You have a small business or you are thinking of starting one. You have a great product or service idea and you are very passionate about it. You might also have another driver like supporting a good cause or wanting to spread the word about something that is important. You will want to help people with your product or service.
And of course you have passion. When you start your own business you should always have passion for what you do. It will make working so much easier and work will actually feel less like work.
However I hear you when you are saying: I also want to earn money with my business. And in this post I want to write about why it is ok to want to earn money with your business. Or why it is ok to admit that earning money is the main reason why you start a business. It might be the only reason and that is also ok. Also as a female entrepreneur.
I feel that these days we read and hear a lot that you need to have a purpose when you start a business. That the work needs to be meaningful. That we all need to want to help people. Helping people should be the main focus of our business.
A lot of people say the reason why they started their business is because “I want to help people.” And yes that is great!
But I do want to challenge that statement: is it the only reason?
I also love to help people. I love my work. I find it so inspiring to work with entrepreneurs who are starting their business or are taking it to the next level and I love turning up to work every day. I also love to help you all with my blog posts and videos and tips. And it makes my day when someone says to me that I inspired her or him.
Because I have found my true passion and I love what I do, it makes working so much easier and fun. I do like putting in extra hours at night and I am looking forward to coming to work.
However, I also believe a business needs to make money in order to survive. The purpose can be a different one but essentially we most likely won’t have enough savings to keep on paying for our business. It needs to at least support itself. You (or an investor) will probably need to make an investment to start the business but there will be a time when you want to get some return on this investment.
Otherwise I would say the business is more a hobby. When you have a hobby you don’t expect it to earn money.
And also for myself I do spend time away from my kids for my work. So apart from getting a lot of joy and another meaning for my life out of my business, I also want to make the time worthwhile and earn money. Even if I only spend it later to have a great time with my kids :-)
The other day I spoke to another mom who is running her own business and she said: “yes, as female entrepreneurs we almost feel embarrassed to admit that we want to earn money.”
Especially for all female entrepreneurs I want to say: It is ok to have the wish to succeed the way you want to and to want to earn money with your business.
That is why I wrote down five reasons why it is ok to want to earn money with your business:
We need to support us and our family
The truth is that all of us (with a few exceptions) need some money to live. We need to eat something and we need to live somewhere. We need clothes, pay the bills and so on. We can not hide from that. We have certain responsibilities.
You might have kids and need to support your kids. My husband and I, for example, have to pay school fees in Dubai which is a huge amount of money we pay every month for our four kids.
We all need medical check ups and that can get a lot as well when you have kids.
You might have parents who need your support.
Whatever it is, you need money for yourself and your family to live.
You might have the luxury that your husband is working and you don’t need to earn too much. (Living in Dubai, where the husband was sent to work that is often the case.) Or you have worked a corporate job yourself and saved enough money to live on that for a while and to start something that is purely for your passion.
However there will most likely come a time when you are thinking that all this time that you are spending away from your family and kids for your business needs to make sense in terms of bringing home some extra income as well.
You run a business and not a hobby
The idea for your business might have started from your own hobby or because you saw a need for something that was missing in your daily live. And you might have started slowly, testing the waters and not expecting much from it. (I totally understand that, my hobby is fashion and I like making things and sewing, so I started my first business designing and sewing children’s wear.)
However the difference between a hobby and a business is that we are expecting to earn money with it. At least enough that the business supports itself and we don’t have to pay extra in order to run it. We usually spend some money for our hobbies.
A business needs to make money in order to survive and grow
The hard truth is that a business costs money. You will need to register your business and get a license. You will need to buy equipment, even if it is only a computer. You will need a tax software. You will need an email account. You will need a website. You might need a car. You might need a store. You might need a fundraising platform. And if you want to make an impact you need to reach people, you need to do marketing.
Depending on the business this can be minimal but there will always be some costs involved to start and run a business. And there are always costs involved to grow a business!
Who will carry those costs? If it is a business, the business should sustain itself and pay for it.
It is entirely up to you if you want to pay yourself (or your employees) a salary but you will need to make some money at least to start up and then to expand. So it is ok to want the business to make that money.
You want to be taken seriously
This point might be a bit different for each of you. But I do want to mention it as I know there are other women out there who feel the same.
Having started three small businesses over the last 10 years and being a mum who works from home, I know how many people react when they hear that. And I know that many (also other women who work corporate jobs) don't take us seriously. I have gotten a lot of comments about “your hobby” or “your are so free and can go for a coffee any time” or “your husband’s job comes first” or “you have the time to do such and such because you are working from home” or “you have to support your husband first” or “what was it that you are doing again?” or “your husband’s job is more important.”. Many people have not taken me seriously purely because they knew my husband is the main breadwinner in our family.
So if you have experienced something like this: I just want to say, it is ok to want to earn money with your business purely to be taken seriously!
Everyone is different
Everyone has different drivers and different needs, different purposes in live and different expectations when it comes to money.
The definition of a successful business differs. And I found a good article on this topic where entrepreneurs have been asked about their meaning of success.
Not everyone thinks success is earning money. However it is ok to have that desire. And I still feel that many people define success through a growing and big business and for that you need money.
Of course there are many business types that are definitely not defined by money, for example non profit organisations. They can be very successful by helping other people but they will also need to earn money in order to do that.
I don't want to write more about this point and just say, we need to respect everyone with their own desires, reasons and goals.
To sum it up:
A business needs to make money in order to survive but the purpose can still be a different one. The values for your business can be different! And it is also ok to just want to earn money with your business!
I said above that loving what you do makes it easier to come to work. And most start ups only survive if the people who started it have a passion for the product or service. And only the people who love what they do will survive the hard times in business.
And loving to earn money can also be the passion.. :-) (I’m thinking of investment bankers here for example ;-) )
Let me know your thoughts, I always love to get your feedback!
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