What Motivates Me And Why I Love Running Our Business

My wife and I run an online wedding linens store and I absolutely love the products that we have to offer. I love weddings and the clientele I interact with on a day to day basis. I love helping customers make their weddings special.

But I’ll be honest with you. While I love our products, deep down in my gut the items that we sell don’t excite me. As far as our core offerings are concerned, wedding linens definitely aren’t my passion.

What!?! No passion??? Isn’t the number one rule of entrepreneurship that you have to be passionate about your products and your market segment?

Do You Need Passion?

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Photo By BahHumbug

It depends on what your definition of passion is. I’m passionate about providing people with priceless keepsakes of their wedding day, but our products in and of itself do not excite me. I don’t live and breath linens. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about linens. I don’t browse the linen forums(is there such thing?) and I don’t read about linens endlessly like I do with some of my other hobbies.

So what keeps me going? It used to be solely for the money but my motivations have evolved over time. After thinking about it for quite a while, I came to the conclusion that the fun of running the business in itself has motivated me to keep going. Hell, I could sell manure and still probably be happy about it. The following is what I love about running a business.

I Love Learning New Things Everyday

Prior to starting the business, I was very closed minded and never had the motivation to pick up subjects outside of my core competency. For example, you would never have seen me pick up a book about marketing prior to opening our store. I wouldn’t have been caught dead reading a boring book about pricing had I not needed to price our products.

Our business has forced me to learn new things that used to be completely foreign to me. And you know what? There’s some pretty interesting stuff out there that I never ever gave a chance. To think that if I lived everyday just working my day job as an electrical engineer, I would never have been exposed to the business side of running a company. I never would’ve been exposed to the world of sales and marketing, both of which are crucial aspects of any successful business.

The best part of it all is that I get to instantly apply everything that I read about directly to our business. I’ve always been a good student in school, but I used to always forget everything I learned as soon as exams were over.

This no longer happens anymore because I actually get to use what I learn. Imagine that! It’s safe to say that I have a much more open mind towards learning now. I no longer gravitate towards technical knowledge as I did before and I believe that this has made me a more well rounded person overall.

I Love The Competition

The wedding industry is a fiercely competitive market and I love it. My wife and I have to constantly keep tabs on our competitors otherwise we’ll fall behind. Why do I enjoy competition? Because it keeps me on my toes.

I know a lot of businesses that stagnate once they start making a profit. They become satisfied with what they are making and stick to it. As a result, they go through the same routine day in and day out and soon, things get boring.

Does this per chance sound like your day job? Do you have a routine at work that you go through day in and day out just to collect a paycheck? I love my day job, but sometimes I can’t help but feel this way as well. Thank goodness, I have our business to keep me excited.

Because we are in a competitive industry, my wife and I never feel as though we can really slack off too much and that keeps things interesting. I really hate losing and the fact that the competitive landscape is constantly changing motivates me to keep up with our business.

I Like How Our Business Makes Me Feel

Our little online wedding linens business is not large or prestigious by any means, but I do take tremendous pride in what we’ve accomplished already. Every time I pull up our store website, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that my wife and I created a small business together.

It’s also fun that we constantly have new things to talk about with our friends. In the course of running our business, we always have funny stories to tell and it’s great to kick back and share war stories with others.

Our business constantly introduces new experiences in our life to keep things interesting and as you know, sharing our experiences is one of the key motivations behind this blog.

I Love Making Money

I saved the topic of money for last because strangely enough, money is no longer the most important motivator anymore. It started out that way, but now that we’ve been in business for 2 years, money is no longer the primary reason we maintain our business.

Don’t get me wrong. Money is important but it doesn’t drive our decision making process. For example today, we probably wouldn’t cater to a pain in the ass customer just for a big payout whereas we might have in the past.

Think about it this way. Would you take a high paying job even if you hated what you had to do? If you are unsatisfied at work, would a pay raise truly make you happier in the long run?

The same questions apply to our business. If our business was making money but it was no longer fun or challenging to run, we would definitely shut it down. The truth is that running our business is a pain in the ass, but it’s a good sort of pain that makes you stronger.

Money is important but it no longer outranks the other motivations mentioned in this article. I may not have a passion for wedding linens, but I do have a passion for learning and our business provides plenty of opportunities.

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18 thoughts on “What Motivates Me And Why I Love Running Our Business”

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that the learning and ever changing aspect of your business is what keeps you interested and passionate. Continuous learning and growth are key to enjoying work and life in general. Thanks for the reminder….I agree with you that money is nice and it’s finding a balance where you can be very happy and still make some moolah!

    1. @Amber,
      There’s nothing better than staying interested in what you do and making money at the same time. Finding balance on the other hand is a bit more difficult:) Thanks for stopping by!

      @Eric
      I have a similar ranking as you do, but I don’t think that #1 is exclusive to starting your own business. In any case, it looks like you and I have similar priorities and motivations!

      @Dragos
      I hear you. The learning aspect of running a business is incredible isn’t it? I hope that it never stops.

      @SBA
      I’m glad that you are passionate about both your business and your product. It sounds as though you are in a perfect situation! I’ll have to head over to your blog and check out what you have to offer.

