When I started out researching, interviewing and experimenting for my book “Breakthrough Ideas” I wanted practical, hands-on tools and resources that would give people the best possible chance and actionable results.
I pride myself on action orientation and leadership of change and used these qualities to go beyond deep research into the subject of turning new business ideas into viable products and services. I collaborated with several start-ups and experienced small business people to test-drive my concepts to ensure that they work in the real world.
One key ingredient was to ensure that the tools and techniques would be fun to use. This is important. Why would you put all the hard work, time and money into developing a promising new idea unless it was going to be fun to do?
One of the celebrity entrepreneurs who I admire says that you should ask yourself when pursuing an idea whether you would do it for fun. This comes from an entrepreneur who started at the very bottom and worked his way up. He’s not someone who has become rich and famous and dishes out advice to extend his brand personality. No, this entrepreneur walks his talk. He has a genuine interest in helping others do well for themselves – a rare quality.
Pursuing an idea that you want to turn into a small business needs to be fun. It especially needs to be fun if you think you are eventually going to make a living from it and it will be your main lifestyle. You need to put in the extra hours, burn the midnight oil, suffer the pain of the challenges that are presented to you and work weekends until you don’t even know what a break feels like. Of course, you need to take breaks but you know what I mean.
The important ingredient of fun comes with the underlying belief that doing something for yourself, starting something from scratch and making it work gives you a freedom that others year for.
Yet once you have earned your freedom through the vehicle of a successful enterprise you need to be extra careful to not give that freedom away. What do I mean by this? It’s simple. You can so easily give your freedom away to bankers when you take out loans. You can give your freedom away to shareholders who take a cut of your business. You can give your freedom away to a landlord who sinks you and your business into a deep spiral of debt by jacking up your rental with exorbitant annual increases.
You have to be on your guard. All of these and many other traps lie in wait for the unwary. They may be furthest from your mind when you start out but when you plan your formal legal structure, access to finance and location it’s important to consider how much of your freedom you are giving away to others.
Yes, that celebrity entrepreneur knows what he is talking about when he says ask yourself whether you are doing this for fun. It sounds like an innocuous question but behind it is really how much meaning does it give to you and how much freedom?