Building a Business Vs Making Money

business office buildingCash pileWhen I first started out in business, and for some time, I was obsessed with building a business; a company that I owned and worked for me rather than me work for it.

Like many others I convinced myself that if I built up a sizable company and employed people to do the work then at some point in the future I could sit back and enjoy the profits with minimal effort from myself. This is probably what most people think entrepreneurs do and I see many new business people and would-be entrepreneurs start out on this road.

With these dreams in mind I piled huge amounts of my own money, gave vast amounts of time and ran up personal debts to build the business that would give me the returns and freedom I wanted. As other have found; the more I invested in time and money the harder it was to give up on the dream. At some point it dawns on you that it’s actually quite rare to start a traditional business that will one day run itself.

It’s much more common to go bust (depending on the country approx 1/2 of new businesses fail within 3 years), struggle for years then give up to try something different, work so hard you wish you never gave up your previous job but manage to make reasonable money, sell up to the competition and start another business or do really well and float on the stock market. Once I realized that these were more likely outcomes I shifted my efforts to making money with the least amount of effort, at this point  everything changed. It was a horrible realization that I had wasted so much time and money but it was the best thing that happened to me. Ever since then I have worked less and earned more.

You might think that this is totally obvious and elementary but nearly every person I have met involved in a startup recently is heading down the road of building the business that will make something for them at some point in the unknown future. Like I did they are blindly throwing everything they have at trying to create a mythical business that may or may not produce the goods, maybe, eventually.

If you are investing in a property or something else tangible you can feasibly estimate costs, timescales and profits. Even if things go off course a bit you can adjust these projections and you generally know where you are with it at any given time. However if you are building a less tangible business, especially one that provides services it is very difficult to know when you will get your invested time and money back let alone when you will see any additional benefit or profit. I am not saying not to get involved in anything intangible, if that was my advice I would never have started writing my book. My advice is to consider these two points that I use religiously when I start new projects now:

Firstly do it because you love doing it and let’s face it we will spend a fortune on our hobbies and interests so even if it costs money but makes us happy then it doesn’t really matter. Let’s face it; anything you do with your life that takes a lot of your time and energy should be something you like doing because life is too short to spend it being regretful and dejected. If you put this advice together with the next point you shouldn’t need to worry too much.

Secondly whenever I look at anything intangible that I want to put my efforts into I try to work out how it can give me a monthly income as quickly as possible. Everyone (including me) has monthly expenses; mortgage or rent, eating and drinking, car, travel etc. So if a new project is going to take a chunk of your monthly time it should cover some expenses and over time grow more and more. 9 times out of 10 I will get some return at the end of  the first month and if I don’t I want to know why and how long it will be. This is all down to the focus and not being shy or holding back when it comes to getting some monthly financial returns ASAP. What’s the most you can expect to get month 1, then month 2 and so on? Sure we can always work towards that big pay day whenever it might come but in the mean time let’s make some nice money every month too. Alongside this rule I’ve set myself for the last 6 or 7 years I have been streamlining how much work is required for each project and each monthly paycheck so that I have more time for other projects and additional monthly paychecks plus more time off to do what I want.

As you may already I know I pursue freedom not money but to get my freedoms I need some monthly expenses covered so I want those monthly paychecks to come in as easy as possible to leave me time to do what I want. I am happy to give a fair return and that’s the point, I am not going to work for free; I want the monthly incomes AND the big payday in the future.

One last point I wanted to make that took me a while to fully understand is that you can make a lot of money without being employed and without building any kind of business. I know a guy that whenever he needs a bit of money he goes out and buys a high end car like a BMW very cheaply at auction that has some minor crash damage, he fixes it up himself and sells them on for approx 3k – 4k profit. This is not a business and the rest of the time he travels to Thailand, Portugal and South America enjoying his freedom where his money goes a very long way. When he needs to make money he makes money, he is not trying to create anything, he has just found a way of making a great income with the least amount of effort for him.

I hope these tips help you make the most of your ventures and helps you to make more money every month. If you’d like some 1 to 1 tailored advice to help you with your business I am now offering business coaching and mentoring for as little as £35 or $55, get in touch using the form below and we can talk about how I can help you.

Leave a Reply