      @Michele
      Thanks for the comment! There’s only so much excitement involved with linens:)

  2. If I had to rate my motivations in my Small Business ventures it would be:

    1: My ability to provide for my family.
    2: The excitement of business competition and effective strategy.
    3: The opportunity to connect with clients and others in my field.
    4: Money as a means of comfort/entertainment.

    Thanks for sharing! I love hearing others thoughts on this subject. Eric

  3. Thanks for sharing :-)

    That reminds me of how I felt in the first 2 years after I started my online business: exactly the same. Even after 10 years of having my own business I still feel the same, although I evolved from a large online publishing network to a personal development blog. But I love learning, I love growing, I love the feelings I have all day and I can surely use the generated money.

    Great article :-)

  4. Totally agree that money can take a back seat to learning and client interface. I started a web design business for a small client base (mostly professionals whose services I had used, e.g. chiropractor) and get most of my enjoyment out of creating and learning. The actual remuneration is small compared to what I could get, but I’m not interested in the ‘big fish’. I feel good when putting my experience to use and helping an entrepreneur branch out into the internet. However I am passionate about my product, designing a personalized website.

  5. Love this one, Steve! You know, I really enjoyed reading how you describe your passion for your business and how you had fun with your “relationship” with linens.

    :-)
    Michele

  6. Steve,
    One day when you decide to write some books, like James Herriot, be sure to tell me, I’ll want to read them, and buy them.

    1. @Shea
      Thanks buddy. I’ll let you know when my book is ready:)

      @Matt
      Initially, my wife and I were fighting all the time but I think things have settled down now and our marriage has gotten stronger. Sometimes though, I wish we talked less about the business:)

      @Derek
      You know? I used to wonder the same thing. Everyone who runs their own business seems to be extremely passionate about the products they sell. Perhaps, they are also referring to their business as a collective. Either that or I’m an anomaly. That being said, I think you can always find something to be passionate about no matter what you do.

      @Nathalie
      I hear you. It sounds as though you’ve been living it up lately with all of your traveling. My wife and I are in need of a vacation. Perhaps I’ll contact you to ask you where you went in Asia.

      @Valerie,
      I’m so glad that you decided to pop out from amongst the shadows:) A lot of people I know sit on the sidelines waiting for the perfect idea or situation to come around. I believe that you should pick something that is good enough and run with it. Chances are your first time is going to be a learning experiences regardless and I’m sure that you’ll have no problems finding passion in whatever you pursue.

  7. Money can be a good motivator but it sounds as if you have found a product that you really enjoy selling. And, in working this business with your wife, you can strengthen your marriage and share the ups and downs of entrepreneurship with her.

  8. Learned a lot from the write-up. Thanks Steve.

  9. I’m glad I finally found a post where someone basically states that it is ok to not feel like your work is your life’s calling. I like what I do, it affords me flexibility and freedom, but I do not have a passion for the particular type of equipment that I sell for a living. I work to support the life I have. I pursue my passions outside of work, namely with my wife, friends, in personal development, and nuhabits.com – a web project I’ve been working on.

    I think my dream job would be a snorkeling boat operator in the Caribbean, but who knows? Maybe I’d get bored of it after the novelty wears off. Sometimes I think people should focus less on trying to do what you love, and focusing more on learning to love what you do. But I’m sure there are plenty of people who disagree, and I’d like to hear your thoughts either way.

    Derek

  10. I think it’s great that you listed money last. I liked your analogy of working at a high paying job that you don’t like it as much. I’ve been in that situation, and I’ve chosen to go toward building my own business.

    You truly are an inspiration for those of us at the start of our business ventures. :) And your wife, of course. ;)

  11. Hi Steve,

    I’ve been lurking for a while now but I’m coming out into the open because this post struck a chord with me. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

    I always hear about how you’re supposed to follow your passion, but the problem is passion is so narrowly defined sometimes. Most businesses out there aren’t sexy (like the person who sells cow manure) and the owner doesn’t need to be passionate about the item he/she is selling. But those businesses are still just as necessary, if not more, than the sexy stuff. Ultimately what I’m taking away from your post is that passion can be found in connecting people and bringing value into their lives through regardless of you’re selling or offering.

    I really needed to hear that because it just boosted my confidence ten times over when it comes to starting the business I want to start. Thanks for the great post!

  12. I love the fact that things are always changing and I’m constantly learning new things. The only downside is competition. I sooo hate being “competitive” and always have. I know in order to succeed that’s what you have to do, but it seem so vile to me for some reason.

  13. You are so right! Everyone does have a different definition of passion. My passion, from the very beginning, has been being able to work at home and from anywhere in the world. I can be vacationing in gorgeous Cozumel, get on my webtop (personal desktop) from the hotel computer and get a few hours of work in. After I am done, it’s time to get back to relaxing on the beach!

  14. I love helping people, taking time to go the extra mile, making each client feel special or like they are my only client. I like getting that kind of service and I like giving that kind of service.

  15. I agree that during these trying Economic times, owning your own business is a wonderful solution.

    Sabbay

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