Entrepreneurship – What makes you happy?

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I recently spoke with a classmate of mine who I ran through the mechanical engineering program with. We had nearly every single class together from the first year through the fourth. He posed the question to me: “What makes you happy?”

I was surprised by the question and it made me think about what I consider as success. It made me think about what I’m doing in my network and if I’m sending the proper messages. Do they think I’m materialistic or do they see my true passions? Materialism is easy to mistake in entrepreneurship because we are in business not only to solve a problem for our customers, but to also make a profit.

Recently, I toured the distribution center for Patagonia.  I found that many of the employees do not focus on earning an income. Rather, they focus on the bare fundamentals of what they need to achieve an extrinsic and intrinsic value needed as applied to personal success. They identified their personal needs and success goals. Many entrepreneurs forget to define what is success in relation to their perspective goals. They need to remember to think about why they are starting a business in the first place. Why are they driven to do what they are doing?

I want to reiterate that you must find your passion and your motivation. You must find what you love to do and what drives you and develop it into a business. BUT, beyond that passion and motivation, entrepreneurs need to find what makes them happy. Without this fundamental focus, they will eventually fail as entrepreneurs. Ask yourself how many unhappy entrepreneurs you know. Likely, you know more than a few. Next, ask these entrepreneurs if they started a business that made them happy or if they pursued a goal that followed their passions. I would bet that one of the two answers will be no. Because they neglected one of the two, they became imbalanced.

Its easy to forget why we are in business. We need to find a way to strategically fit our goals and our passions in such that they lead to our happiness as entrepreneurs. This is no easy task. If it was, everyone would be and entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is tough and it requires the utmost dedication and follow through. Finding the alignment with your happiness is not easy and will likely only be found with some trial and error. You will likely fail in your initial attempts to become an entrepreneur and start your own business.

The first mistakes will be fundamental business mistakes. These are easy to identify as they will be things such as missed accounting details or missed engineering design criteria that would make or break your company. Next, if you make it past the initial foundational steps in the business, your failures will be more close to your passions and reasons why you started the business. You have lost sight of what makes you happy and what direction you intended to take the business in the first place. It is paramount that you do not loose track of this identification in your business. Your goals, passions, and things that make you happy are why you are in business in the first place. These are your avenues to success.

Have you lost track of your goals or what makes you happy as an entrepreneur? Leave a comment!



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