Ready. Set. Startup!
Every big business in the world started as a small business. Every small business owner started their business with one of two ideas in mind – Option A: They already did something or made something for someone else and saw an opportunity to do it better or make it better themselves. Or Option B: They saw an opportunity and with it had a great new idea and wanted to pursue it. In both cases, the business was started because of an opportunity.
I have had several business ideas in my life and I did nothing about them. One of the earliest I can remember was screen printing a game board on a bandana or sleeping pad sleeve so that I could play games while I was backpacking as a teenager on the rainy days stuck in a tent. I thought there was an opportunity. I did nothing. Later, someone else did. Later in life I saw sleeping pads with a checkerboard and backgammon board printed on them and saw bandanas printed with the game boards.
Another was when I was living in Brazil. There were these little juice/fruit smoothie spots, mostly at bus stations, where you could pick your fruits and vegetables and create your own combination or try one of their specialties. The smoothies were great and I thought they would be a hit in the United States. I thought there was an opportunity. I did nothing. Later, someone else did. Shortly after returning to the United States from Brazil, Zuka Juice opened their first store and fruit smoothies were a hit. (In fairness, Jamba Juice started in California in 1990, before I was in Brazil, but was unknown to me. They later bought Zuka Juice.)
I have missed many opportunities. Why? Probably not my passion. Steve Jobs said, “You need a lot of passion for what you’re doing because it’s so hard. Without passion, any rational person would give up.” Or in my case, not start.
About seven years ago, I chose to leave the corporate world and add a “self” in front of my employed status. I saw an opportunity to help people reach their dreams, save money on their taxes and worry less by running their businesses and their lives knowing their finances were secure, having confidence in their future. (And you thought I was just an accountant.) I saw an opportunity and this time I had the passion needed to do the hard work behind it. I love what I do. I love helping my clients. They become a part of my family and I love making a difference in their lives. Is it hard work? Yes. Are there ups and downs? Yes. Is it worth it? It is for me.
The Japanese have a concept called Ikigai meaning “a reason for being.” It is the intersection of that which you are good at, that which you can be paid for, that which you love, and that which the world needs. Some spend their lifetime searching for it. When you find it, you have satisfaction and meaning in life. If your opportunity intersects what you are good at, what you love, what the world needs and what you can get paid for…don’t miss the opportunity. Chances are you will never look back if you seize the opportunity and start it up!
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