Jeff Haden | Inc

Why you decide to start a business of your own matters almost as much as what kind of business you start.

“Raise your hand,” I said to the audience, “If you started a business, or want to start a business, because you want to follow your passion, to live your dream, or just to do more of what you love.”

Almost everyone raised their hands.

Then I asked, “How many of you started a business, or want to start a business, because you want to get rich? Not rich in spirit, or rich in a non-material way, but rich rich?”

Almost every hand stayed up. Some people even cheered. (If the audience had been holding up lighters and mobile phones I would have felt like Bono except scrawnier, less charismatic, and less socially conscious.)

Nearly everyone hoped to follow their passion, live their dream, do what they love, and get rich. You probably do, too.

Is that realistic? For most of us, the answer is no.

When you start a business you have two basic options:

Option 1: Start a business to hopefully do a lot less of what you don’t like and a lot more of what you love.

Option 2: Start a business that will (hopefully) generate significant income.

Sadly, these two options tend to be mutually exclusive–unless what you love to do is grow a business.

Why? We are all special in our own way, but most of us will never truly beat the odds. And that’s okay. Only a few people operate at the extreme edge of possibility.

If you’re a chef and you open a 40-table restaurant, your success will always be limited by price, number of sittings, and a few other basic factors. Even in a best-case scenario you can only make so much money.

The only way to generate more income is to expand: more locations, more employees, more investment, more everything.

But most entrepreneurs don’t think that far ahead. The idea of following a passion is so exciting, and falling prey to the “I will be the one person who does what no one else can do” syndrome is so easy, that many entrepreneurs forget to do what I call the satisfaction math.



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