twenties and early thirties, it becomes more obvious that the smartest people aren’t necessarily the people who make the most money. Often, it is the most fortuitously connected. Sometimes, it’s the hardworking. Rarely, it is the lucky.
The truth is that although each person’s circumstances are unique, the most important factor when it comes to having money is how much you want it in the first place. The pejorative way to refer to a high level of that rational desire is greed.
I have my vices, but greed has never been a driving force. Further, please note that I take issue with the concept of vices in general -- it is a pejorative categorization of smaller concepts that can actually do more benefit than harm in a dynamic system.
To some extent, we can all admit that we exhibit some form of each of the seven cardinal sins; even the most blameless among us has to manage the impulses that make us human. For better or worse, my driving force, and thus my primary vice and possibly virtue, has always been my desire for independence.
This has been problematic with regard to making money. For example, people often wonder why some people in finance make millions of dollars when they, subjectively speaking, do not create value in proportion to their financial compensation. The pithy explanation often given for this phenomenon is, “When you stand next to a waterfall, you are going to get wet.” This reasoning remains sound when applied to the people who are able and willing to fill the roles as handmaidens to the extremely wealthy, whether they are genetically related or not.
I am not docile. In fact, my husband likes to joke that I resemble my favorite breed of dog in temperament, the dachshund, because they are sometimes described as “virtually untrainable”. I also happen to be unusually long-waisted, but I digress.
The point is, if autonomy is the primary object of your lust, your gluttony, and your greed, then you are not cut out to be good handmaiden.
What I am good at, however, is solving problems.
The way that I solve the issue of my lack of greed for money is to reconcile it with my desire for autonomy by drawing the reasoning in this fashion:
Christine wants autonomy and the ability to help take care of two babies → Christine needs to make money → Christine needs to increase her desire for money in order to make money, earn autonomy, and be the kind of mother she wants to be.
It is critical to have clear parameters for measuring success. Here are mine:
1. I want to be an independent marketing consultant. The parameter for success is being my own boss. Done.
2. I want to be able to make enough money as an independent marketing consultant so that I can help take care of myself and two babies. I’ll spare you the boring calculations. In summary, I will need to generate revenue of $50,000-$75,000 per year independently, while being a mom. In the abstract, I will need to be able to create roughly the same amount of corresponding value within my network, annually.
It will probably take a while, but I will know when I get there. Desire for money will be key.
Entrepreneurs need to know not only how much money they want to make, but also how much they want to make it. Tradeoffs are implicit.
I really want to make money on my own terms, in accordance with the parameters listed above. Desperately. Immoderately. Maybe even obsessively.
When people talk about desire for money in the pejorative sense, what are they talking about?
I think they’re just talking about the point when they start to get offended.
What are your success parameters for your business? What do you have to want in order to get there?