Go for the Gold
Getting started in business is the hardest part. If you had the very best start, you would have been born with a natural predisposition for business, and then your parents, teachers, and tutors would have added to your innate business sense along the way. Likewise, you would have trained at jobs, saved money to take on future competitors, and proactively taken steps to build your confidence. In this best-case scenario, you would be more adept to go out on your own since you are “ahead of the game.” Besides, if your theoretical competitors had fewer financial successes, they might have less confidence and self-esteem. If you were expected to compete with these people in a profitable, burgeoning industry, you would more than likely control a greater market share and literally make millions of dollars sooner.
Nevertheless, back in reality, nothing can be perfect; nobody has perfect luck and skills, nor could they have studied and worked every day of their lives. In the business world, this truly leaves a field open for competition in almost any market space, and leaves you with years of time to study, practice and build. This can make up for any luck or genetic advantage that you may think you are missing. As long as you choose to build your self-confidence proactively, you can compete in business and in life irrespective of the past.
The most successful businesspeople are focused on a clear business plan all the time. In order to perform at this level, they tend to make sacrifices that average performers might not find acceptable. Sacrificing for your business means you may inadvertently get less sleep than your competitors, or less family and social time, or all three.
Logic suggests that without sacrifice, your business would ultimately weaken and your more aggressive competitors would continuously increase their market share at your expense. Depending on your attitude and life goals, you must decide if this type of effort is worthwhile.
Consider the plight of the average worker who reports to a superior forty hours per week while at a company where he has no personal investment and no long-term passion. This tradition of working nine-to-five for someone who will employ you for life is unlikely to be a common reality in the future and is irrelevant to a potential entrepreneur anyway.
Working for someone else is a great way to get started in the business world, but it is not where an entrepreneur with lofty goals will want to remain. Fortunately, having a high level of quality output as someone’s employee will ultimately help you ascend “the corporate ladder.” The more hours you spend ascending the ladder, by producing high quality work over a long duration, the more money you will be able to put away due to a combination of base salary, promotions, overtime pay and bonuses.
Your accumulation of wealth as an employee can create some padding for your family, which you can invest in a business or save to provide extra security in case of a missed paycheck. Ultimately, to maximize your take-home pay as someone else’s employee, you need to work your way up to become the person who is in charge: i.e., the boss—the one who determines how the money is spent and distributed.
In addition, you can take away the knowledge, contacts and cash that you gained as an employee to start your own business where you would get to be your own boss. In this case, your current bosses and coworkers could eventually constitute some of your new company’s board of directors, board of advisors, employee pool, or shareholders.
If someone else is your boss, he will not be inclined to help you earn the absolute maximum value that your efforts can create since, by design, some of your pay directly or indirectly comes out of his and his partners’ pockets. However, if you become the boss or a partner, the sky is the limit, because you will keep the maximum fair and legal amount of profit that is generated from your hard work.
Running a business in a free market, capitalist economy must be a for-profit venture or it will not be able to sustain itself and will fail. A charity, on the other hand, is not for profit.
To push innovation and efficiency in your business to make as much profit as possible is moral, legal and necessary because that keeps you and your family “in business” and improves the economy overall, which also improves the overall health and well-being of society. Given the above, your only objective should be to maximize your financial returns diligently.
With the profits that you can make from such a straightforward business approach, you will benefit “the State” via taxes. Then, with whatever sums remain, buy the material items you desire, and give generously to charity.
When you find you can free up some of your time, you can work on nonprofit endeavors, which is ultimately for the benefit of your family and our broader society. As a side effect, this is also good public relations for your business, which helps in creating a “virtuous cycle”.
Keep in mind, we are not suggesting that you give away all of your time and money to charity. Instead, you should use a generous portion on the activities you feel passionate about. For example, tutoring disadvantaged children from your community, managing a charity event for a disease that afflicts your family, building a charity website, lobbying congress for disease research funding, or feeding disaster victims in Africa are all possible charitable contributions one could make. The opportunities are personal and without limitation.
To create passion for something of great significance in this world is vital for everyone, but it does not make sense for others to direct your altruistic activities. Once you are able, you get to decide how to proceed as a compassionate member of your business community. Earn plenty of money, buy whatever you feel you need for your family, and then serve your favorite causes. In effect, this creates a win-win-win situation.